Apple Enhances Augmented Reality ‘Quick Look’ Feature for Retailers
Retailers will now be able to sell merchandise directly in Augmented Reality. Apple has expanded the AR Quick Look feature to make it possible for merchants to sell their products in-app, providing users with an instant Augmented Reality experience.
Retailers will bring the 3D model of the product and Apple’s ARKit will do the rest including scaling, shadows and lighting to render the product as it should look via AR. The Augmented Reality shopping tools will not need an app. Instead, they will appear in Safari and then link up to the tools that leverage the camera viewfinder in the Quick Look mode. Many are already using Quick Look in multiple ways.
Apple introduced the Quick Look feature in 2018 which enabled users to superimpose products into their rooms using an iPhone or iPad iOS.
With Qucik Look, users can have an instant one-tap Augmented Reality experience within their existing apps such as Messages, Safari or Mail. They don’t have to download a separate app.
The retailer can provide the 3D model such as in the form of a USDZ and Apple will use the ARKIT to render the model as it should appear in the real-world.
Initially, the Quick Look feature had a very limited functionality: that of simply looking in Augmented Reality.
Apple’s latest update now expands the capabilities of the app concept. For example, developers are now able to slot in a customizable button into the “experience”. This could be a purchase button that instantly triggers the Apple Pay prompt.
The button can also be designed to accomplish many other functions/actions desired by the retailer such as initiating customer support chat to allow the customer to discuss their color options. The button could also direct the user to local brick-and-mortar retailers where they are likely to find the item in stock.
Apple is also building support for spatial audio into Quick Look in its latest developer builds for both iOS and iPad OS. These will add a richer experience into Quick Look by, for example, making the 3D models produce sounds such as bloops or bleeps of a toy or some music from a speaker from the point where these have been virtually placed inside the room. Because this is spatial audio, the sound will shift accordingly as the user moves around the room.
Users can move or scale the virtual content through touch gestures or by sharing the content with other people via the iOS sharing options. In 2018, Apple incorporated the Quick Look browsing feature in Safari.
Apple’s latest update expands the user experience in the built-in Augmented Reality tool and could potentially unlock a lot of opportunities in retail. Augmented reality is showing positive impact in retail. In 2018 Houzz, which has also integrated AR features into its app, stated that users of its Augmented Reality tools were 11 times more likely to purchase the product.
A Build.com survey also found that users who viewed a product through Augmented Reality were 22% less likely to return the product.
From these results, it is clear that using Augmented Reality in mobile purchasing process offers innumerable benefits for retailers. However, the benefits can only be unlocked if the AR tools will be quick, easy to use and with a native feel. If there is some friction in the process or experience, more users will be dropping out along the way and shunning AR in the purchase process or product experience.
The Quick Look update was featured during the WWDC held last year. Some big-name retailers such as Wayfair, Home Depot, 1-800-Flowers and Bang & Olufsen have already began implementing the feature. Retailers using Quick Look are incorporating new customizable buttons to help them sell their merchandise to iPhone users using the new feature.
Should these retailers report improved sales or better ROI from the integration of the AR feature, the technology is likely to pick up like wildfire with other major retailers joining the fray and this could help drive AR technology to the mainstream.
Apple and Google are also working on making Augmented Reality functions more suitable for everyday uses. They introduced the clickable Augmented Reality objects in Google Search. With just the touch of the finger, the user is able to switch to the AR mode. However, this does not provide a way of following the links or buying the products in question directly.