November 7, 2017
There is no doubt that we love our technology and that includes almost everything that is new. Augmented reality is the wave of today and companies like Gadget Flow, IKEA and Overstock just started using Apple ARkit this quarter to entice buyers to their market. Apple ARKit is the smartphone giant’s latest, public foray into augmented reality. Apple’s answer to Google’s Tango, both platforms integrate with apps and websites to enable the dynamism of flips, twists and turns offered by augmented reality. One of e-commerce’s early ARKit adopters, Gadget Flow, revealed in an email interview that it has early, anecdotal data on ARKit’s performance and implementation. The augmented reality technology combines the features of the Gadget Flow platform with the Apple ARKit, offering viewers a 3D rendition of the products in the user’s environment prior to purchase.
Digital retailer, Gadget Flow set out to develop a strategy to set itself apart from traditional e-tailers, pushing the site’s total reach to over 25 million viewers per month, according to CEO Evan Varsamis. The creation of their online shopping platform has transformed the consumer interaction process as Gadget Flow focused on giving customers what they wanted the most: “insane value” combined with a fast and easy process of discovering tech products. What is astounding is that their approach to forgo the usual methods is completely unheard of in today’s path to hyper growth.
Gadget Flow recognized that there is about an eight-second attention span for today’s online shoppers. It translates to the requirement of making comparison shopping both fast and easy while offering absolute consistency that people can count on. Unlike big-name product review competition such as Gizmodo, PC Magazine and Engadget, Gadget Flow appealed to what the viewers want in the time span that they demand. Once they incorporated live videos for product reviews and interactive questions/answers as part of their features, they had a winning formula. Making use of partners as well as online contests for voting for best products gives their viewers the ability to interact in a personal way. This is significant in the often cold virtual world and customer engagement has been a major contributor to their success.
The important thing to note about Gadget Flow is that they don’t make any money on the products. Did you just read that correctly? Yes, and this is part of their integral philosophy and their customers love it. Once a viewer is interested, the platform links them to such notables as Etsy, Amazon, Kickstarter, Indiegogo and hundreds of additional marketplace e-commerce sites that represent over 12,000 products. This is yet another area that differentiates them from the norm. The company also maintains a streamlined team ensuring that each member is the right fit. This philosophy is combined with a relentless focus on value-add for their users through simple, fast and consistent formatting for products and articles. This is the recipe that has made Gadget Flow a success and for anyone in marketing, it is also a reach back to a customer-concentric era. They comply with their mantra: “we curate cool products.”
Does AR really boost e-commerce sales?
In 7 Predictions for the Future of Augmented Reality, we emphasized how augmented reality will change our world: “AR will let consumers try on, experiment with and visualize the items they’re considering for purchase in an entirely new way, by merging the experience of shopping in a brick-and-mortar store with the convenience of shopping online.” As a result of ARkit implementation, early stats are also in on e-commerce using AR. Gadget Flow CEO, Evan Varsamis said that “people are staying 200% more on each product listing on average when there is AR/VR/3D content on the listing.” The goal of Gadget Flow is to bring that fine blend of viewer pleasure combined with products that they want and Gadget Flow AR is appealing to their growing audience.
Varsamis made note of this next layer of success by saying “based off of a first month of solid data, some gadgets convert 20% more, and others 50%, depending on the gadget.” Given the insight that Gadget Flow has tapped into, we can extrapolate that they will continue to lead the way in innovative online shopping; and we can’t seem to get enough.
What shoppers think
The case for businesses to leverage ARKit and other AR technologies is clear if they want to increase interactivity, engagement, and sales. But stores are only one part of the equation. How has AR changed the experience for the shopper? Before the iOS 11 update releasing ARKit into the wild, shoppers were discovering and comparing products in a mostly traditional fashion with the exception of Gadget Flow’s curated marketplace. High-quality images of products and photos displaying the product in multiple angles showed aesthetics and dimensions. Now with AR, those same shoppers are able to visualize the exact product in size, color, and texture augmented in their environment. Curious how that smart LED lamp might look on your nightstand? Maybe it was too big or too small for the surface or the base just didn’t look right next to your USB charging hub also on the nightstand. Shoppers can avoid the extra steps of returning and repurchasing products that didn’t fit or didn’t look like they did on the website. For now, these features are being championed by Gadget Flow but we will see legacy players like Overstock enter the arena, next.
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