The Use of AR/VR in eCommerce

Although AR/VR (Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality) technology is still fairly new, it has proven to deliver tangible business value, as reflected by an annual compound rate of 10.77% for the global AR/VR market. By 2028, the projected market volume will amount to US$58.1 billion, according to Statista.


With shopper expectations and behaviors increasing and shifting, particularly among younger demographics, companies must continue innovating to remain competitive. The immersive shopping experiences enabled by AR/VR in eCommerce present exciting opportunities to engage customers in more meaningful and enjoyable ways.

Benefits of Using AR/VR in eCommerce

Implementing AR/VR can benefit eCommerce businesses in several key ways:


Improved product visualization: Rather than relying on 2D images alone, shoppers can examine products from all angles and visualize items in context through AR/VR. This builds confidence in product selection.


Enhanced understanding and evaluation: AR allows shoppers to better gauge things like size, fit, and appearance by leveraging technologies like 3D visualization. This reduces returns.


Personalization: VR environments can tailor recommendations and experiences specifically to shoppers based on their behaviors and preferences. This fosters loyalty.


Gamification: AR-driven experiences that are fun and game-like entice consumers to engage with brands in memorable ways that feel less like “shopping.” This increases brand affinity.


Accessibility: For shoppers with disabilities, AR can bridge gaps in understanding products remotely by adding accessible contextual layers otherwise missing from standard eCommerce. This expands the customer base.


With technological capabilities expanding rapidly, use cases of AR/VR in eCommerce will advance, delivering personalized and accessible experiences in novel ways we are only beginning to imagine.

Proven AR/VR Use Cases in eCommerce

While AR/VR has the potential to transform eCommerce in several ways, certain areas of the business can benefit more from the technology than others. The following proven use cases are the most popular places to start:


Product visualization: AR/VR enables customers to virtually interact with products in their own environment, providing a more realistic and engaging shopping experience. This is particularly valuable for furniture, home décor, apparel, and electronics.


Product customization: Allow customers to personalize their products virtually using AR/VR tools, visualizing different colors, materials, or designs before purchase. This can boost sales and reduce returns.


Interactive product guides: Provide step-by-step product assembly or usage instructions using AR/VR overlays, enhancing user understanding and reducing support costs.


Virtual showrooms: Create immersive virtual showrooms where customers can explore product collections, interact with sales representatives, and experiment with various configurations.


Remote product demos: Offer virtual product demonstrations to customers worldwide, breaking down geographical barriers and expanding your reach.


As mentioned above, furniture and home goods retailers have been early pioneers in the use of AR/VR technology in mobile apps and websites. For example, customers can visualize IKEA products in the context of their living space. In other verticals, we can see beauty brands offering users the opportunity to virtually try on makeup and apparel companies enabling users to “try on” glasses and accessories.


More cutting-edge use cases point to the expanded future potential of AR/VR technology. For example, DressX created a digital fashion house for virtual garments only purchasable as digital assets for use in virtual and augmented spaces. However, most current applications focus on bridging gaps in evaluating physical products remotely.

Getting Started with AR/VR in eCommerce

AR/VR is rapidly transforming the eCommerce landscape, offering unprecedented opportunities to enhance customer engagement, product visualization, and overall shopping experiences. While the technology has proven to have an immense upside, which is increasingly recognized by eCommerce leaders, many of them do not know where or how to begin their AR/VR journey. For eCommerce merchants and manufacturers seeking to leverage the power of AR/VR, a strategic approach is essential. This guide provides a step-by-step roadmap to help navigate the AR/VR landscape with confidence and successfully implement these technologies.

1. Identify the Right Use Case

The key to successful AR/VR integration lies in identifying the specific use cases where these technologies can add the most value. Consider your target audience, product categories, and existing eCommerce strategies. The last chapter provides insight into popular use cases for both merchants and manufacturers.

2. Evaluate AR/VR Technologies

With a plethora of AR/VR technologies available, selecting the right fit for your needs is crucial. Consider factors such as platform compatibility, ease of integration, scalability, and cost.


Platform compatibility: Assess the compatibility of the AR/VR technology with your existing eCommerce platform, website, and mobile apps. Ensure it integrates seamlessly without compromising performance and/or the user experience.


Ease of integration: Evaluate the ease of integrating the AR/VR technology into your existing systems and workflows. Consider the availability of pre-built plugins or APIs to streamline the process.


Scalability: Choose a technology that can accommodate future growth and product expansion. Ensure it can handle increased traffic and data requirements without performance bottlenecks.


Cost: Evaluate the upfront and ongoing costs associated with the AR/VR technology. Consider maintenance fees, cloud storage costs, and developer resources.

3. Off-the-Shelf vs. Custom

Generally, there are two approaches to adopting AR/VR technology and leveraging it for your eCommerce platform: off-the-shelf products and custom integrations.


Off-the-shelf refers to the implementation of ready-made AR/VR solutions that are offered by various vendors. These solutions typically provide a quick and cost-effective way to take advantage of AR/VR features without extensive development work. However, they may not provide the flexibility, customization, performance, and scalability to sustainably meet ever-changing and increasing user requirements and expectations.


Custom references bespoke AR/VR solutions are tailored to your specific needs and requirements. This approach offers greater flexibility and control over the user experience, but in most cases, a certain level of technical expertise and development resources are required.


The choice between off-the-shelf products and custom integrations depends on your unique situation, budget, and technical capabilities. For smaller businesses with limited resources, off-the-shelf products may be a more attractive option. For larger enterprises with specific requirements, custom integrations have often proven to be  the better option.


By following these steps and carefully evaluating your specific needs, you can effectively integrate AR/VR into your eCommerce operations and elevate your customer experience to gain a competitive edge.


The use of AR/VR in eCommerce continues to expand and involve, with several opportunities for both merchants and manufacturers to elevate customer experiences, enhance brand engagement, and gain a competitive edge. While the use of AR/VR is still relatively new, companies are increasingly investing in exploring what the technology can do for them.  


Keeping up with your competition to meet ever-changing customer demands is not always easy, amidst a wide range of features and functionality available that (supposedly) improve the user experience, increase conversation rates, and grow your brand.

ELASTECH helps you determine the next steps to eCommerce excellence. We evaluate best-in-class technologies to develop your roadmap, with staged feature development and deployment to move your eCommerce business forward. Our team of eCommerce experts has helped implement emerging technologies like AR/VR for retailers large and small across industries. 


We invite you to a free consultation to determine opportunities to move your online business forward and realize technology’s promise with the help of our eCommerce experts. Click below to schedule directly. We look forward to serving you. 

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