As the holidays near, leading marketers look to advanced technologies, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), to enhance their e-commerce presence. Amazon, for instance, continues to make advances in AR, following up its recent update which allows users to preview multiple products in their room at once with a new app called “Amazon Augmented Reality”. This app provides Halloween-themed features where users can scan QR codes on their packages to launch AR-enabled experiences, such as animating user-drawn pumpkins. Amazon has latched onto a growing trend: consumers want more immersive reality experiences while shopping online.
Gen Z and millennials are driving demand for AR/VR features in the shopping experience: 30% wish for more online shopping experiences to incorporate AR/VR features, compared to just 14% of older generations (Gen Xers, Boomers, and Matures). This could be due to the Gen Z preference for experience-driven, authentic shopping journeys online.
Despite growing consumer demand for AR and VR features in their online shopping experiences, less than one-fifth of analyzed brands have integrated them. Marketers have a chance to adapt to the current shopping landscape and set up for the long-term future by appealing to consumers that miss in-store shopping experiences. In the 2020 Gartner Consumer Pandemic Attitudes and Behaviors Survey, over half of consumers stated that they miss casually browsing products the most, while over one-third miss discovering new things and trying out products in person. AR and VR shopping features, such as AR try-on and diagnostics, can help address these gaps by enriching the online consumer browsing and shopping experience.
This upcoming holiday season, marketers expecting an increase in site traffic in place of foot traffic can take notes on Amazon’s recent forays into AR and VR, especially its update allowing users to preview products simultaneously. AR and VR features can help address the immediate COVID-19-related challenge of replacing in-store experiences. For instance, when it comes to shopping for toys, AR allows kids to see what different toys look like and parents to see if a toy is the right size for them. For the parents’ version of toys, users can see if a TV or sofa looks good in the living room.