Apple Vision Pro for eCommerce is not the main target market for this ground-breaking product, however the potential mainstream adoption of augmented reality (AR) could unluck some revolutionary eCommerce use-cases.
In this article we look to share our thoughts on the potential use-cases for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) for eCommerce, and how this could benefit online retailers and their customers.
Augmented Reality (AR) vs Virtual Reality (VR)
What is Augmented Reality (AR)?
Augmented Reality (AR) is an innovative technology that overlays digital information onto the real world, enhancing our perception of our surroundings. Through devices like Apple Vision Pro, AR superimposes computer-generated images, sound, or data onto the user’s field of view, creating an interactive, immersive experience.
What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that immerses users in a completely simulated environment, disconnecting them from the physical world. In this artificially created world, users can interact with 3D objects or complete actions as if they were in the real world.
What is the difference between Augmented Reality (AR) vs Virtual Reality (VR) for eCommerce?
VR creates a completely immersive, simulated environment, disconnecting users from the physical world. AR overlays digital information onto the real world, enhancing our physical surroundings rather than replacing them
Therefore, VR immerses, while AR enhances our reality. From an eCommerce perspective, this offers a number of different use cases for both AR and VR technology.
Apple Vision Pro for eCommerce: 10 Augmented Reality Use-Cases for Commerce
- Virtual Try-On
- Digital Duplicate of Physical Stores
- 1:1 In-Person Customer Support
- In-Situ Products
- Product Demos
- Interactive Instruction Manuals
- Immersive Product Catalogues
- Overhaul Product Browsing
- Overhaul of Fixed Width Site Design
1. Virtual Try-On
Virtual try-on revolutionises how customers interact with an eCommerce store by offering customers an immersive, interactive shopping experience. Leveraging augmented reality (AR), this technology enables users to virtually “wear” items, such as clothes, sneakers, jewellery, or cosmetics, prior to purchase.
The aim of this technology is to reduce the uncertainty associated with online shopping due to not being able to touch or see the product in person. Not only does it provide realistic previews, enhancing buyer confidence, but it also has a huge potential sustainability upside in helping reduce return rates, a major concern for online retailers and the environment.
Currently customers are required to upload photos, use their webcam, use social media filters, or in some cases use specially designed technology like AR mirrors to see how items fit or look. Google have just launched AI-powered virtual try-on where a single clothing image is visually shown demonstrating how it would drape, fold, cling, stretch and form wrinkles and shadows on a diverse set of real models in various poses.
The release of Apple Vision Pro for eCommerce has the potential to take this technology s step further, allowing customers to virtually try-on a range of clothes from the comfort of their own home.
Virtual try-on, therefore, is a promising development in eCommerce, bridging the gap between physical and digital retail.
2. Digital Duplicate of Physical Stores with Apple Vision Pro for eCommerce
Retail stores should be experiences. The most iconic physical stores provide customers with more than just products, they provide a experiences, an immersive journey into the values and vision of a brand.
A major issue for the majority of the world however is that flagship stores are only located in a handful of cities across the world, so 99% of the world never get to experience one.
Augmented / Virtual Reality for eCommerce offers the opportunity to create a digital duplicate of a flagship retail store, allowing customers from anywhere in the world to digitally walk, interact, and experience the store in an increasingly similar way to the real-life version.
We have already seen the early stages of this with brands buying up land in ‘metaverses’ like Decentraland and The Sandbox, with technology like Boson Protocol providing the Commerce layer, however to date the overall experience is still in the early stages.
We recently saw the announcement by some.place x The Hundreds creating a digital duplication of their flagship Fairfax store in LA, all enabled by the some.place virtual world and underlying Commerce layer.
Advanced visual technology provided by Apple Vision Pro for eCommerce will be a huge catalyst to move this forward.
3. 1:1 In-Person Customer Support
One major reasons for visiting a physical store vs the online eCommerce equivalent is the human interaction and help provided by well-trained store staff.
In the eCommerce world, we have been evolving the offering to try and replicate this in-person experience, with email and phone evolving into live chat and fitting sessions. Even though these customer support services have matured, the experience is still no where near what people experience in-store.
Augmented Reality offers the opportunity to provide a like-for-like digital experience. One of the key announcement for Apple Vision Pro was the immersive evolution of virtual meetings, creating a life like replication of meeting someone in real-life.
Apply this to an eCommerce Live Chat service, and suddenly you have the opportunity to provide the same in-store customer service to digital customers.
4. In-Situ Products
For categories like Homewares and Furniture, purchasing is made challenging by the fact that items are viewed in foreign environments, whether that is a styled product shot, or showroom.
The AR feature of Apple Vision Pro for eCommerce allows for products to be added to a persons field of view, and so items can therefore be browsed in-situ. Imagine choosing a new sofa by using AR to place different sofa in the exact living room where it will be used. Imagine easily moving that sofa into different places, and changing the colour at the click of a button.
This is ‘try before you buy’ at scale through AR.
5. Product Demos with Apple Vision Pro for eCommerce
One step further on from In-situ products, is the idea of allowing people to experience actually using the product prior to purchase.
Whilst Augmented/Virtual Reality cannot allow people to physically use a product (currently!), using AR to place people into scenarios situations where a product is actually being used provides the potential for a much more effective demo than just watching a video.
Imagine a process of buying a car. Whilst a video can provide details of the car being driven, Augmented/Virtual reality allows potential buyers to really experience the sound of the engine and the feeling of space (or lack of) when sat in the passenger seat. These are all possible with Apple Vision Pro for eCommerce creating a much more immersive demo of a product in use.
6. Interactive Instruction Manuals
Instruction manuals are a vital tool for starting to use new products, however in this evolving digital and time-poor world, a quick search and 2 min YouTube video is a much more likely tool for learning how to use a product.
The interactive and issue specific personalisation available in video form make them a much better tool for teaching people how to use something.
It also offers eCommerce retailers with a further touchpoint to engage and build a longterm relationship with customers. This chance to surprise and delight a customer in how they are enabled to use a product offers the potential to immediately drive a repeat customer.
7. Immersive Product Catalogues
Augmented and virtual reality (AR & VR) allow for products to be brought to life through Apple Vision Pro for eCommerce, with 3D renders being viewed and interacted with in a similar fashion to the real product.
Instead of using the standard multiple product shots, with zoom to view the finer details, imagine allowing your customers to look at a product from all angles, walking around it the same way you would in a store.
Instead of comparing product features through a list of data in a table, AR offers the potential to position two products next to each other and compare each product in full 3D. Reposition and
8. Overhaul Product Browsing with Apple Vision Pro for eCommerce
eCommerce experiences are pretty stagnant. Product Listing Pages (PLP) with rows of 2-4 products, Product Description Pages (PDP) with a image carousel followed by a description; these are standard ‘best practices’ that 99% of eCommerce sites follow.
Apple Vision Pro for eCommerce offers the potential to rewrite this ‘best practice’ and offer something much more interesting and engaging. The potential is limitless.
- Replicate the store environment by duplicating the clothes rails you experience in store.
- Place sneakers on a wall
- Provide a limitless horizontal width with an infinite scroll through products
This offers both an opportunity and a huge challenge for eCommerce retailers
9. Overhaul of Fixed Width Site Design
Desktop, Tablet, & Mobile. UX designers have been restrained by these dimensions with site experiences and design restricted to a limited number of ratios and dimensions.
Now this offers both an opportunity and a huge challenge. How do you design something when you don’t know the size and dimensions? The concept of responsive design will need to evolve with the underlying tech likely to require a similar evolution.
Opportunity wise, progressive retailers will be able to test and learn new digital shopping experiences to improve and streamline the way consumers buy products online.
10. Gaming with Apple Vision Pro for eCommerce
The gaming industry represents a lucrative new eCommerce opportunity.
As gaming expands beyond pure entertainment, it creates an ecosystem for digital purchases of game-related merchandise, in-game currencies, and premium content.
AR devices bring these gaming environments closer to the real-world, so the release of products like Apple Vision Pro accelerates the gaming opportunity for eCommerce. Game developers, platforms, and retailers have a growing potential to monetise the increasing engagement of gaming audiences.