The Future of eCommerce: AR, VR, and 5G

 

In part one of the Datacrushers Guide to eCommerce Visual Marketing, we discussed the fundamental concepts of on-site marketing and branding efforts. Next, in part two, we explained off-site marketing tactics and methods. Recently, in part three, we talked about Social Media marketing. Now, in the fourth and final installment of this guide, we are going to discuss the role of AR, VR, and 5G in the future of eCommerce.

 

There is a good chance you may already be familiar with what AR, VR, and 5G are. If not, do not worry we will explain these terms shortly.

For many consumers, AR entered the mainstream beginning in July 2016 following the release of Pokémon Go! The game used the camera on a player’s smartphone to capture the real world while displaying virtual Pokémon on screen.

Pokemon Go! AR

Pokemon Go! Let’s players capture Pokemon from the safety of their smartphone.

Although Pokémon Go! has dwindled in popularity, investments in AR and VR have not. In 2017, over $3 Billion dollars was invested in startups focused on bringing these technologies forward. 

For, the unfamiliar, it’s important we clear the air around the essential terms in this guide:

  • AR – Augmented Reality: Users wearing AR glasses, a dedicated headset, or even their smartphone, get a real-world view of the area and objects around them, supplanted by an overlay of digital information. The information displayed is relevant to the game or application they are using.
  • VR – Virtual Reality: Users wearing a headset get an enclosed view a digitally rendered world (with the exception of content filmed in the real world), VR allows for a 360* view that adjusts us the wearer moves in any direction within a game or video.
  • 5G – Fifth Generation: Is an advanced technology that will enable greater data throughput for wireless devices. 3G introduced mobile video streaming and video chat. 4G (LTE) took it up a notch by allowing users to stream HD videos with ease. 5G is going to allow people to enjoy truly incredible, and immersive content, while on the go. 

Now, the truly important question here is:

What does any of this have to do with visual marketing, let alone eCommerce?”

The practical answer – everything! Therefore, it is critical that eCommerce merchants the world over start learning about the junction of these technologies today.

The Momentum of the Market:  

To really understand where things are heading, the simple fact is that mobile eCommerce has been gaining a tremendous amount of momentum over the past few years. Current projections indicate that mobile eCommerce will account for 49% of all online retail sales by 2020. It is highly probable that they will overtake desktop sales even sooner.

One reason for this can be attributed to the fact that eCommerce retailers have taken steps to ensure their sites are perfected for mobile-browsing and checkout. Another reason is a large number of dedicated apps designed exclusively for major retailers. Meanwhile, the key driver behind these monumental shifts in consumer behavior can be attributed to the proliferation of affordable smartphones and tablets. As well as the availability of 4G networks in previously underserved markets.

An example of dedicated shopping apps eCommerce Visual marketing

Retailer-specific shopping apps in the Apple app store.

Switching the Pace of eCommerce Into High Gear:

With 5G quickly coming onto the scene, content creators & marketers have more reasons than ever to create rich, media-heavy content for smartphones and tablets. Previously, this proved impractical because of slow network speeds. This is not to say such content was not made, but the frustration of waiting for things to load is a real mood killer.

Now, it just so happens to be that rich, media-heavy, and immersive content is a hallmark of AR and VR. And that means eCommerce merchants need to get cracking to stay ahead of the curve and provide consumers with what they are coming to expect when it comes to digital retail.

AR is an eCommerce Game Changer:

AR has many useful applications. However, the most practical use of AR is that of enabling shoppers to interact with digital versions of products they are interested in purchasing.

For example, let’s consider what AR can do for fashion. AR can enable shoppers to virtually “try on” clothes and accessories that they might have otherwise been hesitant to try on.

AR in eCommerce Fashion

An AR-enabled shopping app from BananaFlame that let’s shoppers “try on” clothes.

Or with furniture: Will these carpets match the curtains? What would shelving look like above the TV? Would that coffee table make a nice addition to the living room?

Ikea AR Shopping

Ikea Place: An AR-enabled app that let’s users toy around with virtual furniture.

In case you still beleive that AR is a niche being toyed with by nerds in a garage somewhere, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Shopify jumped at the opportunity to start developing AR apps for eCommerce as soon as Apple released their ARKit platform to developers. This excitement for the future of eCommerce attracted the attention of Apple CEO Tim Cook. Mr. Cook recently visited the Shopify HQ to receive a personal demonstration of  AR-enabled shopping apps for iPhone and iPad. Shopify is aiming to become the largest AR-enabled eCommerce platform.

The applications for AR in the world of eCommerce are virtually endless. Especially with the proliferation of AR-enable “smart glasses” that are likely to start hitting shelves later this year. While earlier attempts at smart glasses have fallen short of gaining critical success (such as Google Glass) they still proved their worth and showed that the technology is practical and worth pursuing.

VR Will Bring the Big Store Experience Direct to Shoppers:

VR is a bit different than AR with regards to shopping. With VR users can interact with whole websites to view content across the web. The more optimized for VR, the better the interaction, especially as VR often involves the use of dedicated controllers to truly “interact” with virtual objects.

Shopping In VR

Shopping In VR: This a CGI render of what VR shopping looks like from within the virtual store.

This means that shoppers will be able to experience the feeling of “shopping” as if they were in a real store, from the comfort of their home, or anywhere it is that they can get online.

In Summary:

The future of eCommerce will change as an increasing number of consumers adopt AR and VR in their lives. The eCommerce retailers that will stand to gain the most from AR and VR will be those who start figuring out how to integrate these technologies as a part of the shopping experience, today.

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Datacrushers

Founded in 2015, Datacrushers uses Machine Learning and A.I. along with NLP to identify and recover revenue loss, cart abandonment and discover new revenue sources across any site.  The revenue discovery platform completes the deep ongoing analysis of eCommerce websites by monitoring the three main focal points of any site: The User, Site, and Product.

Unlike traditional “cart abandonment platforms,” Datacrushers does not require shoppers and customers to be logged-in to conduct both on and offsite campaigns. We use a wide range of data-driven and analytics based conversion tools to target the shopper at the right time with the most accurate and effective campaign to drive the sale.

Datacrushers is platform, language, and currency agnostic and requires only a few lines of code to get started therefore delivering an ultra-fast go-to-market with minimal set-up time and tech intervention.

Based out of Jerusalem, Israel, Datacrushers has clients worldwide including,  The US, China, Russia, UK, Germany, and more.

By | 2018-03-27T18:00:19+00:00 March 15th, 2018|Guide, Visual Marketing|Comments Off on The Future of eCommerce: AR, VR, and 5G