The quiet launch of the AR app by Amazon indicates that the e-commerce giant may be going to test the new technologies before rolling it out during the holiday shopping season with higher fanfare.
The virtual environments will thrill users with festive events and hold them for longer periods in the Amazon ecosystem. The scannable box experiment will set the stage for potential AR technology applications, such as immersive animations that include offers , discounts and promotions for the growing line of services and private-label goods from Amazon. Such functionality will better turn the packaging of the retailer into an entertaining brand experience.
In recent years, Amazon has steadily introduced several AR features for shoppers, including the latest inclusion of a feature to its “room decorator” tool that allows customers to digitally style an area with Amazon and its third-party sellers’ furniture pieces. On mobile and desktop devices, the tool is available, helping customers display product reviews and add products to a shopping cart without exiting the AR experience.
In 2018, Amazon upgraded its Android app with an “AR view” that allows users, several months after introducing the feature to its iOS app, to imagine the design and fit of home furnishing items. TechCrunch reported that the company also tested shoppable stickers that allow app users to place digital stickers of home furnishings over a living space rather than more realistic renditions of the products.
Product displays by retailers have been considered among the most successful AR technology applications. But, according to International Data Corp. (IDC), the pandemic has dampened investment in AR activations by brick-and-mortar retailers. In July, the researcher said that AR still demonstrates long-term commitment as retailers broaden digital sales efforts to connect with customers who are ignoring stores and can use AR tools in a contactless environment to virtually sample products.
As Amazon unofficially releases this year’s holiday shopping season with its annual Prime Day shopping even with the new AR-activated packaging. The company introduced Prime Day in 2015 to drum up sales, but the pandemic led to a spike in e-commerce activity this year that challenged the limits of supply chains worldwide. If previous trends are any indicator, then many customers skip stores and look to get an early start on their holiday gift shopping. Therefore, Prime Day expects to smash company sales records.