Turn screens into storefronts with immersive shopping — use augmented reality for ecommerce.

Augmented reality is changing the ecommerce customer experience. Check out these tips from Salesforce and Threekit to see how you can connect your customer with immersive shopping experiences.


July 15, 2021

5 min read

Andy Peebler
VP Product GTM, Commerce Cloud at Salesforce

The future has arrived. Now what?

Augmented reality (AR) is driving some of the most innovative shopping experiences right now. This technology gives users the ability to superimpose digital content over a real-world environment, like the mobile game Pokémon Go.

Companies are recognizing the practical uses of AR and have started using it to drive exciting consumer experiences. From social media filters to product preview placement, to virtual try-ons, brands are using AR experiences to give customers fully immersive ecommerce experiences.

And the trend is only growing. Consumer spending surged during the pandemic, and businesses have already started using more AR than ever to enhance their ecommerce. And buyers are loving it.

According to Forbes, seventy-five percent of consumers now expect an AR experience when shopping.

Also, consider these statistics:



of consumers have indicated they favor retail AR experiences



shared they’d shop more frequently if they were able to use AR



would pay more for products they could use AR to customize

Create a social media filter.

Social media filters are the most recognizable AR consumer trend. Brands have tried to emulate them with their own quirky filters to boost customer engagement.

One way you can do this is by using AR to place the product or brand image in the consumer’s environment. For example, Coca-Cola created a filter that showed its mascot dancing in people’s rooms. Taco Bell did something similar by letting users place a giant taco on users’ heads.

Even something as simple as an AR-driven hashtag can go a long way. You can use these to create engaging, consumer-focused campaigns — such as Lifebuoy’s COVID handwashing dance campaign. Companies like Ben & Jerry’s and Sony have made their own AR-driven games in the style of Pokémon Go.

Remember, the best AR experiences put customers at the center.

Use AR to let consumers preview products in their home.

A lot of people prefer to make big purchases like furniture in person. It seems easier to visualize it in their home if they can see it. But what if you could take that recliner from the showroom right to your customer’s living room?

Brands are using AR to make that leap. Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Threekit have partnered to create an app that allows you to scan a room and place it virtually in the space. This kind of customizable shopping experience is expected to drive consumer trends in the future.

“Consumers today expect an individualized experience that connects the product to their specific needs,” says Marc Uible, VP of Marketing at Threekit. “The kind of AR-enhanced offering that Threekit offers helps consumers make this connection and has helped drive sales growth.”

No matter what kind of product you offer, putting a virtual representation of it into your customers’ hands is a convenience that opens up boundless opportunities for connection.

Create enhanced instruction manuals.

Complicated instruction manuals are often the dismal end to a good shopping experience. What if you could send your consumer home with a customer support rep to help them?

Companies have started to use augmented reality to illustrate product set-up to consumers. For example, users struggling to sync a new remote to a TV can scan the device using the AR-powered manual. The manual will then highlight the buttons they need to push in a graphical interface.

You can go a step further and enhance the experience with voice and chat queries to guide them. As more companies use AR to enhance their manual apps, consumers could receive more and better assistance without having to call customer service.

Discover growth challenges and opportunities.

AR is still a new technology with some constraints. It requires time and resources to develop. Look for augmented reality tools that fit your existing platform, instead of trying to create an innovative concept without an infrastructure to grow in.

One way companies are doing this is by looking for ecommerce solutions with an integrated 3D imaging component, like Threekit’s Salesforce solutions. “Threekit’s augmented reality fits seamlessly across the Salesforce Clouds,” says Threekit CEO Matt Gorniak. “Salespeople can convert customers faster, and companies can expect better long-term retention. AR streamlines every step of how customers interact with a business.”

Consumers tend to use the AR experience to form their perception of a brand. It’s important to remember that a shoddy-looking app can turn people off trying out new AR tools and even delay the buyer's journey. Make sure you stay loyal to the identity of your brand with your AR product.

Is AR just a passing trend? Some of today’s biggest tech titans, like Apple CEO Tim Cook, don’t think so. "You rarely have a new technology where business and consumer both see it as key to them ... I think it’s going to pervade your life," he shared in a recent interview.

However, while AR retail usage is expected to grow up to 5% by 2022, it’s only at about one percent right now. This means that now is the time to get ahead of the trend.

“It’s critical for retailers to start planning their AR experience now,” said Kelly Wilson, “using tools that can provide a high-quality customer experience without extensive development pains.”

By using an ecommerce solution with an integrated 3D customization of your products, you can provide consumers the rich customer experience they want, track your data, and connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Learn more about Threekit and Salesforce.



We Looked at Online Shopping Statistics From One Billion Global Shoppers — Here’s What We Found


The 9 Mobile Tools for Excellent Digital Customer Experiences


More Resources


Get timely updates and fresh ideas delivered to your inbox.