Can sales increase with an AR product configurator?

Can sales increase with an AR product configurator?

Staffan Hagberg, Chief Marketing Officer
Staffan Hagberg, Chief Marketing Officer

For decades, online clothing stores have used customization menus on their product pages to create a tailored selection for customers. Some have even created a dedicated “build it yourself” program with a wide range of bespoke options. All these customization solutions are called configurators and are used today in several industries by both product and service companies. With a growing demand for custom product configurations, thanks to its versatility, AR technology has positioned itself as a competitive option.

If you want to implement a product configurator but at the same time want something that isn’t used as widely by other companies, you might want to consider an AR product configurator. An AR solution has the same basic benefits as other configurators but with a few extra perks that allow you to stand out from competitors and give customers a superior experience.

Why choose an AR product configurator?

AR applications use a device camera, scan the user’s surroundings, and then display it on the screen, with new 3D objects displayed on top. As if they were really there in the physical world. As such, the technology provides several unique advantages to an augmented reality product configurator:

Impressive for users

If you want to impress users beyond just giving them a bold product description, this really does the trick. The user will see the product not only on the screen, but also in his home, on the street or wherever it can be visualized. It’s like window-shopping but more interactive and without having to visit a real store.

Easy to access

AR is the most accessible technology because it doesn’t require a headset like VR and MRI or special hardware beyond a device with a camera. Thus, users can access it anywhere and anytime if they have a gadget with them. Some apps even run without an internet connection, so customers can choose their model before visiting or connecting to your website. It is also possible to run AR directly from the browser so that users do not have to download custom-built AR applications, all to lower the threshold for the technology.

Realism and accuracy

AR gives you a sense of spatial awareness that isn’t on a website. Instead of seeing the product in a virtual showroom, customers can see it scaled to their room, house, or other location. For example, they can see how much a sleeve solution will look like and what place it takes up in your storage room. In addition, you can use 3D models with a high level of detail that will be almost indistinguishable from the real object.

Additional simulation features

The range of effects that AR provides goes far beyond just visualizing a 3D object in the room. For example, you can overshoot the models on things in motion (like a virtual pair of sneakers that mess with a person as they go) or add additional effects like showing how a particular makeup product will look on the face. You can even create animations of the object that work or visualize its internal components.

Set the bar for competitors

The market for AR configurators is still relatively young, so you may be “the first” to use the technology. In addition to bragging rights, you get an edge over your competitors when it comes to improving the customer experience and gaining new market share. Even if they decide to make a similar solution in the future, you have already established yourself as a leader in this field.

How users experience AR configurators

If you haven’t developed or tried different AR apps before, you probably don’t know much about how they work or what kind of features you can pack into them. Let’s fix it.

To begin with, we will look at how AR apps run on different platforms:

Mobile

Smartphones and tablets make up the most widespread targets of AR apps, mainly because they’re easy to carry with you everywhere. Thus, companies tend to create apps for iOS and Android that require a device that supports the technology and has a working camera. These applications can be offline and carry all product models inside for easy viewing or be more advanced and connect to the web, download the necessary assets and allow the user to make purchases.

WebAR

WebAR is a cutting-edge technology that enables users to access enhanced experiences across all browsers.

Of course, it wouldn’t be much of an augmented reality without the “reality” part, so the browser would have to access the camera to create the visualization. Essentially, it is a web application that does not need to be installed on the device, which you can access with just one click. Many ecommerce providers like this because some new customers may not want to download a mobile app to view the products, but are happy to open a web page running a WebAR app. Animech has developed a module that converts unique configured objects into formats that support Apple and Android and users can then see configured, unique objects in AR with just the touch of a button.

Other devices

While there are other types of AR support devices available to consumers (mainly glasses and headsets), they tend to stand out as a sore thumb and lack much of the functionality you can get on a smartphone. They have their uses, but are most often applied in corporate work and training settings at the moment.

Although there are other types of available to consumers (mainly glasses and headsets), they tend to stand out like a sore thumb and lack much of the functionality you can get on a smartphone. They have their uses, but are most often applied in corporate work and training settings at the moment.

Unique features of AR configurator applications

When developing an AR configurator app, you have a much larger box of tools to work with than you would for a standard desktop or mobile app. This means that you can add a variety of features to improve the user experience. Below are some examples:

Scanning options

You can at least program your app to recognize surfaces and typical settings (floor, sidewalk, water, etc.). You can also go further and create a cursor-based tracking system that recognizes specific people, objects, and settings.

Location Services

Most devices that support AR also support location services (like GPS), so you can take advantage of this fact by adding customized suggestions based on user location. For example, you can use the client’s location to offer them the nearest store/website where they can pick up their item once they’ve chosen what they want to buy in the configurator.

Real interactions

If you want to give customers a deeper level of interaction with your product that goes beyond pushing and gesticulating behind a screen, you can add meaningful interactions that involve real physical modifications. For example, if you provide a customer with printer parts, you can have them scan their existing printer in the app and add instructions to find/change the part that changes as the user moves through the steps, and the app recognizes the changes.

Responsive feedback

Let’s not forget about the features that are present in practically all mobile devices – sound and vibration. You can use these two in a good way to deepen the experience by adding feedback when the app user performs a certain action or makes a selection. It can be a sound and vibration that lets them know they are on the right track or if they missed something / made a mistake.

Talk to an expert

Do you need a consultation before developing a product configurator? Book a demo with one of Animech’s experts.