Last Updated: January 18, 2022
As reported by Tech Crunch, Shopify has acquired the Primer AR startup in an effort to give its users a more immersive shopping experience.
Primer is a platform that utilizes AR (augmented reality) to help designers, brands, and enthusiasts visualize decor changes in a realistic setting. It’s a relatively new company that was founded in 2019 and launched in April 2020. As per the deal, Primer’s eight employees will join Shopify, and the Primer app will shut down on July 10.
By joining forces with Shopify, Primer co-founders Russ Maschmeyer and Adam Debreczeni are set to realize their “founding conviction of building immersive shopping experiences on a massive scale,” allegedly the Primer post continues.
Shopify would provide the massive scale, indeed. According to recent e-commerce statistics, over 2.14 billion people are expected to make online purchases in 2021. Since Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms, Primer’s technology will be given a chance to serve a much larger customer base.
The massive e-commerce company has already dabbled in AR technology to improve their customers’ shopping experience. With their “Product media” feature, using videos, 3D models, or AR, customers can get a sense of the size and quality of a product, as well as how it would fit their space.
Other terms of the deal, such as the acquisition cost, haven’t been disclosed to the public yet.
Is AR the Future of Commerce?
Companies have been trying to implement AR technology into their platforms for years, but it has proven technically challenging to many. However, it seems that some businesses have finally found their footing, as AR has been implemented more often in the past two years.
AR has proven to be especially useful during the pandemic when physical stores were closed. However, even with the pandemic out of the equation, statistics say that 54% of millennials tend to make their purchases online—a number that increases over the holidays, as around 60% of Americans prefer online Christmas shopping, according to holiday spending statistics.
Instead of going to a brick-and-mortar store, an AR-powered virtual closet can be used when shopping at Kohl’s to see how the item fits. A similar tool called “See My Fit” is used by online clothing retailer ASOS to show customers how a product looks in different sizes realistically.
However, AR can sometimes be used just for fun instead of focusing solely on optimization and usefulness. For example, Snapchat introduced its AR-powered “City Painter” feature in October 2020. The feature lets users virtually decorate and spray-paint shops and buildings. It’s also prominently featured in many fun Instagram and Snapchat filters or used in hair salons to see which hair color suits the customer best, as is the case with Amazon Salon.
That said, AR doesn’t always have to serve the customer either—it can be a valuable tool to optimize the behind-the-scenes operation of a company. Walmart, for example, has been using AR technology to enhance inventory control for its online stores.
It’s evident that AR offers a wide variety of uses that can prove helpful to companies with entirely different aims—its versatility is what makes it so popular. According to a research report from Fortune, the AR market size is expected to grow from 2021’s $6.21 billion to $97.76 billion in 2028.