Ecommerce and Augmented Reality: What Are the Best Practices Today?

Ecommerce and Augmented Reality: What Are the Best Practices Today?

FERPECTION, a consultancy specializing in UX studies and research to improve mobile websites and applications, analyzed* several e-commerce websites to learn lessons about what Augmented Reality (AR) can bring to the user experience.

“Thanks to new technologies, augmented reality is able to introduce virtual content into a user’s experience or vision of the real world. The result is a combination of computer-generated elements and real-world data.

In summary, augmented reality extends the real world by dynamically responding to changes in the environment, rather than just showing a virtual dimension.

These augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality (MR) developments are thriving with various applications such as extended reality (XR), immersion in a virtual reality (VR) world, and the interaction and coexistence of real objects and virtual objects within the same Experience.

We even use them in our everyday life, for example with the rear view cameras of our cars.

But for e-merchants, it helps to ask the right questions before starting to develop this type of service:

Does augmented reality add value to the user journey ? Are these features clearly advertised and visible on my website? ?

Are my customers very or not at all familiar with augmented reality? ? Is my service realistic and efficient? ?

So many problems to solve upfront,” comments Thibault Geenen, CEO and Founder of Ferpection.

Augmented Reality in E-Commerce

Although augmented reality is still an emerging technology, it is steadily gaining ground in e-commerce, even more so since the pandemic.

Major trends were already emerging in 2020 (source: Nielsen Norman Group):

– The products that benefit most from augmented reality are essentially related to aesthetic aspects;

– Accuracy and realism are crucial factors;

– Negative experiences from the past strongly influence the user’s view of this technology;

– Users have higher technical expectations when the brand is considered high-end.

The Most Advanced Ecommerce Sectors in Augmented Reality:

1. Furniture and interior decoration;

2. makeup;

3. Fashion and Clothing.

There is therefore great potential for augmented reality in e-commerce, but realism and precision are essential to bring value to users.

Augmented Reality through the prism of user experience

1. Why use AR?

Before getting started with augmented reality, it is essential to ask what added value this technology can bring to the online purchase process of a product compared to other functionalities such as 3D, 360°, trying on models…

2. Warn users

From the outset, users do not expect to use augmented reality features.

It is therefore necessary to make them aware of this possibility during their customer journey. But also to let them know if multiple products can be consulted without leaving the classic path and to avoid presenting augmented reality through pop-ups that are often mechanically blocked or closed.

An essential point is the clear presentation of the “Call to Action” (CTA), i.e. the actions that the user can select on the product lists (PLP) and the product pages (PDP).

The augmented reality option should be close to the product image and clearly labeled with clear images and explanations.

3. Create optimal interfaces

Familiarity with augmented reality technology is still quite low.

Therefore, it is important to remain as simple as possible by using clear functions: a smooth transition to augmented reality (e.g. fade in the background), offer contextual help by involving the user, explain the required permissions, show practical and quick advice, without overloading, opt for visual cues, animation, and illustrations as much as possible.

It is important to anticipate as many technical difficulties as possible in order to optimize error management and immediately suggest alternative options.

It is important to consider the usage environment (private vs. public places) to help customers understand light or distance limitations and ensure user safety.

In augmented reality, users tend to be very focused.

This means choosing a clean user interface, displaying important elements in prominent and accessible places, using well-known interaction patterns (colors, buttons, gestures, icons), limiting the inputs required, and allowing the experience to reset or exit smoothly.

UX analysis and feedback from 3 e-commerce players


In the Atol application, accessing augmented reality from the list page and the product page is simplified.

The CTA is clearly visible on the product sheet, but the icon used is often misinterpreted by customers and the authorization message is a bit long and has little chance of being actually read and understood by users.

They are likely to abandon the experiment when they encounter a problem without getting help.


Alain Afflelou’s website offers two uses of virtual reality: on the one hand, individual use from the product sheet and, on the other hand, as part of an online appointment with the hairdresser.

Some users confuse the two options. It would therefore be interesting to work on the way these services are presented and explained.

The appointment with the optician that is too advanced often discourages the user from trying on the glasses virtually alone. Despite this, the virtual reality service is simple and clear, and the majority of users are satisfied with the closeness to reality.


In this example, the virtual makeup try on feature on Ulta is not easy to find and also has some usability issues including product switching.

Users also testify to loading times being perceived as too long…


The tests were carried out in April 2022 with the help of 31 men and women on mobile devices and s2 on PCs in France, Great Britain and Canada.

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