E-commerce welcomes augmented reality

•Industries such as sport, architecture, medicine and fashion are already investing in this technology, which dramatically boosts sales

If there is one emerging technology poised to have a large impact on business in general, and on e-commerce in particular, in the coming years, it is augmented reality. Augmented reality consists of combining the real and virtual worlds by means of a computer process that makes it possible to see 3D models in real time with different degrees of immersion, and to create all types of interactive experiences, from 3D sales catalogues to virtual changing rooms or interior design. 'Just a few years ago, this technology was very expensive, but today, thanks to the democratization of access to tools and open-source, it is much more affordable and is advancing at great speed', explained Francis Casado, lecturer in mobile applications and services at Pompeu Fabra University and founding partner of Mobila Media Content, a company specializing in the release of 3D and virtual reality applications on the market, whose benchmark product is Ticketing3D. 


Companies see augmented reality as a way of differentiating themselves from the competition by offering users the chance to access stunning visual experiences, but that’s not all. The main advantage of augmented reality is that it allows users to try things out and quickly see the result, which appeals to their emotions and reduces the time needed for purchase decisions and the rate of return, especially with regard to online sales. The sport and leisure industries, particularly football stadiums and theatres, have already incorporated it. Other industries, such as architecture and fashion, are also working on it. Imagine showing a client what her redesigned office will look like in real time, making any changes she might want on the spot, or offering clients the chance to see what a new house might look like on their first tour, using 3D images to add furniture and a swimming pool, or even letting them use a virtual changing room to see how they would look in a new dress', added Susana Domingo from the UPF Business Shuttle Innovation Unit.