What is WebAR?

An Introduction to Augmented Reality

AR stands for augmented reality, which has become more and more common in recent years for business. Put simply, augmented reality (AR) is the integration of digital elements into our real world. It effectively merges the two together!

You might think that AR doesn’t affect you, but if you’ve ever used a social media camera effect or played Pokemon Go, then you’ve also used augmented reality.

Although AR is incredibly fun for everyone involved, it’s not just used for selfies and catching imaginary Pokemon. AR is now being used to promote products from furniture and cars to trainers or sunglasses.

AR in the News

In January 2022, Pinterest announced that it would be introducing ‘Try On for Home Decor’, allowing Pinners to shop for furniture using AR. Since Pinterest is used heavily for home decor inspiration and shopping, this is a perfect way to enhance a user’s experience, adding to the existing AR features such as ‘Try On for Eyeshadow’ and ‘Try On for Lipstick’. Pinterest claims that shoppers are 5x more likely to purchase from Try On-enabled pins than from standard pins. There’s a limited number of retailers that can use this at the moment, including Wayfair and Walmart but if successful this will likely be rolled out to others.

The news proves that AR is only growing and it’s certainly here to stay. Maybe it’s time you started using it for your own business? But what if you’re not the owner of a global social media platform or you haven’t yet got access to Pinterest’s AR features?

WebAR is likely the best and quickest method for you to get on board.

What about WebAR?

So what do we mean when we talk about webAR? WebAR is essentially an online augmented reality experience that doesn’t require software, mobile apps or registration. It all happens through a web browser such as Chrome or Safari.

According to Statista, 32% of a group study found that user experience was the biggest hindrance to their adoption of AR or VR. With webAR, it becomes much more accessible because all that is required is a mobile device with a camera and a web browser (which most likely comes pre-installed on the device).

This means that the AR experience initiates much more fluidly, allowing the user to skip those cumbersome steps where they have to search for the app, download it and log in. At this point, plenty of people would have lost interest. A simple QR code can take the user to the URL where the webAR experience takes place.

This means more reach, more interactions and a higher share factor (because of how cool it is!). And, because it’s not app-based, you can easily and more affordably push new content live to keep your marketing campaigns fresh and interesting. No need to pay for an expensive app developer.

Higher Conversion Rates

With the power of webAR customers can much better assess a product as it allows them to interact with them in a new way - touching, spinning and moving. It also helps individuals feel more connected with your brand. Interacting with AR on a store leads to a 94% higher conversion rate.

Reduction in returns

Online purchases typically result in more returns than in-store purchases because people aren’t able to see the product in real life. This can often be a big pain point for businesses. By implementing webAR customers can make better shopping decisions, resulting in fewer returns.

Give Customers Confidence

Providing an AR experience gives customers more confidence in your business. Everyone loves a try-before-you-buy and with AR customers can try without you giving anything away. It’s a win-win! It also gives customers a stronger impression that you’re a reputable business.

Drive Visual Attention

According to AR developer Zappar, AR drives much higher levels of attention in the brain (almost double that of non-AR experiences). It elicits a surprise response and is 70% more memorable. What business doesn’t want to be 70% more memorable?

How does AR benefit the consumer?

Augmented reality benefits the customer most for products where it’s less practical to try things out first. For example, ordering furniture online can be difficult as not everyone can picture in their minds how a new sofa will look or how it will impact the space. It allows customers to be confident about their purchase before buying.

These immersive online experiences also allow people to shop easily from the comfort of their own homes. Amidst a global pandemic, where more people are staying at home and more people are digitally savvy, this is an ideal and more hygienic solution.

Because of the digital nature of AR, it helps prevent consumers from experiencing a cognitive overload. Augmented reality can present information in neatly summarised and sequential digital snippets. This allows customers to more easily digest information, in the real world and in real-time.

Examples of Web AR

To get an understanding of what is possible with webAR, take a quick look at some fun examples below from some well-known brands.

Coca-Cola


Coca-Cola used webAR as a mechanic for a customer competition. The competition involved bottles of Coca-Cola with 1 of 23 QR codes printed on them. Entry into the competition was only possible when all 23 QR codes were scanned, each one unlocking sections of an augmented reality map. This competition encouraged people to make repeat purchases of Coca-Cola in order to be in with a chance of winning.

Into The Spider-Verse


Sony promoted their blockbuster film Into The Spider-Verse with the help of webAR. As you can see from the video, fans were able to join their favourite web-slinger Miles Morales on camera, simply by following a QR code.

Purina

Pet food brand Purina wanted to show customers the positive effects of a healthy pet diet over one month. This webAR experience brought virtual animals into the home to demonstrate the results. Afterwards, customers received a voucher to use in-store or online for their products.

Land Rover

During the pandemic in 2020, many places of business shut down because they weren’t allowed to open. For big purchases like cars, you’d normally visit a showroom, take a test drive and speak to a sales representative. These were all impossible during a lockdown. Fortunately, brands such as Land Rover had already invested in webAR technology and gave prospective buyers the opportunity to virtually sit in one of their vehicles. All they had to do was visit the URL with AR enabled.

Recruiter Business Cards

This example from Aircards shows how a simple business card with a QR code on it can transform into an exciting video experience. Business cards can only say so much without overloading the reader, but by giving people the option to watch a video in AR, you can say a lot more with the same space.

Excited about WebAR?

Do you believe AR is the way forward? If you think your business could benefit from webAR, reach out to us to discuss your requirements.

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