As technology evolves, it’s adding a new level of interactivity for online shopping that was previously unimaginable. For Amazon sellers, it’s creating the ability to bridge the gap between digital and physical interactions while creating deeper customer engagement.
Of course, it also means that staying ahead of the technological curve is more critical than ever in the world’s biggest online marketplace. Let’s take a closer look at how one of the latest advances, Augmented Reality, empowers sellers to create immersive, personalized, and memorable journeys that elevate the e-commerce experience.
What is Augmented Reality (AR)?
Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes digital elements, such as sounds, images, and 3D models, onto our real-world environment, enhancing our perception of reality. This interaction of digital and physical worlds can provide users with a unique, immersive experience.
The use of AR in e-commerce has been transformative and continues to evolve. Initially, AR was employed to provide 3D views of products. The innovation allowed customers to visualize the product from different perspectives, adding depth to their online shopping experience.
As the technology advanced, AR started offering more precise product information in 3D e-commerce environments. Customers could virtually ‘try on’ products or see how they would look in their environment before purchasing. This immersive product visualization, often referred to as “Preview Placement,” has been instrumental in enhancing the virtual store experience.
In its current state, AR technology in e-commerce is removing friction from the shopping process and boosting consumer trust. Businesses are increasingly using AR to provide an immersive shopping experience allowing customers to preview products or experience services in their own environment at their convenience.
Augmented Reality is transforming online shopping
Since AR can provide customers with a more detailed, tangible view of the products, it can allow shoppers to visualize the product in their own space, giving them a better understanding of its size, design, and aesthetic appeal. For instance, if a seller lists a lamp, AR can enable customers to virtually ‘place’ the lamp on their desk or bedside table. They can see how it looks, whether it fits well with their decor, and if its size is suitable for their space. This level of interaction can make the online shopping experience almost as accurate as the in-store experience, bridging the gap between the two.
AR can also play a crucial role in reducing product returns. One of the primary reasons customers return products bought online is because the product didn’t meet their expectations or didn’t look or fit as they thought it would. AR can help mitigate this problem. By enabling customers to virtually try on the product before buying, they get a realistic idea of what they can expect, significantly reducing the chances of disappointment and subsequent returns.
Similarly, AR can boost customer satisfaction. The ability to interact with the product in their environment at their convenience not only enhances customers’ shopping experience but also makes them feel more confident in their purchase decision. This confidence, coupled with reduced instances of product returns, can lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction.
Integrating Augmented Reality into Amazon listings
By enabling customers to visualize products in their environment, reducing product returns, and boosting customer satisfaction, Amazon AR features can bring the in-store shopping experience right into the customers’ homes. It is a unique opportunity to transform the traditional Amazon shopping experience and one of the reasons many Amazon listings are embracing the technology more frequently.
However, integrating AR into Amazon listings comes with a unique set of technical requirements and challenges. First, developing AR experiences requires significant technical expertise and resources. Fortunately, Amazon partnered with Hexa, a 3D visualization platform, to create and display applicable 3D images, immersive 360 viewing, virtual try-on capabilities, and augmented reality (AR) content on their Amazon product pages.
Regardless of an Amazon selling partner’s experience level with 3D or AR, the new workflow is designed to be usable by all. Amazon selling partners are able to upload their Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) into Hexa’s CMS, and the system will automatically convert as little as one image into a high-fidelity 3D model with AR compatibility.
In some cases, AR content may be limited to use only on a mobile device through Amazon’s app. That’s because some Amazon AR features rely on the camera function to be used. Of course, more and more consumers are shopping on mobile devices, so ensuring all of your listing content is visually appealing and easy to navigate on smaller screens is crucial. In addition, there is a significant challenge in educating customers about this new way of shopping. Not all customers may be familiar with AR, so you’ll need to guide them on how to use the AR features effectively.
Despite the new initiative, Amazon sellers will need to continue investing in quality photography and listing optimization to support the creation of any 3D images or try-on features. While AR offers a unique opportunity to transform the traditional Amazon shopping experience, making it more engaging, informative, and immersive, it’s not a shortcut to winning on Amazon that will make the current best practices obsolete. Instead, a well-rounded approach to building quality listings will likely continue to be the best way for Amazon sellers to leverage new technologies and deliver shopping experiences that build loyalty.
Start with Amazon’s Brand Registry
Taking advantage of Augmented Reality on Amazon starts with joining Amazon’s Brand Registry to maximize access to the platform’s content options. The program is open to companies with an active trademark from the United States or one of 18 other countries, the United Kingdom, the European Union, or the United Arab Emirates. In some cases, a pending trademark may also be accepted for registration. Beyond meeting the necessary trademark requirements, businesses must also provide any product category they intend to compete in and a list of where their products are manufactured and distributed.
Unlike creating a seller account, the good news is that there is no fee associated with the Amazon Brand Registry program. Any company that meets the eligibility criteria can join at no cost.
The primary purpose of the Amazon Brand Registry is to keep brands secure and create a more attractive platform for legitimate sellers. Participating brands have access to powerful tools that allow them to detect and report suspected intellectual property infringement. Amazon also utilizes the information sellers provide through the program to improve their ability to block violations before they have an impact. Enhanced marketing and advertising options, as well as expanded monitoring capabilities, also add to the value.
Don’t overlook the fundamentals of Amazon Success
Once signed up for the Brand Registry, sellers will have access to Amazon’s Enhanced Brand Content (EBC), though the features can vary depending on the seller, category and past success. EBC is available in two forms, Amazon’s A+ Content and A++ Content, also known as A+ Premium Content. Both tools allow brand owners to enhance their product listings with additional images, videos, and rich text placements. However, there are some significant differences.
Amazon A+ Content refers to a listing’s product description of brand owners, which allows them to tell their brand story with enhanced image and video content. It offers the ability to include more detailed product descriptions, high-quality images, charts, and narrative copy to listings, providing an opportunity to showcase the features and benefits of a product in a more detailed and visually appealing way.
Amazon A++ Content or A+ Premium Content offers the best-in-class detail page experience and will likely be where new AR tools are initially launched on Amazon. It currently enables sellers to create a more immersive shopping experience with interactive displays, comparison charts, and enhanced multimedia options like full-width imagery and embedded videos.
Currently, there is no additional fee for A++ Content, but eligibility is limited to brands that have previously taken advantage of the A+ Content options and demonstrated an ability to adhere to Amazon’s guidelines. Therefore, new brands should focus on using A+ content successfully if they wish to gain access to the additional functionality of A+ Premium content.
Remember, branding and design on Amazon play a crucial role in enhancing a product’s appeal. It represents a company’s unique identity, allowing customers to associate a certain level of quality and reliability with the products bearing the brand name. Through branding, businesses can easily differentiate themselves from their competitors and convey their values to their target market.
Furthermore, incorporating effective branding into design strategies can help increase brand recognition and customer loyalty. It is essential to ensure that the branding elements, such as colors, fonts, and logos, are consistent in all marketing materials, from the product’s packaging to advertising campaigns. With effective branding, products can gain a competitive edge in the market and stand out, leading to increased sales and growth for the business.
The future of Augmented Reality on Amazon
With Amazon being a leader in the space, it’s no surprise that they’re at the forefront of leveraging AR to enhance the online shopping experience. But what does the future hold for Amazon AR features?
We can expect AR to ultimately become a standard feature for most product listings on Amazon. As more sellers recognize the benefits of AR, such as reduced product returns and improved customer satisfaction, they’ll be more inclined to integrate it into their listings. We may also see Amazon continue its current efforts to provide more robust support and resources for sellers to ease the process of AR integration.
Furthermore, we may witness the introduction of more advanced AR features. For example, interactive AR experiences that allow customers to modify or customize products in real time could become commonplace. Imagine changing the color of a dress or the style of a piece of furniture with just a few taps on your screen. This level of interactivity could significantly enhance the shopping experience and influence purchasing decisions.
Certain niche industries are already reaping significant benefits from embracing AR on Amazon. Furniture sellers, for instance, use AR consistently to let customers virtually ‘place’ items in their homes, helping them make informed decisions about size, style, and placement. Similarly, fashion brands use AR for the virtual try-ons previously mentioned, allowing shoppers to see how clothes, accessories, or cosmetics might look on them.
As the technology improves, we may see AR becoming particularly valuable for more complex, high-value items, such as electronics or appliances. AR could provide interactive demos for these products, showing customers how to use the product and its unique features or even assist with troubleshooting common issues. This type of customer service could significantly enhance understanding of the product and confidence in their purchase decision.
It’s also possible that hands-on interests, like gardening or sports, could also benefit from the features that AR offers. Garden enthusiasts could see how different plants would look in their outdoor space or offer step-by-step, AR-guided instructions on how to plant or care for them.
Whatever the future of Augmented Reality on Amazon, it looks promising and exciting. There is little doubt that its impact on the shopping experience will only grow. Sellers who embrace AR now will be well-positioned to provide the immersive, interactive shopping experiences that customers will soon come to expect.
Plan your Amazon future with Amify
Augmented Reality is one of many ways to get your Amazon product listing the best chance to succeed. Boosting your Amazon sales consistently requires a comprehensive plan for optimization, marketing and fulfillment.