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AR can help heighten the social commerce experience

Social commerce has shortened the path to purchase, allowing consumers to move through the purchase journey from discovery to checkout within one app. While we’re still in the early stages of understanding augmented reality’s (AR’s) impact on conversion and return rates, it’s already a way for brands to improve the social commerce experience and remove some of the pain points of shopping digitally.

Here are three reasons why marketers should consider incorporating AR into their social commerce strategies today:

  1. Consumer interest is rising. It’s not yet a mainstream activity, but people are steadily warming up to the idea of shopping with AR. According to our October survey with Bizrate Insights, only 13% of US adults had ever used AR or virtual reality (VR) to shop, up by 5 percentage points year over year. But 37% who hadn’t used AR or VR to shop before were at least somewhat interested in doing so.
  2. Social media is a prime venue for consuming AR. Snapchat put AR on the social media map with its dog-ear and baby-face Lenses. Now nearly all the major social platforms allow users to add AR filters and effects to their photos and videos, and the activity has become a primary method of social communication and entertainment. That means AR will be a familiar technology to use during the purchase journey.
  3. Social AR technology is improving. Beauty, fashion, and tech are the low hanging fruit for AR social commerce as those categories lend themselves best to the main application for shopping-related social AR, namely virtual try-on experiences and product personalization or visualization. But as the social platforms continue to build out their AR offerings, they are creating more opportunities for brands from new verticals to get involved. Snapchat, for instance, just released wrist-tracking technology for jewelry- and watchmakers so shoppers can simulate bracelet and watch try-ons.