We have seen many myths when it comes to e-commerce in 2021. One is definitely about how it gained popularity because of the pandemic and therefore is expected to lose its hold on the shoppers as we slowly go back to life as we know it. This has been debunked time and again as there is no going back to the way retail once was – we will (if we haven’t already) switch to strong omnichannel business models and evolve as we move forward. But one thing is clear as we approach 2022, there will be no brand strategy that does not put e-commerce to the center stage.
With the start of the pandemic, the AI/AR technologies and Virtual Try-On (VTO) tools have offered a sense of relief to beauty companies as they not only efficiently replaced the in-store trying experience but actually turned online shopping into something completely new, something real. Customers now have the ability to see all the products of a brand with a few clicks, try them on, play around with new items and discover things they wouldn’t have ventured out to otherwise – all without the social or time constraints of physical shopping.
And what do all these new features lead to? Customers shopping more confidently, an improved ‘realism’ of the experience, and no more needing to order multiple shades or different colors to see what works better for them. And, shoppers having a more comprehensive picture of what they are ordering helps tackle one of the biggest problems in e-commerce (and for the environment): Returns. Brands offering VTO see an average of 64% fewer returns. As your customers buy with more confidence, you’ll waste fewer resources on shipping products that will mostly be shipped back, save on the packaging costs, and build a more sustainable brand.
AR boosts your conversions
There is another aspect to discuss when it comes to cost: the actual adoption of AI/AR technologies. By offering your customers a chance to virtually try on products, you’re minimizing product trial time and increasing sales conversions. You’re reducing costs, be it employing fewer sales associates in stores or reducing returns. Consumer research shows, 61% of buyers prefer retailers with AR experiences. And 55% think shopping with AR makes the experience more fun and exciting.
So, in the long run, you’re giving your customers a colorful and trustworthy buying journey and improving the brand loyalty that will give you a chance to be ahead of the competition. And as you’re creating this fun and immersive experience, you get to gather data on your customers and clearly observe their thought processes as they try on one product after the other. You can strategically harness this data to offer even more personalized suggestions, fine-tune your personas to better target your campaigns and save time (and money!) during the campaigning stage. Talk about a never-ending ROI.
And one last thing. We have been talking strictly about your digital strategy but using VTO technology also helps improve the position of your physical stores. By directing the customers to sample products with VTO in the store, your store associates can tailor their interactions and suggestions to each customer with the help of online/offline customer data. They can also use the tool to virtually show customers a sold-out product and order it for them. Not to mention, this also helps to keep your stores hygienic during the pandemic and reduce your tester costs significantly.