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State-of-Art Augmented Reality in Fashion Retail.

By: Amit Tawar Amit Tawar
12 Jul, 2022

The #1 factor that drives sales in physical stores and e-commerce is convenience. Shoppers expect and demand businesses to design novel ways to bring certainty to them. Post-Covid 19, safety and hygiene have become crucial considerations. Consequently, the changing consumer behavior has almost forced the use of augmented reality in fashion. The creative brands are manufacturing interactive and immersive experiences to hold the attention of millennials and Gen Z.

If done right, AR can deliver convenience, which is impossible with static images and text. They can better assess the product quality, space inside them, size, and how it will look on them or alongside other items. Fashion brands are not stopping here. They are experimenting with gamifying the shopping experience to include friends over social media.

Undoubtedly, luxury brands are always the first when exploring the potential of any new mass consumer technology. And this time, too, they are ready to spend lavishly to delight their customers. In this blog, we will see AR’s benefits and examples of luxury brands leveraging it.

But before that

How is AR different from VR?

Augmented reality and virtual reality are often used in conjunction. Both these technologies are similar in so far as the generation of 3d models is superimposed upon reality. Also, the experiences incorporate auditory, olfactory, and touch sensations through haptic technology besides visual modality. What they differ is in the depth of immersive experience and hardware.
AR technology adds a layer of virtual interactivity to natural surroundings. It doesn’t isolate a person from the real environment around itself. Any AR system consists of three basic principles:

  • Enhancing the perception of reality.
  • Generation of 3D models.
  • Users are able to interact with digital objects and receive feedback.

On the other hand, virtual reality provides a fully immersive experience with special VR headsets. A person interacts with the computer-generated virtual world similar to the real world or altogether imagined fantasy world. One spectacular example I can think of is Travis Scott’s virtual concert inside Fortnite. However, its reach is not widespread as AR because of hardware constraints and being expensive to develop.

The credit for the popularity of AR technology goes to WebAR – Web-based Augmented Reality and the requirement of non-specialized hardware. Prior to it, AR could only be experienced through explicitly downloading an app. Developers had to maintain complex code for the platform-specific AR experiences. But with WebAR, consumers don’t need to download third-party apps. The AR is nativized to be accessed via native applications and mobile browsers. Designers and marketers could now scale AR technology with less friction. Furthermore, COVID-19 altered consumer behavior and forced businesses to look for novel ways to engage customers.

Benefits of Augmented reality in fashion:

Consumers experiment with more brands, products, and expensive items.

Harvard Business Review research published in the journal of marketing proves that fashion brands will significantly benefit from adopting AR technology. Interestingly, the report concludes less famous brands and high-end products’ reach increased when people used AR for product sampling.

When provided an AR interface, customers spend 50% more time at the product sampling. Also, checked 7.5 times more products of different brands compared with non-AR sampling at physical stores.

Because augmented reality renders convenience and saves time over physical testing, consumers are willing to experiment with a wide range of variations among different brands. Consequently, lesser-known brands or new brands get an even share of discoverability.

More confident decisions led to an increase in revenue.

Shoppers need to have a certain level of confidence before making a purchase. In the eCommerce stores, where they cannot properly interact and visualize usage context, augmented reality is the means to bridge the gap. It can facilitate crafting a pleasant customer journey – from being uncertain about a product or brand to knowing how a particular item will look on them, its texture or how can they use it with some other product, etc.

Virtual try-on and virtual showroom bring about a positive customer journey. It then leads to higher engagement with products. As a result, businesses experience more revenue and less returned items.

CB2, furniture and decor brand using 3D and AR, witnessed 21% more revenue. Likewise, Shopify found that the products featuring 3D and AR content had 90% higher conversion rates.

Engage shoppers in more immersive and memorable experiences

Humans from the dawn of civilization have shared knowledge through stories. Undoubtedly, it is a powerful tool for customer engagement. Marketers and designers can creatively use AR and VR to create memorable campaigns, engage customers and deliver emotional stories.

The effective usage of space, motion, and haptic feedback in augmented reality can enrich the customer experience. Ikea’s place app makes use of surface detection and depth technology to place furniture with accurate 3d representation. Likewise, Warby Parker’s AR experience utilizes motion detection, allowing online shoppers to view product angles when they move their heads. To create a near-perfect illusion of real objects, AR technology uses lighting, shadows, texture, and sound effects.

In the future, the rise of wearables like smart glasses will make AR and VR technology more ubiquitous, immersive, and exciting. The AR experts predict that with AR technology’s maturing, virtual shopping experiences will be made gamified, wherein friends could shop together in virtual showrooms.

Novelty in advertising

Advertising is all about capturing and holding the attention of your target audience. Over the years, many of us have become adept at neglecting the ads, mainly over the web, simply because there are too many with little value. The challenge for advertisers then is to create novelty. You, I, and almost everyone out there crave novelty.

With augmented reality, any static surface, large or small can be converted into an interactive ad display. For example-BON V!V Spiked Seltzer placed AR markers for out-of-home advertising all around Los Angeles and San Diago. People could scan the QR code and begin the AR experience. They could interact with a virtual vending machine and check-on different flavors. Moreover, they were given directions to the nearest physical shop or a link for ordering online.

Snapchat found that 93% of its users view AR filters as useful and fun for shopping, and 170 million users engage with its AR filters almost 3o times a day.

Luxury brands are partnering with tech giants like Google, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, etc, to promote their products through virtual try-on and AR filters. Ulta Beauty created a digital catalog for virtual try-on on Snapchat. Likewise, the collaboration of Google, ModiFace, and Perfect Corp enables people to try various lipstick and eyeshadow shades for their skin tone and other beauty products of Loreal, MAC cosmetics, Black Opal, and Charlotte Tilbury directly from Google shopping.

Grabbing the attention of Millenials

Millennials and Gen Z’s demand for seamless online shopping is rising after Covid. Also, millennials are the most tech-savvy and cautious of privacy and sustainability. Their demand for convenience and a fast shopping experience keeps designers and marketers on their toes. A study by Appnovation to gain consumer insights after a pandemic showed that 4 in 5 respondents expected brands to embrace effective digital technologies to serve them better.

Appnovation post covid expectations

For the fashion industry, augmented reality and virtual reality are ways to enrich the digital world and bring freshness to physical stores.

Enhance the omnichannel strategy

Omnichannel, personalized messaging, and headless commerce are the trends in e-commerce. Businesses adopting these strategies are reaping high rewards. How does augmented reality fit here?

Fashion retailers can place magic mirrors or smart mirrors that can add depth and convenience to the retail experience. Shoppers can virtually try on clothes, jewelry, shoes, and other beauty products with less interaction. When customers are indecisive and wish to delay the purchase, your brand can hand them a booklet or poster with AR markers. This way, they can interact with the 3D model of the product later and may get convinced of its value. Customers expect and admire when fashion brands put in hard work and are unobtrusive in their marketing efforts.

Omnisend data on omnichannel strategy

 

On top of that, these brands can offer navigation to their showroom through AR while a person is not physically there. Shoppers can see the whole range of product catalogs from their phones and decide to visit the store or not.

Luxury brands that are playing with Augmented reality

Burberry

The UK luxury brand had already collaborated with Snapchat and Google to provide AR experiences globally. Burberry, in 2020 embedded an AR tool in the google search. If you search Burberry TB bag or Arthur check sneaker on mobile, you will see an option to view them in 3D. This feature is currently available in the UK and US only. People can see how the products look by placing them with other objects. This way, the company emulated the in-shop experience and recorded better engagements on the web.

Seeing the tangible benefits of AR, the company launched an AR tool on its website. The tool is designed using Snapchat’s AR technology developed by Vertebrae-owned by Snap Inc. The tool provides a 360-degree and inside view of all the products on 60 Lola product pages. As you would expect, you can place it alongside other objects like your dresses to create more in-store shopping experiences.

NYX

An American cosmetic company whose parent company is Loreal. They brand themselves as a digital-first beauty brand looking to delight its customers. Like Burberry, they have used Snapchat AR filters to engage and build customer loyalty. Their augmented reality digital strategy includes virtual try-on, gamification, and the metaverse. You can try lipsticks, eyeliners, lip gloss, mascaras, blushes, bronzers, and even complete new looks on the NYX website.

The company has recently launched an AR-powered virtual makeup artist-MYAIA-that gives professional makeup consultation to a young audience around the globe. Using AI, this AR artist with facial recognition technology scans the face. It then provides personalized recommendations according to the skin tone.

Takeaways

Augmented reality is fun, exciting, and meaningful with applications across healthcare, e-commerce, manufacturing, etc. People readily want to engage with it and expect companies to deliver high-quality AR experiences. Creating a full-blown AR product catalog is expensive and time-consuming, even for high-end brands. The right solution is to invest in designing 3D models of the new, most demanding products that can hugely benefit from it. Initially, you can create AR filters like celebrity look-alike generator, beauty, or quiz filters to drive promotions and engagement.

If you are looking for talented folks to design and develop your app that requires augmented reality, or any latest technology, contact our mobile app development company now or bookmark to save your time in the future.

Amit Tawar Author
Amit Tawar

Front-End Developer. Check out more on Linkedin.

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