0aaaVince Cacace Vertebrae

Content is king — and as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. A recent report showed nearly two-thirds of B2C marketers increased their investment in visual content in 2018. More than half (52%) used it to generate sales and 63% to build loyalty with existing customers.

Yet as brands generate more content — from photos to videos — they face a new challenge: they must focus their investments on the experiences that drive purchasing and offer differentiation in a crowded field of rich media.

“Immersive commerce” — which includes augmented reality (AR) and manipulable 3D product models embedded on the product page — fits the bill on both counts. This enhanced commerce enables consumers to place product models in real-life environments and manipulate product views, supplying the context that’s vital to creating relevant, engaging experiences that fuel buyers’ confidence to drive conversions and lower product returns.

A recent Vertebrae study measuring the emotional impact of visual content found that AR was 2.6 times more engaging than static images, and 2.1 times more engaging than video. A separate consumer survey conducted by Vertebrae showed that 78% of people who’ve experienced AR actively prefer these virtual experiences over video content.

With a strong preference for AR and 3D over 2D formats — and a growing preference for visual content overall — 2019 is the year that retailers must go beyond pretty pictures and videos. Here is why:

AR Today Is A Tool, Not A Toy

Shoppers want to know how products relate to them personally, and AR e-Commerce tools that overlay three-dimensional product models in real-world environments help shoppers gauge fit, match colors and styles, and design physical spaces better than any array of photos. This combination of interactivity and…