Immersive shopping is proving to have experiential impact for consumers, and revenue impact for brands. Related to – but separate from – AR advertising, this is when AR is used as a tool to visualize and contextualize products to engender more informed consumer purchases.

This is a subset of AR that we call camera commerce. It comes in a few flavors, including visualizing products on “spaces and faces.” It also includes visual search – pointing one’s smartphone camera at a given product to get informational, identifying, or transactional overlays.

In each case, AR brings additional context and confidence to product purchases. And this value has been elevated during a pandemic, as AR brings back some of the product dimension and tactile detail that’s been taken away from consumers during retail lockdowns.

Synthesizing these factors, ARtillery Intelligence recently produced a report to dive into the drivers and dynamics of camera commerce. How is the field shaping up? Who’s doing what? And how big is the market opportunity? We’ve excerpted the report below for AR Insider readers.

Camera Commerce: AR Monetization Materializes

Bright Spots

As noted above, one of AR’s bright spots is its ability to boost sales by demonstrating products with greater dimension. Product attributes can be exposed more effectively through 3D and AR interfaces than traditional 2D images in eCommerce. That engenders a more informed buyer.

This value proposition is evident in normal times but has amplified with pandemic-driven inflections in eCommerce. AR has become more valuable under these circumstances as it can bring back some of the real-life dimension and product interactivity that’s been lost in retail lockdowns.

That dynamic is clear, but it’s unclear what will happen next. As with events and remote work, AR is getting the chance to shine when physical shopping is constrained. The question is if accelerated adoption during this period will instill positive and permanent consumer habits.

In other words, those eager to try on makeup and other forms of shopping may discover AR and find that they like it….thus boosting adoption. This is known as a “mere exposure effect”, and it could drive AR’s longer-term traction in shopping and several other areas of the economy.

How is Camera Commerce Producing Results Today?

Touchless Shopping

There are a few ways we see this playing out in the Post-Covid era. If consumers have indeed developed new sustained habits, AR will play an increasing role in their online shopping. But as the retail world begins to open up, AR could likewise have a role in in-aisle interactions.

In other words, shoppers may still be apprehensive in the Post-Covid era when it comes to virus transmission. The world may be permanently altered with the lasting psychological effects of Covid. If so, AR could be a logical tool to support “touchless” shopping.

This includes digital overlays for product information or animated brand spokespeople. It could also involve retail installations such as Amazon’s “Point & Learn” technology that lets users point at products on store shelves to activate informational sequences on nearby displays.

As these formats develop, AR’s benefits in physical retail could work on a few levels. It allows consumers to query products visually in stores and avoid touching them. They can also do more product-visualization before they get to the store, thus reducing time in-aisle.

We’ll pause there and circle back next week with another report excerpt. Meanwhile, see the full report here and the video companion below. 

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