Enhancing Augmented Reality with Audio: When and why it boosts online purchase intention
Multisensory AR environment
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AbstractAugmented reality (AR) can be considered an appealing tool for product evaluation in an online shopping context where the product is unavailable. Although this technology provides a tangible environment for product evaluation, it is mainly based on the visual aspect of product presentation. Vision is a dominant sense, and humans mostly rely on sight to comprehend an event. Nevertheless, it is only from a combination of senses that one can gain an extensive understanding of it. Auditory sensory is the second crucial human sense. The literature documenting AR's impact on customers' decision-making and behavioural intentions has overlooked the role of audio in this environment. This study investigates the role of audio through product sounds in an AR experience, and by using active inference theory, it demonstrates how enhancing AR environments with sound can influence behavioural intentions in customers. Moreover, it presents two important auditory factors (i.e., sound pleasantness and sound controllability), each of which can have impactful roles in different online shopping steps. Using data obtained from the Zappar AR platform, this research examines two products with their related sounds to demonstrate the performance of multisensory AR experience on behavioural intentions of customers who use AR apps for shopping online. The results indicate that enhancing AR with sound has both direct and indirect influence on behavioural intentions of the customers, through customer engagement and decision comfort. Additionally, we show the moderating role of sound controllability on the relationship between audio-enhanced AR and customer engagement.
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