Shopify & 3D Augmented Reality – Eyeing the Future

Shopify 3D augmented reality.

As per the retail publication ‘Charged’, eCommerce merchants who have used the 3D AR version of Shopify have been able to experience higher conversion rates, as high as 94% and 65% lesser return rates. A survey by Nielson showed that about 51% of consumers were open to using AR tools while reviewing products, considering that online shopping increased in the last couple of years, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, which forced people indoors.

Augmented reality (AR) is something we have all been hearing and reading about for a while now. So it’s no surprise that Shopify is going the AR way to provide an all-immersive 3D experience to all online retailers, more popularly known as metaverse, which is gradually becoming a reality in many verticals globally.  As per ‘Charged’, all online merchants who have built their online store with the help of Shopify can now look forward to providing a 3D and augmented reality version of their products to their customers. 

Unlike the earlier fragmented experience of 3D and AR features that Shopify offered, owing to its multiple app requirements, the new platform provides all these features in a single app costing around $49 per month, as a result of Shopify’s collaboration with UK-based AR platform Poplar Studio.

How does Augmented Reality (AR) make eCommerce better?

As mentioned above, augmented reality makes the complete experience of shopping quite immersive and real-life-like for customers (as if they are in the store in reality) who are shopping online from the comfort of their homes. They can view the products on display in 3D before purchasing, further validating the experience of AR. This is a big plus for online retailers who want to provide this kind of real-life store experience to their customers, thus resulting in increased business. 

Shopify Adopting Augmented Reality 

Being able to view objects in 3D without the support of external factors such as virtual reality headsets was first introduced by Google. Shopify AR was launched after understanding this scope of augmented reality and offered it to all its eCommerce store owners, who could include AR features in their stores.

A few examples of the early adopters of Shopify AR are as follows:

  • Pure Cycles, which made a tool that made it possible to place digital models of bicycles in customers’ homes so that they could visualize the storage space required for the bicycles.
  • Horne is an online furnishing retailer that allows its shoppers to virtually view their products in their homes to give them a real-time experience.
  • Ikea is another well-known brand that provides similar experiences to its shoppers that help them view the products in their homes or elsewhere in real-time.

These are a few indisputable reasons for eCommerce merchants to integrate AR features into their websites through the Shopify platform. It would not only reduce their return rate but would certainly increase their sales. 

How can Brands Benefit from Shopify’s Augmented Reality?

Brands can definitely go one step up from Shopify’s AR, as it comes with many benefits. Some of them include:

  • Higher customer engagement
  • Lower return rates
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Garnering new customers
  • Visualization experience for customers 

Higher Customer Engagement

It is a well-known fact that augmented reality provides a real-time experience to people, more so as it is interactive. These features make customers’ online shopping experience that much more engaging, thus enabling them to make their purchase decisions with a lot more confidence. In the process, customer loyalty and repeat purchases increase.

To ensure your customers are engaged during their online shopping in an AR integrated store, the placement of products plays a major role. If the products are placed properly, then the navigation becomes easy, thus providing a hassle-free shopping experience to your customers. This unique experience will surely bring back first-time visitors and convert them into long-term customers.

Lower Return Rates

Any retail store owner will vouch that return of products, for any reason, is not very motivating for the business. This is all the more evident and common with online stores, since a lot of customers tend to return products as they do not appear to be similar to the description online. This gap can be easily filled with augmented reality features in your store. Customers can experience your products in real-time and take informed decisions before they make a purchase, thus reducing the possibility of returns to a large extent.

Higher Conversion Rate

Research done by Shopify showed about a 94% increase in conversion rates and fewer returns of products that were advertised with augmented reality. The research further reiterates the fact that online stores with integrated AR features are sure to bring in more customers and even retain them.

In fact, Deloitte’s research even claims that 40% of shoppers would be more than willing to pay extra for the same product if they can experience the product through AR.

Note: This feature can be integrated into any kind of business.

Garnering New Customers

Any business does well only if its products are appealing and fit its customers’ requirements. If you have an online store, this can be a challenge, as your visitors/customers are unable to experience your products as they would otherwise in a physical store. This issue can be solved with AR technology, which is sure to not only grab your customers’ attention, but also engage them for longer periods. If your store is well-designed aesthetically and practically with the help of Shopify AR, it will surely ensure that your customers stay loyal to your brand for a long period of time.

Visualization Experience for Customers

Visualization is the first step to enticing customers to enter a store. That is exactly why all physical stores put a lot of emphasis on visual merchandising. However, how can this be made possible in an online store? Well, that’s simple – with Shopify’s augmented reality features. Furthermore, Shopify can even provide ideas for the best display of your products, the basis for providing the best shopping experience to your customers.

Let us move on to the demonstrations of Shopify AR with the help of an app.

Shopify AR Demonstration

For the purpose of this demonstration, we will be using the CartMagician augmented reality app, as it is free and easy to use for beginners. Let us start by installing the app. Follow the steps below:

  • Go to the Shopify app store and search for CartMagician.
  • Click Install app at the bottom of the page. 
  • Once the installation is complete, it will take you to the ‘Welcome page’.
CartMagician welcome screen.

Now that the app is installed and running, we can start creating 3D products in a few easy steps. Click on Let’s Start.

Step 1: Choose your product images

It’s simple to create aesthetic augmented reality content for your Shopify business. To get started, drag and drop or Select from your Media files, one or more product images into the uploader.

CartMagician product image selection.

Step 2: Select a 3D Template

Once the product image is uploaded, select a 3D template for your product to be displayed on. You can either choose from the pre-designed 3D template gallery or create a custom 3D template. For the purposes of this product, we will select a pre-designed 3D template. Click on Select from 3D template Gallery.

CartMagician product image selection.
CartMagician 3D template library.

Step 3: Start converting the product

Now that you have selected your product and image and the 3D template. It is time to convert the entire frame into 3-Dimensional. To do so, click Start Conversion. 

CartMagician 3D template.
CartMagician 3D preview.

Step 4: Add the product to Shopify

After the product has been converted to 3D, you can add the product image to an existing product or create a new product. You may also view the product in AR by scanning the QR code on the left of the image with the CartMagician android app available on the Google Play Store. Once you are done with all the changes, click Finish on the bottom right of the page.

As you can see, in just a few simple steps we created a 3D version of a product. If you are comfortable paying for the process and want more features, you can check out similar apps such as Nextech AR and 3D/AR product Visualisation.

Conclusion

Augmented reality is the future of online shopping and the sooner eCommerce stores understand the importance and integrate it into their business, the better it would be for their revenue. The added advantage of AR is that it works really well on mobile phones (as they come with cameras) that can help in visualizing the products in your store, giving them the freedom to move about doing other jobs.

Online stores that integrate AR features into their products are sure to see increased conversion rates, better performance of their site, improved brand recognition, and lower returns.

Further Reading

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