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Challenges to Mass Adoption for AR Shopping Apps

Numerous challenges face the mass adoption of AR shopping apps in online retail, but many leading brands are already ahead of the game. This is thanks to rapid advances in the technology as well as in the hardware and software options of 2020. Today’s solutions make it simpler and more affordable for brands to create innovative, cutting-edge product experiences and stand out in the booming competition. To discover how e-tailers are doing this to success, dive in to learn about some of the best AR apps for shopping and the challenges these companies face in their adoption of augmented reality.

AR shopping apps and challenges to adoption

Statistics on AR apps suggest it’s time for online retailers to consider the adoption of augmented reality for shoppers in 2020, but this doesn’t come without its challenges.

With 52% of online retailers admitting they remain unprepared to support this new mobile tech, there is no doubt that a gap in the online retail market is emerging in AR shopping apps. Consumers are making more and more purchases online, especially in lieu of the global pandemic, and e-commerce is not only booming, it’s becoming increasingly more competitive.

To stand out among the competition, online retailers are adopting innovative and exciting ways to enrich the customer’s shopping experience, and some brands are doing better than others. Keep reading to discover how these brands are leading the pack, and the challenges facing wide adoption of AR shopping apps in 2020.

Online shopping mobile device

Challenges for supporting AR shopping apps and mass adoption

To get to the heart of the challenges facing the mass adoption of AR shopping apps, it’s first necessary to consider what online shoppers really want from this technology. Doing this, brands get a better picture of what features their apps should provide and what ultimately triggers purchases in their target shoppers. 

Buying products online

Obstacles in advertising AR apps for retail

With AR for e-commerce and online retail, one of the main obstacles is in providing not only enough content but also the most appropriate content for online shoppers. One way brands are doing this with AR shopping apps is more so focused on using AR for digital marketing. In this way, brands promote new product showcases to AR app users, both encouraging more use of the app while also creating a channel to promote products with discounts or other deals.

This comes with additional challenges, however, like, for example, how do you reach AR shopping app users if they don’t log into the application? This forces brands to advertise their new AR product content either on the web, by print content or some other means of promotion. 

LEGO found one innovative solution to this, the Digital Box, which allows customers to use their AR app to see inside of the physical box at store locations. In this way, shoppers can view and interact with the content in the store, as well as find additional deals and promotions.

Mobile product experience

Difficulties in localisation

In 2017, sales in e-commerce accounted for only 9% of all US retail sales, with this figure expected to account for 12.4% by 2020. Take the global pandemic into account, and it’s likely this increase will be much higher as more and more consumers turn to online shopping.

This means that the majority of sales are still done in-person and offline, and this is the challenge in localisation. Most consumers still want to see products with their own eyes before making a purchase, so AR and VR apps for shopping are starting to bridge this gap by using shoppers’ GPS data to promote nearby stores where products can be purchased.

With this location data, retailers can lead users to things like the nearest retailer, product, or points of delivery, or even promote current offers from various businesses and locations.

Providing incentives and discounts 

The next challenge retailers face is in incentivising consumers to use AR shopping apps, and one way companies are meeting this challenge is with various incentives, discounts and gifts. 

Shoppers can be enticed to spend more time and make more purchases in stores or webshops when they receive something for their time. It might be something for free or even a special offer only available to shopping app users, anything that leads potential consumers to the shop.

T-shirt shopping page mobile

Offering personalisation in AR apps

Different users have different needs. What one shoppers desires in an AR shopping app, others might find completely useless. This is why developers need to pay special attention to each individual shopper and tailor applications to the user’s needs.

In this case, things like special features, search options, filters, purchase history and more can help retailers rise to the challenge and allow them the ability to analyse shopper behaviour and meet various needs to support users with personalised content that interests them.

Creating a truly interactive product experience with AR

The more product customisation options shoppers have, the better. Today’s online shoppers are becoming more selective than ever, so online retailers need to provide AR shopping app users the chance to consider a wide range of sizes, styles, colours, accessories and more. 

AR allows shoppers to interact with product models, see how products would look in person, learn how products operate and, ultimately, create a solid user experience. The challenge is in driving interest with the shopping experience, as well as in providing a product experience that builds trust in shoppers and makes them confident in purchases.

AR shoppping app discoverability

Increasing discoverability

The next challenge for successfully running AR shopping apps is discoverability, i.e. how in-store shoppers learn about the app. Simply adding a QR code and some text to product boxes or showcases isn’t enough, as this doesn’t ensure shoppers will be aware of the shopping app. 

This means AR apps need extra promotion, from promotionals on social media to email campaigns, direct or digital marketing and public relations. Shoppers today aren’t wholly aware of the possibilities for AR shopping apps, so it’s important to entice app use in every way possible.

Security augmented reality apps

Ensuring both safety and privacy for AR users

Information leakage is of high concern for online shoppers, and happens when revealing information about a user is granted to unauthorised parties. This is especially concerning for online shoppers with mobile apps that require users’ personal identification, data that might identify a user, bank details and the like.

This is why AR shopping apps need to place an emphasis on and stress the importance of privacy and safety for users. In this line, these apps need to meet local, national and regional regulatory compliance for the processing of user data as well as adherence to privacy laws, and should also allow users to manage what or how much data is broadcast outside of the application.

Offering a simple interface for AR shoppers

The final challenge worth mentioning is one involving the AR shopping application’s design. Just as with any mobile app, applications should be designed with a simple, intuitive user interface. The more user-friendly, the better, as anything that might confuse users might also make them quickly uninstall the application and never use it again.

Components such as language localisation, simple instructions for app use and details of special features are top priorities in this case, as are any features that might make the user’s shopping experience frictionless and engaging.

The future of AR shopping apps

As more and more retailers overcome the challenges in adopting and supporting viable AR shopping apps, wider adoption among retailers will surely happen over time. This means that the competition among retailers for the best product experience as well as marketing will only increase, and the race to further develop this emerging mobile technology will be in full swing. 

It also means that demand for affordable and versatile solutions for creating 3D models for AR shopping apps will develop, and that retailers should start considering these solutions sooner rather than later. 

At PhotoRobot, we’ve had our eyes on this prize for some time, and our versatile tools for product photography are designed for every product photography operation from still shots, to 360-degree spin photos or scanning products for 3D models and AR/VR rendering. To learn more, contact us today for a free consultation with one of our specialist solution technicians.