Augmented Reality: How Pokemon Go helps e-commerce

More than 75 million downloads in less than three weeks: the Pokémon Go mobile game broke all records.

We are also still talking about a breakthrough in the field of augmented reality. The technology used for Pokémon Go is not new, however. Already in the early 1990s, the principle of augmented reality was used in industry. However, Pokémon Go has successfully extended augmented reality technology to private use and made it accessible to everyone from a smartphone or tablet.

The field of online augmented reality naturally represents a significant marketing potential. Four new attempts have been made in recent years to apply this technology in e-commerce: from virtual furniture stores to online eyeglass testing via a webcam. Given the rise of augmented reality, the industry should intensively pursue such attempts. If companies made more use of this popular technology, they could gain new customer groups.

The term augmented reality generally characterizes the computer-assisted expansion of the perception of reality. While the user of virtual reality is immersed in a digital world, augmented reality presents reality, complemented by digital content. This is done via:

  • the virtual representation of additional information in the real world
  • the addition of additional information on images or videos
  • the insertion of virtual objects

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Fusion of the real world and the digital world

Virtual elements in a real environment? A straightforward and well-known example is offered in sports broadcasts. During a football television broadcast, for example, additional information often appears on the screen. A virtual line looks, for instance, in the event of offside. In the ski jumping discipline, a digital line appears on the screen to indicate where the best performance in the competition is located.

To experience augmented reality, also when traveling with a mobile device, a camera is required, as well as a tracking device and the appropriate software. Its application is possible in many fields, for example in the industry for assistance with complex work or in the military for disaster management. As mentioned above, augmented reality reaches a wide audience, especially in the entertainment industry. But it is also used in architecture or medicine. The advertising industry has also adopted this trend for a long time.

The new impetus of augmented reality in web marketing and hosting

In the marketing world, it has already been recognized for a few years that if the components of an augmented reality project are well implemented, it brings added value to customers. New impulses are needed in this area, and urgently, as it is becoming more and more difficult to reach potential customers or to retain them. This is due, among other things, to the flow of advertising messages that flow into consumers every day. A defensive attitude is gradually developing against advertising: we talk about Banner Blindness or blindness towards advertising banners. Visitors who purchase products through these ads are also very rare. Among the full range of shops, deals, offers, and promotions, loyalty and trust no longer play such an important role. We buy where the best offer is. The web hosting industry and ecommerce web hosts, as seen here, are also jumping on the bandwagon and attacking this juicy market!

Competition between suppliers is increasing day after day. For this reason, it is all the more critical to offer innovative and exceptional advertising formats. This is where augmented reality comes into play. The new arrangements and ideas attract the attention of customers and also provide added value, regardless of the sector of activity. As shown in the graph below, half of the estimated potential of augmented reality and virtual reality is dedicated to the entertainment sector, while an estimated US$16 billion is expected to be spent on businesses and the public sector.

The varied potential of VR & AR applications

Click here to download the computer graphics on the different potential of VR & AR applications.

How does augmented reality affect the customer?

Augmented reality combines the real world with digital components. This is the starting point for a particular fascination. Traditional marketing measures, even if unusual, are gradually falling into oblivion. But apart from the attention generated by the innovative nature of augmented reality, new ways of approaching customers are developing. As a brand or company, we can project information in real time into the daily lives of customers. It is an excellent opportunity to get in touch with the target and in an even more immediate and personal way.

But why would customers allow this intrusion into their daily lives? The following examples show you how customers can benefit from this technology in e-commerce.

Augmented reality in e-commerce

The principle of augmented reality can be used for an online store to optimize customer experience. Mobile devices play a vital role in this. More and more customers are surfing the Internet and shopping from their smartphones or tablets, looking for products or information. This mobile use has long since surpassed the use of desktop computers. A considerable target can be reached via smartphones. Mobile commerce and online augmented reality go hand in hand.

But let’s get back to the applications themselves: virtual fitting is one of the classics among augmented reality e-commerce applications. Thanks to its camera, the user can check how the selected product matches his body. However, there is still a risk for virtual clothing, which is not always accurately represented. However, the principle works very well with small accessories, as well as with online opticians offering a virtual trial of glasses:

If you search in an online eyewear store, the “3D fitting” option is often provided to the user. The service is loaded via a Flash application, and the user only needs to allow the application to access the camera. The app then automatically places the glasses or sunglasses in front of the digital representation of the face you are filming.