Amazon's Augmented Reality
For those who have purchased a product online and to their dismay, upon arrival, realized that it didn’t go with the bathroom’s color scheme, or fit in the living room corner, the struggle of ordering items online rather than purchasing products in person is apparent and real. Amazon’s augmented reality (AR) is trying to fix the “online vs. in-person product dilemma” by allowing shoppers to virtually place a product in their homes with accurate dimensions via their iPhone camera. Digitizing products is reinventing the way that consumers buy products online.
Accounting for 43% of US online retail sales, Amazon’s influence as a major virtual marketplace makes its utilization of AR all the more relevant, as it will encourage tech and retail companies to create virtual catalogs that have interactive 3D models, rather than 2D pictures.
As the old adage goes, “don’t trust everything you see online.” Most consumers approach online shopping with an air of hesitation and shop with the lingering fear that the products they purchase may not arrive as they appear online. Online shopping fails are common and comical. YouTubers film haul videos of products purchased online that arrive in sketchy packaging, just to be unboxed and reveal an all too underwhelming product.
Amazon’s use of AR will prevent failures such as these by allowing shoppers to see the product in their homes before they click “add to cart,” thus greatly limiting the possibility of a product arriving and appearing different than it did on the website.
The integration of AR into consumerism opens up a door to vast technological advancements throughout numerous online marketplaces in the future. With the rapid advancement of AR and VR (virtual reality) technology, the next few years may bring a wave of interactive AR in which consumers can actually use products rather than just view them in their homes.
Prospective buyers of a toaster oven, fridge, or even a speaker, may be able to operate, open, or play with the devices they consider buying in the years to come.
Augmented reality is quickly finding its role in consumerism, as the digital marketplace behemoth Amazon has demonstrated, and will soon be utilized by vendors across the world to encourage even the most hesitant and skeptical of buyers to purchase products online before seeing them in person.
Written by Grace Kelman, Edited by Jack Vasquez & Alexander Fleiss