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Augmented reality shopify

How to Add Augmented Reality to a Shopify Store

By
Rosie Greaves

Augmented reality (AR), a term that may still sound futuristic to many, has actually been around for quite some time. 

For the uninitiated, AR overlays digital info onto the real world, enhancing our perception of the products we want to buy online.

While the idea of embracing cutting-edge eCommerce trends like augmented reality may seem daunting, it's actually a pretty practical and achievable goal. 

Interestingly, AR is predicted to take the eCommerce world by storm, and the stats bear this out:

The bottom line: If you want your Shopify store to stay ahead of the curve, now's the time to embrace augmented reality.

If you don't know where to begin with adding AR to your Shopify store, don't worry. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the process step-by-step so that you'll better understand how to leverage this technology to your advantage by the end of this article. 

There's lots to cover, so let's dive in!

What's Shopify Augmented Reality (AR)?

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this blog post, we want to ensure we're all on the same page about what augmented reality is and how it impacts eCommerce, in particular, Shopify stores.  

In short, AR enhances or 'augments' the real world by inserting real-time digital content into real-life environments. 

This allows your online customers to virtually 'try on' your items or 'see how products look in their homes.' 

Needless to say, this provides a more immersive product experience that bridges the gap between online shopping (where you can't handle/see the product) and physical stores (where the product is tangible), enabling shoppers to make more educated purchasing decisions.   

The Advantages of Leveraging AR for Your Shopify Store

There are several benefits to adding AR to your Shopify store; let's explore these in more detail:

Boost Sales and Reduce Returns

How often have you bought clothes online, thinking they look great in the product pictures, only to try them on and realize they look terrible? It's frustrating, right? 

So much so that 27% of consumers won't buy clothes because of sizing reasons. 

That said, one of the biggest obstacles facing eCommerce merchants is that online shopping doesn't provide a tactile, sensory product experience. For example, you can't try things on, feel the materials, or visualize the size of an item.  

While AR doesn't provide the same experience as a brick-and-mortar store, it certainly provides the next best thing. 

Whether you're selling clothes, sunglasses, shoes, jewelry, etc., Or perhaps you're marketing furniture and want customers to be able to see what the piece will look like in their home. In either instance, AR allows customers to see your products in situ. 

This goes a long way toward giving customers a deeper, more realistic understanding of the products they're purchasing.

The knock-on effect? This positively impacts sales and return rates. 

In fact, Shopify says that products with 3D/AR content showed a 94% higher conversion rate than those without it, and roughly two-thirds of shoppers who used AR were less likely to return their purchase.

Amplify Engagement

As mentioned, AR isn't just a technological tool, it's an interactive experience. The more your customers engage with the interactive elements of your Shopify store, the longer they'll stay, and the more they'll connect with your brand.

Not only is this great for SEO, but it also increases the likelihood of customers developing a relationship with your brand, ergo boosting brand recognition. 

Ulta is an excellent example of an eCommerce store using AR to boost engagement. Since integrating its virtual try-on feature, their engagement has surged by 700%. This demonstrates the potential of AR to transform the online shopping experience and boost engagement.

How AR Can Be Used on Your Shopify Store

There are two main ways to use AR to enhance your customer's experience. We've mentioned them both above, but for clarity, we'll quickly outline them below:

Virtual Try-ons

You can use AR to let shoppers overlay digital mock-ups of your clothing, accessories, shoes, etc., directly onto their bodies/avatars in real-time. 

Well-known brands like Ray-Ban, Nike, and Amazon have all started to offer virtual shopping experiences like this. 

AR example

See Products In Your Home

Like virtual try-ons, AR enables customers to 'see' how a product looks in their homes, giving them a more authentic sense of its size, scale, and detailing. 

Companies like IKEA have adopted AR in this capacity. I.e., customers are able to see how products fit directly in their homes and then purchase these items in-app.

How to Add AR to Your Shopify Store

Now we've explored AR's benefits and potential use cases for your eCommerce website, let's get into the nitty-gritty of how to add AR to your Shopify store. 

Shopify offers its own AR tool that lets customers overlay augmented images, videos, and 3D product models onto their live surroundings. 

But first things first: To operate AR on your Shopify store, you need to use a theme compatible with video and 3D model display.

3D Shopify themes include:

(Shopify's in-built AR functionality is the same for all the above themes.)

Shopify AR-compatible theme

You then need a 3D model of your product (a GLTF or GLB file) to provide customers with an AR-fuelled product experience. 

Pro Tip: If you don't know how to create 3D models of your products, we recommend outsourcing this job to a Shopify 3D artist. You can find plenty of freelancers on Fiverr or Upwork who can do this. 

Just make sure you brief your freelancer on Shopify's requirements:

  • As mentioned, it must be a GLTF or GLB file (below 15 MB). 
  • The textures must use .jpeg files
  • The image's resolution must be below three megapixels. 

Alternatively, you can scan your own products to create 3D models inside the Shopify app using the Shopify 3D scanner. 

Please note: You'll need a compatible iPhone or iPad device to do this. 

It's also worth highlighting that 3D models and videos can't be used for product variant media.

How to Scan Your Products

Scanning a product to create a 3D model typically takes between 10 and 15 minutes, so allow yourself enough time to complete this task before you start. 

Shopify's 3D scanner requires three separate scans to create a model, including each side of the product and scans from a high to a low angle.

To start taking these scans, follow the steps below:

  1. Log into your Shopify Admin
  2. Click 'Products' on the left-side menu.
  3. Tap the product you want to scan (or create a new product).
  4. Navigate to 'Media' and select 'Add images, videos, or 3D models'.
  5. Select '3D scanner'.
  6. Follow the prompts to scan your product.
  7. When you're done, hit 'Continue.' 
  8. This spurs the creation of your 3D model. You'll need to keep the Shopify app open until the 3D model is fully processed.
  9. Select 'Add to product' 
  10. Hit 'Save' to upload the 3D model to your product’s media.

How to Add Your Own 3D Model to a Shopify Product Page

Suppose you already have a 3D model of your product ready to go. In that case, you can add this directly to a Shopify product page.

To do this, follow the instructions below:

  1. Head to your Shopify Admin
  2. Create a new product by selecting 'Products' from the left-hand menu and then clicking 'Add Product.'
  3. Add a product title and description
  4. Change the product status from 'Draft' to 'Active' from the right-hand dropdown menu.
  5. Upload your GLTF or GLB file in the 'Media' box.
Shopify backend
  1. Scroll down and set your product's price
  2. Click 'Save' in the top right corner. 

You can now open the product by clicking the 'Preview' button. You should be able to see your 3D model on your product page. 

If you're using a desktop, there should be a button in the center of your product. When you click this, the Shopify 3D model viewer should spring into action, allowing you to zoom in and out and rotate your 3D product.

Alternatively, if you're using a smartphone, under the 3D model, there should be a button that says 'View in your space.' 

If you click that, the model viewer's AR feature should launch, prompting you to scan your environment. The 3D model of your product should then appear, allowing you to see what the product looks like in your space. 

What if You Want to Add AR to Your Shopify Store, but You’re Using a Theme That Doesn’t Support 3D Models?

If your current Shopify theme doesn't support 3D models and you don't want to switch themes, there are a couple of things you can do:

Firstly, if you have the coding smarts (or the budget for a web developer), you can modify your current theme to facilitate 3D AR models on your site. 

Alternatively, use a plugin to add this functionality to your store, for example:

  • Angle 3D Configurator ‑ 3D & AR: This plugin is compatible with online store 2.0 and older themes and allows you to offer customers an AR experience (viewing 3D products in their own space).
  • Arty ‑ 3D model viewer: This Shopify AR app lets customers view AR-fuelled 3D models by scanning a QR code. 
Shopify AR plugin

What About Virtual Try-Ons?

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Shopify doesn't offer an in-built virtual try-on feature. 

However, several plugins make this possible; we've listed a few options for various use cases below:

  • For Apparel: PICTOFiT Virtual Try‑On: This app provides everything you need to offer customers an immersive virtual dressing room experience. Shoppers can even mix and match your products to create outfits.
  • For Glasses: Fittingbox: This app facilitates a way for customers to 'try' glasses on in real-time before they buy them.
  • For Jewelry: MirrAR: This app harnesses the power of AR to enable customers to try on your jewelry virtually in real time. Users can also try on your designs side by side to enhance their shopping experience.
  • For Shoes: Kivisense: Again, this app allows your shoppers to try on footwear virtually in real time. From the convenience of their smartphones, they 'enter' a hyper-realistic virtual environment to 'try shoes on' before buying them. Consumers just click the 'try on' button and scan a QR code to experience your footwear via their mobile browser.
Kivisense plugin

Shopify AR Examples to Inspire You

Let’s condense everything we’ve learned by looking at a few examples of augmented reality in Shopify stores

We’ve deliberately selected stores specializing in different niches to showcase just how versatile AR is:

Pure Cycles

The company Pure Cycles was one of the first to adopt Shopify AR. As you may have guessed, Pure Cycles sells bikes. You don’t need us to tell you that bikes have many components, so Pure Cycle’s products lend themselves nicely to AR. 

Thanks to this technology, you can thoroughly assess the different parts of the bike, almost like you would in a brick-and-mortar shop, but all from the convenience of your smartphone!

HORNE

HORNE was another one of the first to utilize Shopify AR to showcase its array of premium home decor. 

Shoppers can use AR to see how HORNE’s furniture looks in their homes, allowing customers to buy confidently with the knowledge that they love the product! 

Biolite

Outdoors lovers might have stumbled across Biolite, a company specializing in cutting-edge camping gear that can emit heat, light, and electricity even without a power outlet! 

Biolite empowers customers to use AR to examine products in the different contexts they might be used, for example, forests, mountain ranges, or even your garden.

Are You Ready to Add AR to Your Shopify Store?

We hope this guide sheds some light on what AR in eCommerce is, its benefits, and how you can harness it for your Shopify store.

If you're seeking guidance and inspiration on utilizing AR to the fullest, check out the real-life case studies highlighted above. These examples give a better sense of just how much of an impact AR can have on your eCommerce business. 

That's all from us, over to you. Are you going to add AR to your Shopify store? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below!

AR Shopify: Your Frequently Asked Questions

We hope this guide has provided enough information to help you add AR to your Shopify store. 

But, before we bring this blog post to a close, we'll quickly answer a few of the most frequently asked related questions:

Is Shopify In The Metaverse?

Shopify users can leverage the Metaverse in several ways, most notably showcasing virtual tours of their products and enabling people to 'try' on products by dressing their avatars. 

Does Shopify Support AR?

Yes, Shopify supports AR. It provides its own AR tool. Aside from that, you can install and use plugins to extend Shopify's AR functionality (a few examples of which are listed above)

How Does AR Affect Online Shopping?

As mentioned above, AR significantly enhances your customer's online shopping experience, increases engagement, and reduces purchase uncertainty, which should translate into increased sales.

What Are the Four Types of AR?

AR can be broadly categorized into four types: 

  1. Marker-based AR
  2. Markerless AR (Location-based AR)
  3. Projection-based AR
  4. Superimposition-based AR

Shopify has a handy blog post breaking down each of these AR types. 

How Does AR Impact Marketing?

How AR impacts marketing could be a blog post in and of itself, so for now, we'll briefly list a few of the ways AR impacts marketing:

  • Enhanced product visualization
  • Interactive advertising
  • Virtual try-ons 
  • Gamification
  • Social media engagement via AR filters

What Are the Disadvantages of AR in eCommerce?

One of the main drawbacks of using AR in eCommerce is that creating high-quality 3D models for AR content can be time-consuming, especially if you have a vast product catalog.

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Rosie Greaves

Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist specializing in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. In addition to Spocket, you can find her published on Reader's Digest, E-commerce Platforms, and Judicious Inc. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.


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