As the metaverse and Web3 era quickly dawns upon us, the demand for brands to create different and immersive customer experiences with the latest technologies is growing. Immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) bring the customer experience to a higher level, help drive sales, and create a deeper brand-customer relationship. The AR trend is a natural evolution from mobile experiences as smartphones allow for AR implementations before AR wearables and fancy gadgets become mainstream.
AR is ushering in a new era of digital interaction across all major industries, with e-commerce leading the charge by leveraging smart technologies to enhance the customer experience. Soon, the fashion industry jumped onto the trend to provide customers with an immersive shopping experience. Now, AR allows fashion retailers to link the physical and digital retail experience and turn any location into a fitting room to create an always-on, convenient digital shopping experience.
So, is the inclusion of immersive technologies in the fashion space a good fit? Here are 5 great examples of how AR is being used to transform the fashion industry.
Amazon’s recently released mobile AR tool Virtual Try-On for Shoes is a game-changer for the e-commerce customer experience landscape. The immersive tool allows you to virtually try on shoes from a catalogue of thousands of products. All you need to do is point your mobile phone camera to your feet and you will be able to see how the shoes look on you from all angles thanks to AR technology.
This immersive shopping experience allows you to easily change colours and styles by scrolling through the extensive list of options. Even more, you can dive deeper into the experience by taking photos of the ‘virtual shoes’ and sharing them with friends via social media.
Although currently only available to customers in the U.S. and Canada using iOS, Amazon plans to roll out the tool to global Andriod users in the future.
But it was in fact Snap, the company behind Snapchat, who was the first to develop the concept of AR-powered try-on technology.
Snapchat’s new in-app feature Dress Up gives users immersive AR fashion and virtual try-on experiences. The new feature made headlines from a successful collaboration with sportswear brand Puma for a campaign leveraging AR try-on technology to promote awareness for its iconic Puma Suede shoe and tracksuits.
The company is also launching new tools that allow retailers to integrate their own websites and apps into Snapchat’s AR shopping and try-on technology. According to Snap, more than 250 million Snapchat users have engaged with AR shopping Lenses more than 5 billion times since January 2021. Snap plans to strengthen its relationship with brands and retailers as social media platforms begin to evolve into metaverse companies where social shopping and AR/VR will become the preferred way to shop.
Eyewear accessory company Ace & Tate is leveraging AR technology to take the hassle out of shopping for glasses with its new virtual fitting room tool. Fitting Room works like any other AR tool: all you have to do is use the AR Lens to take a 3D scan of your face and then you can virtually try on sunglasses and spectacles to get an accurate view of how they will look on your face.
If you would like a deeper shopping experience, you can let the app select the options it thinks will best suit the dimensions of your face using smart technology. The catalogue has over 30,000 measurements so users can find the perfect fit and dimensions they are after.
Timberland brought the AR shopping experience into a ‘real world’ setting with its AR-powered mirror placed outside its retail outlets. The magic mirror virtually ‘dresses’ customers so they can see how they would look in specific outfits.
The VR mirror allows shoppers to quickly and conveniently compare different outfits without having to take their own clothes off or visit a fitting room. The concept also provided customers with quick feedback from friends and shop assistants as the mirrors are placed in public spaces.
The magic mirror is proving to be a great way to attract new customers as it managed to engage passers-by and drove brand awareness and a deeper customer experience. We won’t be surprised if retail outlets take inspiration from Timberland and place magic mirrors in-store to reduce fitting room queues and purchase uncertainty and deliver a seamless in-store shopping experience.
Online fashion giant Asos has released See My Fit, an AR-powered feature designed to enhance the digital shopping experience by helping customers visualise clothes in context worn on human models before purchasing. The tool digitally maps garments onto models in a realistic way, showing the size, cut and fit of each item on 16 different models with different body types, ethnicities, and ages.
See My Fit is like a personalised catwalk or a customer’s very own ticket to a fashion show depicting a realistic preview of items. The AR models are shown walking, turning, and moving around to show customers how styles and sizes fit according to different body types.
Implementing AR into the fashion retail space leads to improved conversion rates, less returns thanks to smart try-on tools, and drives customer loyalty like nothing else. It provides savvy modern consumers with engaging and tailored shopping experiences that they not only desire but demand.
With more people relying on e-commerce to satisfy their shopping needs, the public’s appetite for technology-driven experiences is growing rapidly. In a few short years, leveraging AR technology will be commonplace in retail and it won’t be about staying ahead but surviving in a tech-embracing market.
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