By Álvaro Botella, Global Marketing Analyst for Snapchat
Whilst we’re still learning about the full influences of AR on conversion and ROI, it’s already provided beneficial solutions for both brands and companies, improving the social commerce experience and mitigating some of the inconveniences of shopping online. The social media funnel has been simplified to convert sales, social commerce has shortened the path to purchase, thus allowing consumers to move through the purchase journey, from discovery to checkout, within one app.
Nonetheless, here are three reasons why marketers should consider incorporating AR into their social commerce strategies for 2022:
- Consumer interest is on the rise. Although it is not yet a mainstream activity, people are gradually warming up to the idea of shopping with AR. Evidence suggests it will be incorporated throughout marketing plans and strategies in the near future.
- Social media is a great place to get your AR fix. Snapchat’s dog-ear and baby-face Lenses put AR on the social media map. Almost all of the major social platforms now allow users to apply AR filters and effects to their photos and videos, and the activity has evolved into a primary mode of social communication and entertainment. As a result, AR has already become a familiar technology to use, and further discover throughout the consumer journey.
- AR is evolving. Beauty, fashion, and technology are the most active vertical/industries for AR social commerce. This is because they lend themselves best to the main application for shopping-related social AR, offering virtual try-on experiences, and product customization. However, as social platforms continue to expand their AR offerings, they are opening up more opportunities for brands from new verticals to participate. Snapchat, for example, recently released wrist-tracking technology for jewelry and watchmakers, allowing customers to simulate bracelets and watch try-ons.
Furthermore, as social commerce continues to grow, brands are able to use AR to increase customer engagement, and personalise the shopping experience. AR is also showing early potential to boost sales and conversions on social media.
What is the Real Potential of AR in Social Commerce?
Alvaro: Social media provides the prime venue for consumers to warm to AR, as users are already experimenting with AR filters and lenses.
According to ARInsider, in the Snap Consumer AR Global Report 2021, nearly 75% of the global population, and almost all people who use social apps, will be frequent AR users by 2025. This audience is however predominantly GenZ, digital natives who are growing up to value digital assets just as much as physical goods.
Which Platforms are Best for AR Shopping?
Alvaro : Snapchat is the most developed AR platform, Instagram however remains a major contender. Pinterest’s AR tools are designed for beauty brands, while TikTok promises to be a prime venue for creator-led AR.
Which Verticals and Industries are set to Include AR in Upcoming Strategies?
Alvaro: Beauty and fashion brands are paving the way for AR shopping on social media, using applications like virtual try-on, product personalization, or visualisation. As tech develops, opportunities are opening for brands in new industries. AR can help to bridge the gap between social media, digital commerce, and the brick and mortar of businesses.
Social platforms are striving to carve out their own AR toolkits, offering more brands a chance to get involved. Furniture and home decor industries are likely the next frontier for AR shopping on social media, in which Pinterest would play a key role. Nonetheless, as mentioned it is still too soon to fully assess AR’s impact on either conversion and return rates.
How can brands generate revenue?
Alvaro: Marketers can use social AR tools to create their own filters, effects, or 3D experiences on social media. By advertising their products with the most innovative and disruptive technology, they can influence their desired target audience, and convert them into sales. For instance, any fashion brand can use the power of AR to display the product live on their potential buyers. The more immersive the experience (including whether it has a direct shopping element), the more time, budget, and resources it will take. And who knows, we might even be buying houses based on virtual tours in the near future.