Gamifying Online Shopping with AR. Is it the Right Move?

04 / 04 / 23′ – 6 Minute Read


Gamifying Online Shopping with AR. Is it the Right Move?

04 / 04 / 23′ – 6 Minute Read


To “Gamify” something means to apply typical elements of game playing, which often includes a competition of sorts. Folks like myself gamify their life where they can, to invoke fun or play, and enjoy the journey a little more.  In recent years, augmented reality (AR) has been transforming the retail industry. By allowing customers to visualize products in their real-world environment, AR is providing a unique and immersive shopping experience that can increase engagement and conversion rates for online retailers. But what if we could take it a step further and gamify the shopping experience using AR technology? 

If you wonder what the competition might be, or the point of gamifying shopping is, It’s scoring the best product while leveraging our unique experience and needs.  Let’s explore the pros, cons, limitations, and real-world examples of using AR to gamify shopping, and how it can benefit both retailers and customers.

Pros of AR in Online Retail.

According to a report by AR Insider, the global AR market is expected to reach $20.4 billion by 2025, with the retail industry being a significant contributor to this growth. In fact, it is estimated that the retail and e-commerce sectors will account for over 50% of the AR market share in 2023. 

Another study by Retail Perceptions found that 40% of consumers would be willing to pay more for a product if they could experience it through augmented reality. Additionally, the same study found that 61% of shoppers prefer stores that offer augmented reality experiences.

Let’s also talk about returns. According to a study by DigitalBridge, 40% of customers returned clothes purchased online because they did not fit correctly.  The use of AR technology for virtual try-on can significantly reduce these returns. In fact, a study by Shopify found that the use of AR technology can reduce product returns by up to 40%. Yes, you read that correctly. 

These statistics show that incorporating AR into the retail shopping experience can not only increase engagement and customer satisfaction but also have a positive impact on sales and retention.

Cons of AR in Online Retail.

While augmented reality technology might improve the shopping experience, it is not without its drawbacks. The expense and complexity of developing AR experiences is one of the primary obstacles for AR in online retail. Specialized knowledge and software, which can be costly and time-consuming, are needed to create AR content. However, not all devices and platforms may support AR experiences flawlessly, which can restrict the audience for the content. With the introduction of new AI tools, things are undoubtedly getting better, but it will take some time until new processes are simplified.

There is a chance that technological hiccups and errors will occur while using AR in online retail. A consistent and dependable internet connection is necessary for AR experiences, although this connection may not be available everywhere. The customer may become frustrated and have a bad purchasing experience as a result of technical difficulties.

What are the Ethical Concerns?

While this technology presents businesses with intriguing chances to immerse customers in memorable experiences, it also raises moral questions about the manipulation of consumer behavior.

Generating fake realities that fool users is one ethical problem. In a Stanford University study, it was discovered that individuals who engaged in augmented reality shopping were more likely to buy items they thought were bigger and more appealing than their real-life counterparts. Given that consumers might not be aware that they are being misled, this raises questions concerning the manipulation of consumer perceptions.

Another ethical issue is the potential for AR technology to take advantage of consumer vulnerabilities, routing another moral dilemma. For instance, some businesses employ augmented reality (AR) technology to develop virtual try-on scenarios that play on their customers’ concerns about their appearance. As it can perpetuate unhealthful beauty standards and contribute to body image disorders, this can be perceived as manipulative and potentially destructive.

Limitations of Gamifying Shopping with AR.

Gamifying shopping with AR technology can create a fun and engaging experience for customers, but it also has its limitations. One challenge of gamifying shopping is finding the ideal mix between amusement and utility is one problem of gamifying buying. The shopping experience may be hampered and purchases may be discouraged if the game or objective is very challenging or distracting. On the other hand, if the game is boring or overly simple, it might not keep the player’s attention.

Another limitation of gamifying shopping with AR is the potential for customer fatigue. While gamification can increase engagement and loyalty, overusing it can lead to customer burnout and a decrease in interest. Retailers must find ways to use gamification strategically and sparingly to avoid overwhelming the customer.

Real-World Examples of Using AR to Gamify Shopping.

Despite the limitations, many retailers have already successfully implemented AR to gamify shopping and enhance the customer experience. Let’s take a look at some real-world examples:

1. Ikea Place

Customers can use the Ikea Place augmented reality app to see furniture in their home before purchasing. Customers may choose from a variety of Ikea products and use the app to see how they fit and appear in their homes. This offers a distinctive and engaging purchasing experience, which can boost client happiness and lower return rates.

2. L’Oreal Makeup Genius

Customers can virtually test on makeup with the AR app L’Oreal Makeup Genius. Customers can experiment in real-time with various makeup looks and colors using the front-facing camera on their smartphone. Using AR technology, the software maps the user’s face to produce a lifelike virtual try-on experience. This gives customers a quick and risk-free option to try on makeup, which can boost client happiness and encourage more sales.

3. Audi AR Showroom

Audi has launched an AR showroom experience that allows customers to configure and visualize cars in AR. Customers can use an iPad to configure and visualize different models, colors, and features of Audi cars in AR. This creates a more personalized and engaging shopping experience that can increase customer satisfaction and sales.

4. Zara AR Experience

The fashion retailer Zara has introduced an augmented reality (AR) experience that lets shoppers view models wearing clothing in AR in some of its stores. Consumers who scan a sensor at the store may view models wearing clothing in augmented reality, making for a more interesting and immersive buying experience. 

5. H&M 

Customers can now visualize how furniture and home accessories will appear in their space before making a purchase thanks to the AR app Home Stylist from fashion store H&M. Buyers can view how virtual furniture and décor items would look in their actual environment by placing them there using the camera on their smartphone. In addition to making shopping more individualized, this aids customers in making more informed decisions.

In Conclusion

AR technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we shop online, providing a more immersive and interactive experience for customers, and the stats show this. By gamifying the shopping experience using AR, retailers can create a fun and engaging experience that can increase customer engagement, loyalty, and sales. However, retailers must be mindful of the limitations of AR and gamification, and find ways to use the technology strategically and sparingly. Overall, the use of AR technology for virtual try-on and gamification in retail is a smart move for retailers looking to improve the customer experience, reduce returns, and increase sales. With the continued evolution and adoption of AR technology, we can expect to see even more exciting and innovative uses of AR in the retail space