Retail & E-CommerceAugmented Reality

How Augmented Reality in E-Commerce Is Transforming Customer Experience

Augmented reality is increasing buying confidence and driving sales.


Globalization and the widespread adoption of the internet have rendered every company around the world susceptible to greater competition. In our ever-changing landscape, businesses must pay close attention to the needs of consumers. At the same time, they have to embrace the latest innovations that can help them pull ahead of the competition. Thus, it’s not entirely surprising that more and more businesses are capitalizing on the increasing popularity of augmented reality.

Immersive technologies weren’t invented in the last few years. They’ve been around longer than social media or iPhones. However, the technologies weren’t ready for the mass consumer market—until recently.

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Now that augmented reality is on the rise, it’s gradually seeping into most, if not all, industries. That includes the world of e-commerce. While it has numerous applications in business, we’re going to delve into one area that is being reshaped by AR—customer experience.

How E-Commerce Businesses Are Using Augmented Reality

Online shopping should be convenient. However, customers face a lot of potential challenges when they go down this route. Perhaps their most important challenge is determining whether a product makes a good fit into their lives. After all, pictures on a screen can be deceiving. When there isn’t enough information available, consumers won’t have the confidence to make a purchase.

E-commerce merchants are using AR to address this problem.

They’re using AR as well as other immersive technologies to show their products or services in a new light. For example, IKEA uses AR to give customers a preview of the furniture in their actual homes. Their app taps into a smartphone’s camera to show the space where the consumer wants to place the furniture. Then, it renders a 3D picture of the furniture on the space.

Customers can reposition the 3D picture on the screen, so they can pick an ideal spot for their new piece. They might even realize that the piece they like doesn’t go well with the rest of their furniture. In other words, augmented reality can help them make well-informed choices.

CoverGirl did something similar. Also using a mobile device’s camera, shoppers could apply beauty products over a live image of their face. Through AR, the brand enabled consumers to try on different makeup combinations, sparing their skin and time in the process.

How to Build Augmented Reality Systems

There’s a growing number of AR startups these days. Such platforms help e-commerce merchants develop AR technologies to improve different aspects of the business.

One example is Emersya. It leverages immersive technologies to showcase products online, as well as in-store. Using Emersya, brands can create in-depth customer experiences.

“Our Interactive AR Photo concept offers consumers a uniquely interactive augmented reality experience, without the need to remain standing in the same position holding their arm out straight,” said Aurelien Vaysset, co-founder and CEO of Emersya. “This first of its kind feature has built-in floor detection, collision detection, and shows products to scale and in high definition.”

Emersya is nothing like your usual AR experience. That’s because it doesn’t require an app or a specific device to create these immersive experiences. Emersya’s technology can be embedded in any webpage. Moreover, it can run on any device. This way, it easily solves a common issue in e-commerce and retail.

Shopify is another platform offering e-commerce merchants AR solutions. Using Shopify AR, brands can deliver new ways to experience their products. They can showcase realistic versions of their products. This enables consumers to gain a truer sense of the size or scale of the items. In turn, it increases engagement and improves buying confidence.

Like Emersya, Shopify’s AR solution works on any web browser. Consumers can easily access it anywhere and anytime, without special AR headsets, apps, or software.

Shopify AR
Shopify AR


Building an augmented reality system from scratch isn’t easy, especially for small and medium-sized e-commerce brands. You might not have the people or the funds to build it from the ground up. What you can do is find an experienced and trustworthy partner for this endeavor.

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There’s no shortage of AR companies these days. Thus, you should carefully select highly skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced professionals for the job. With their help, you can develop unique AR experiences that will drive your business forward.

Gergana Mileva
the authorGergana Mileva
Based in Prague, CZ, Geri is a freelance journalist and writer, focusing on technology, finance, and marketing. If you have a story suggestion for Geri, you may contact her here.