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What is Augmented Reality?

There are a lot of ways to shop. Retail locations, ecommerce, social shopping, even digital window shopping is a common activity today. But one shopping tool is poised and ready to change the way that many people shop, both in physical locations and online. That tool is augmented reality. 


What Is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is an interactive experience in which users can view and engage with a computer generated object in their current real world environment. Augmented reality has been around for a number of years and has seen many applications, but one of the most visible and popularly known applications is Pokemon Go!.

Launched in 2016, Pokemon Go! was many users’ first time experiencing augmented reality, and showed how easy (and addicting) it was for people of all ages and technical abilities to take advantage of the possibilities AR offers. In contrast to virtual reality, where a user is transported to a digitally simulated environment using a headset, AR allows elements to be added to a user’s surrounding environment with a variety of devices, most commonly the smartphone that lives in their pocket! This flexibility in devices makes AR experiences highly accessible, portable, and ready to be deployed in a variety of settings. 


what can augmented reality do?


How Can Augmented Reality Be Used?

Augmented reality is still considered a new technology, but it has seen immense growth in the last several years. Some of the most common uses for AR include:

  • Gaming
  • Social Media 
  • Training & Education
  • Interior Design
  • Retail
  • Advertising

Gaming and social media dominate US users' adoption of AR, with 86% and 41% of the population having exposure to each in 2021, but categories such as product visualization and visual search are quickly gaining ground. Training and education are also expected to be large adopters of AR, with estimates for the value of AR in EdTech surpassing $5.3 billion by 2023.  A study from Futurum Research even found that 63% of respondents would be wiling to use AR and VR to visit remote locations. 

As more consumer devices are enabled with AR capabilities, the adoption and interest in AR by consumers opens the door for marketers to leverage this technology for more engaging forms of advertising. Several brands, including Nike, Wal-Mart, and even luxury brands such as Gucci have already experimented with AR in advertising  and seen strong engagement by new and existing customers. In addition to digital AR advertising, such as that deployed by Kohl's and American Eagle within Snapchat, brands have the opportunity to use AR for in store and out of home activations. 

AR for eCommerce Examples

How Can Augmented Reality Be Used in eCommerce?

While AR has seen much of its commercial success in gaming and social media, retailers have caught up in capitalizing on the value of augmented reality as an experience tool . Warby Parker, Target, Amazon, and IKEA are just a few of the big names adding AR to their digital shopping experiences. The brands are not the only ones interested in leveraging AR technology, Pinterest and Facebook have entered the game with virtual make-up and apparel trials, while Snapchat has been a leader in AR since launching Lenses in 2015.  

What can AR be used for in ecommerce

In addition to adding the wow factor to an ecommerce experience,  augmented reality is a valuable shopping tool for buyers as they compare options and discover products online. The convenience of online shopping means that they can shop anywhere, but that often comes at the cost of having a clear picture of what the product actually looks like, or how it will fit their needs. With augmented reality, shoppers get an up close and personal look at the product at scale, allowing them to explore, evaluate, and decide on a purchase similarly to how they work at a physical retailer. Particularly for big ticket items, AR provides an easy solution to the ever present question of, “how will this look?”. DTC furniture has exploded in popularity over the last few years, but when there isn’t a showroom to see the pieces in person, building buyer confidence can be a hurdle (and no one wants to deal with returning a couch).

Online retailer Wayfair has rolled out AR shopping tools for a wide variety of their products with their View in Room functionality. Instead of trying to imagine if that sideboard will fit in the dining room or if that chair will totally clash with the couch, buyers are able to view their selections in the exact spot in which they would want to place them. This makes for a better buying experience for the shopper, and less headaches from returns for sellers. 

Using Augmented Reality & Product Visualization

Augmented reality can be deployed as a stand alone feature, but it is often more impactful when paired with a product visualization or configuration experience. With product visualization, shoppers can explore and evaluate products in much the same way as they would in store, appreciating the details and features that make it the perfect fit for their needs. 3D configuration software allows buyers to customize and tailor a product using the options offered by the brand, whether that be colors, materials, or added features. By adding augmented reality to these interactive experiences, brands encourage further engagement with the product, complete the visual buyers’ journey, and drive higher conversion rates with buyers who are fully confident in the product that they are purchasing. 

augmented reality in ecommerce

How Do I Add Augmented Reality to My Website? 

Adding augmented reality to your website will undoubtedly add value to your ecommerce efforts, but many brands are unsure of where to start. There are many ways that an AR experience can be built, but the most efficient and scalable approach is to work with a product visualization software. 

Before adding augmented reality to a website, owners should consider the following:

  • What products do I want to use AR for?
  • Are the majority of my customers mobile or desktop?
    • If they are on desktop, what technology will I use to launch AR?
  • Do I have 3D models ready for my products?
  • Does my website provider support an AR integration?

To add AR to your website, you will first need 3D models of your products to be rendered. If you do not already have product models available, ATLATL's in house art team can work with you to create high fidelity renderings that provide your customers with an up close and accurate view of your products. 


Since ATLATL is a web based AR platform, users shopping on either mobile or desktop are able to access the experience. Mobile users will access AR using the native function on their device, while desktop users will have to scan an activation token, often a QR code, to bring the AR experience up on their device. ATLATL Visual is also designed to integrate with all major ecommerce platforms, including Shopify, Salesforce, Magento, WooCommerce, and Oracle, allowing you to easily add AR to your ecommerce site. 



ar ecommerce tools

ATLATL makes bringing your products to life online easy with our 3D visualization software and seamless integration process. Whether your team has already entered 3D with product models or you are starting from scratch, our team is equipped to quickly and efficiently set you up for success in creating a visual buyers’ journey. 

Head over to our demo library to check out the latest in 3D and AR capabilities, and get in touch with one of our visual experts to get started. 

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