How AR is Changing
the Shopping Experience
In 2021, it’s no longer a question of how conveniently your customer can shop. It’s the experience they have while doing it. Here’s how AR is revolutionizing shopping as we know it.
With WANNA’s try-on technology, users use AR to explore products in a digital environment and to“try them on”—equipped with the right tech, it’s hard to believe they’re not the real McCoy.
Are you missing that personal connection of shopping in a brick-and-mortar store? With the help of a knowledgeable assistant, who provides a stress-free, informed shopping experience that leaves you convinced your purchase is the right one?
From Engagement to Sales
How AR is Changing the Shopping Experience
Following over a year of lockdowns and restrictions, the world as we knew it has changed, perhaps forever, and the shift towards more personalized, interactive e-commerce has solidified.
At WANNA, we pride ourselves on being the experts in creating that unmissable online experience. Our unique e-commerce solutions harness AR to help brands connect with their clients on a whole new level.
To help you get your business ready for the future of e-commerce, we’ve brought together all that we’ve learned over the past year helping businesses adapt to new consumer demands and market changes in one handy place.
unique e-commerce
solutions harness
AR
Future
Past
You’re not alone
and chances are your clients are thinking that way too.
According to the Shopper Experience Indexconsumers crave that personal connection during their shopping journey more than ever before. And it’s no surprise.
But what does that action look like?
But how to get that true-to-life experience and product knowledge from behind a screen?
Technology use in all spheres is multiplying at a rapid pace.
Consumer shopping patterns are evolving too.
The new world of shopping
Increased demand for personalized, unique experiences define the market, and businesses are wondering if now is the right time to change their digital tactics.
The coronavirus crisis, that began in 2020, only served to accelerate this digitization process, making the drive toward technology more pertinent than ever before. As lockdowns were introduced and restrictions put in place, in-store shopping became a no-go for many, with the exception of essential retail.
First-time e-commerce shoppers rose by
CN
+14%
+17%
US
*According to www.bcg.com
Expectedly an uptick in online retail was noted. Even those who never shopped online got onboard.
It’s the year 2021
It’s all about the experience and having the right tools to engage customers in a way that motivates them to make a purchase.
So, for those left wondering, it’s no longer a question of ‘if,’ it’s ‘when.’ Now is the time for brands to take action—update their offerings or risk falling behind.
At the same time, consumers also began to engage with brands in a different way. According to KPMG, 25% of UK consumers downloaded brand apps, while a further 42% predicted that they’ll use online shopping as their go-to in the future.
What this tells us is that the way consumers view online shopping has changed. Alongside an overall increased demand, customers want the flexibility to purchase on any device that is handy for them and receive a superior unique experience that is personalized as they are.
Technology
is the answer
With AR solutions, consumers can interact with a brand, learn about a product, and feel confident making a purchase, like they were in a store.
For brands looking to keep ahead of market changes, it’s essential they take a moment to reevaluate the changing needs of consumers today and deliver an engaging experience that converts into real sales.
Not only does this breach the gap of the screen, but also making at-home shopping entertaining, not a chore. Creating unique experiences that deliver on being novel as well as useful, targets the next generation of e-commerce shoppers in a way that speaks to them in a way that they understand, and more importantly love.
Shopping shouldn’t be a chore. It should be an enjoyable experience where a customer feels valued and pleased with their purchase. And that means adding an element of fun.
What this all means is that no matter the company, no matter the method—tech, human customer service, or creativity—the consumer and their needs have to be at the center of the experience.
Not only does this mean that a digital experience should be as, if not more, effective and engaging than an in-house one, it means that the person should be at the forefront of everything a business does. Not hitting the mark and connecting with your clients? Then you need to rethink your engagement strategy.
It may seem obvious stating that first impressions matter (and second and third), but getting the customer experience wrong is more common than we might think—from poor first impressions to pain points and minor niggles that just make shopping all that less enjoyable.
No shopping would be complete without it. Customer service is your brand’s make-it-or-break-it, and this no longer just means “service with a smile.” Instead, customer service is all about creating that unforgettable experience for your client when they engage with your brand or store—online or offline.
Doing things a little differently
Customer needs and expectations in 2021
The latest research shows that consumers believe brands should expand their customer engagement methods in response to COVID. What this also indicates is that, at the moment, brands aren’t going far enough to genuinely connect with their customers, and that could prove a problem from here on in if consumer needs and brand strategy diverge.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, customers have been expecting more clarity and interaction with the brands they use and want to use. From knowing when stores are opening (or not) to how to buy their products to returns and exchanges—it’s all down to good communication and engagement.
Shopping isn’t just a one-sided experience where the brand places an advert and customers arrive. Those days are long gone.
In the last year, tech investment has increased by 35%, while almost half of executives believe that COVID forced them to rethink their consumer experience, indicating that big changes in the world of retail are only beginning.
So, what does the new customer experience look like? Let’s break it down a little further. Here are the 4 leading trends that our research says customers want today:
Source: unsplash.com
Novelty is a vital characteristic in the modern e-commerce experience.
And the research backs this up.
01
An unforgettable personalized experience
So what could this novelty experience look like in practice?
For brands, it means following the four major trends today (as defined by CRMbuyer):
01
An unforgettable personalized experience
02
Engagement at every step
03
Retailtainment
04
Novelty
It’s human-focused, and 96% of C-level executives agree. During the early months of the global pandemic, Deloitte surveyed a number of participants and the results overwhelmingly showed that they wanted a more human experience when it came to shopping online.
So, what does an unforgettable experience look like?
of consumers would stop doing business with a brand after just one poor experience.
71%
According to the Economist
believe that expanding customer engagement is the key to success, and especially so following the regulations surrounding coronavirus.
54%
02
Engagement at every step
Source: unsplash.com
Consumers are increasingly expecting brands to interact with them at every step of the purchase journey, and this means engaging in a meaningful way.
Retail in 2021 is a conversation
Shopping it’s an experience
03
Retailtainment
AR is one of the technologies being used to bring that vital connection to customers with Gartner estimating that over 100 million worldwide will experience AR shopping this year. It boosts connectivity, creativity, and consumer engagement, leading to a seamless retailtainment experience.
AR
Retailtainment or retail entertainment
is all about turning shopping into an experience, not a simple pop-it-in-your-basket transaction. The consumer should feel engaged at every stage of the purchase process, and feel valued as a brand customer.
FOMO
Capitalizing on the FOMO (fear of missing out) trend, and especially now, when consumers are spending more time away from friends, family and social experiences, transforming shopping into an experience is more important than ever. Not only does this entertain the consumer, it builds a relationship with them, which leaves them more likely to come back time and time again.
But how?
+35%
tech investment
04
Novelty
Source: unsplash.com
of consumers believe that brands need to work harder to connect with them and find new ways to get their products and services out there.
69%
According to DMEXCO Europe's leading tech and marketing event
Voice commerce. First, there was Siri and Alexa, now voice commands are taking over in a big way. From being a fun tool to try out to a useful shopping assistant, voice commerce is the latest novelty to hit the market.
Personalization and changing customer journeys. Nowadays, with the world-changing faster than ever, it can be difficult to keep up with your clients. But it could not be more important. Staying on the pulse with your customers is essential in 2021.
Omnichannel shopping. In 2021, shopping doesn’t have to be done on one defined website, instead, it can happen anywhere and everywhere. From social media to your phone, etc. getting access to the products and services you need shouldn’t be difficult.
Contactless customer experience. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, more brands are focusing on contactless services. Appealing to those who want to protect themselves from the virus and those who enjoy a little distance, going contactless is making shopping safer than ever before.
Shopping isn’t just a transaction anymore, it’s an experience. Your customers want you to reach out to them, to connect, and find new ways to interact that grip their attention. Whether that means a seamless communication strategy, a smart AI-powered chatbot that answers all questions, or an unforgettable AR online shopping experience, it’s up to the individual company to decide which strategy will work for their audience.
of customers want companies to offer new ways to get existing products or services
69%
According to Salesforce
Now let’s take that insight and put it into action—from first look, the online experience should be seamless and the process engaging and straightforward to retain customer attention in an ever-competitive market. But how exactly can a brand adapt a more engaging customer service strategy?

There are a few tips to making this your business reality:
From first glance to sale: how to gain the power of conversion
But that’s not all.
This means that in 2021, it’s pertinent for brands to consider their customer first and build a strategy that engages with them on a deeper level.
How much time your consumers spend with your product matters. It's a well-known fact that the more often your client opens your app or uses your online service, the more likely they are to keep doing so. This is known as LTV.
Deeper engagement with your customer
This is known as LTV (lifetime value), meaning not only are they more likely to make a purchase, they may return again and again.
LTV
Customers that are engaged with a brand and return are also more likely to talk about your product, enabling word-of-mouth marketing and increasing brand reputation.
Having that one-on-one personal engagement experience across multiple channels—social media, apps, website, etc.—not only builds a cohesive brand image, but it also delivers a great experience to your customers too.
websites
apps
social media
+
+
=
great
experience
But it’s not just how often your customers engage. It’s the experience they receive while doing so that keeps them coming back time and again. You may have heard the old saying that it costs five times more to get a new customer than to retain one that is loyal to your brand, and while this remains somewhat true, it’s not mere retention costs that are driving brand engagement in 2021.
Multi-channel experience and personalization
Return on experience (ROX)
Return on experience (ROX)
Source: unsplash.com
By nature, experiences are often difficult to quantify. However, companies have been working hard to discover just how much experiences matter. That’s where ROX or return on experience comes in. Initial studies by PwC highlight that delivering a premium experience means that companies can increase the prices of their services by up to 16%[10], meaning more profit per purchase, making ROX an essential metric for any business in 2021. Adding it to your market analysis will help you quantify your return on experience and understand how and where you could be engaging more.
From providing suggestions of what a customer may like, to effective customer service, to try-on technology that lets the user see the product on themselves, personalization is key to helping a consumer decide if your brand is the right one for them, and statistics back this up.
As we mentioned already, retailtainment is the next global retail trend. It’s a fact. By seamlessly blending entertainment, inspiration, and connection, brands are better placed to engage their customers, and this impacts the entire purchase journey from initial curiosity to placing an order to hitting ‘Buy It Now.’
Ever since the shopping experience has gone online, retailers have been seeking new ways to engage clients and take that experience they delivered in-store into the online market. Screens are no longer a limitation. Instead, they deliver potential.
AR is no longer a nice-to-have feature. Instead, AR integration is the next step into a fully interactive digital experience for consumers.

Here’s how you can unleash the power of AR with 6 undisputable ingenious solutions:
High-tech shopping:
how AR is leading the way
Whether that’s browsing 3D products, virtual try-on, virtual fitting rooms or exploring different product variations (color, style, price, etc.). By taking the in-store experience online, companies can overcome the challenges of a physical location, boost brand recognition and reach, and save on brick-and-mortar costs.
Usage stats are changing too. According to Deloitte, for shopping alone, this has increased by 4% to reach 46%. As the technology matures, we will see more advanced uses of AR in the mainstream, and it will go from being a novelty to a story-telling superpower for brands looking to engage.
Source: unsplash.com
How many times have you heard, “there’s an app for that?” Today, there is an app for almost everything, and with smartphone storage limited, it’s unlikely your client can download every app on the planet, so why should they choose yours? Simple. If your app has a usable interface that is easy-to-use, entertaining, and helps them do what they came to do, then you remain competitive.
Once upon a time, AR was seen as a fun tool that could be used to apply masks on social media. Now, it has evolved, and we are seeing more practical use cases that deliver a sizable impact on the consumer experience.
It is fast becoming a vital part of retailtainment, and this helps companies to turn digital shopping into an experience, increasing on-site time, transaction numbers, and customer loyalty. It also boosts market visibility as a brand trends both on social media and beyond.
But even if we look strictly at shopping, it’s clear a little entertainment can go a long way.
AR can genuinely make this process more enjoyable and more likely to result in a sale.
Wanna x Snapchat
01
Translate that in-store experience into a digital one
consumers expect AR to form a vital part of their online shopping experience
75%
Buy It Now
placing an order
initial curiosity
02
Entertainment + inspiration + connection = engagement
Take WANNA’s sneaker try-on integration into the Snap platform, which had an 18.9-million-person reach, for example. In this case, AR formed a vital part of the engagement that got consumers hooked from the moment they heard about the brands to when they tried it for themselves. Not only were the experiences engaging and user-friendly, but they also involved elements of gamification that drove user engagement in the company.
of consumers spend time gathering ideas and inspiration online before making a purchase.
50%
While it may be easy to compare the technical characteristics of items online, when it comes to how it looks or fits, this experience is often lacking. AR gives consumers the power to see the product they chose in-action, to explore how it may look, and this is appealing. Recently, Shopify revealed that conversions increased a massive 250% when clients used AR to view products in 3D, indicating that AR is a force to be reckoned with. In addition, over 70% of potential customers surveyed stated that the ability to truly explore a product added to their decision to purchase, making AR capabilities in the digital era a must-have.
03
Comfort and confidence
No one likes to shop blind and have that experience of not knowing if the product purchased online will live up to expectations. That’s why AR is so effective in helping customers to make smarter decisions with confidence. Think of it as a digital test drive.
Shopify revealed that conversions increased a massive 250% when clients used AR to view products in 3D
AR = 250%
04
From novelty to story-telling superpower
Impact on the consumer experience
05
Personalization
of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if a brand offers a personalized service.
80%
likely to be selected if they offer an AR experience.
41%
According to a study by Deloitte and Snap Inc.brands
06
Avoiding the challenge of app fatigue
At WANNA, we’re convinced the future of the retail industry lies in technology and innovation. Not only does this catch the eye of your would-be clients, but it helps drive engagement, which converts browsers into buyers. Companies that are quick to onboard and explore new technologies are primed to get results, and that’s why it’s vital to start exploring your opinions today. Our recommendation?
Round-up: how to engage AR for the future of your retail business
Find an engaging technology that works for your brand and integrate it as soon as possible
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Drive marketing 
for WANNA
Viktoria Fedorova
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