Among all industries right now, few may be as open to innovation as the fashion industry. Indeed, the $2.4 trillion industry has always been a hotbed for new trends, whether in aesthetics or e-commerce.
With such a drive for all things new, fashion is now moving towards the latest in tech: augmented reality.
If you think about it, it makes complete sense! Augmented reality is a tool that can revolutionize how consumers interact with brands. With this tech, marketers can seamlessly blend real-time surroundings to boundless animated designs.
And consumers see the benefits as well. Around 62% believe that augmented reality can help them when shopping for goods.
Right now, augmented reality is only available at a handful of stores. Even so, the unique experience it brings allows fashion brands to showcase their forward-looking principles.
Augmented Reality for In-Store Millennial Clients
With about 73 million millennials making up the population this year, they are becoming the largest market for brands. One important characteristic of millennials is how tech-savvy they are. And for clothing retailers, it’s all about capitalizing on tech and social media to captivate millennial customers.
Retail giant Zara does this by using augmented reality for their in-store displays. Customers can hold their mobile phones in front of a select shop window, and they will see models wearing pieces from the latest line.
Aside from the wow factor, the feature makes shopping convenient. Customers can just click on certain items to automatically purchase them. Zara also adopts augmented reality for online purchases. Packages show alternative outfits to the pieces delivered, enticing customers to make repeat purchases.
Analysts observe that while it is rare for physical stores to not be affected by the online marketplace, Inditex’s innovation for its fashion brand Zara proves that brick-and-mortar stores can stay on top with the use of tech like augmented reality.
Augmented Reality in Online Shopping
While fashion brands like Zara are still going strong, it’s a fact that e-commerce has got a fair chunk of the overall revenue. Global online retail sales are growing, with about 8.8% of the estimated total retail spending in 2018.
Hence, companies are looking to enhance the online shopping experience. One example is Gap’s pilot app made in collaboration with Avametric.
Named the “DressingRoom”, the augmented reality app lets customers try on clothes anywhere using a Google Tango-enabled device.
You can customize an avatar based on your body type and see how the different pieces of clothing will look from different angles. And, if you’re satisfied with the item, you can buy it straight from the app.
Wannaby’s Wanna Kicks
Another AR app developed for shoppers is Wanna Kicks, an iOS app that enables customers to try on different pairs of sneakers from the 3D models available. A shopper can just choose a pair of kicks, point the camera at their feet, and see how the shoes look right away. The app tracks your feet’s movements, so you can walk around while trying on a pair — something shoppers commonly do in actual stores. The Belarus-based developer, Wannaby, is working further to make the “Try-On” AR app work while the user is standing in front of a mirror. Mimicking the in-store shopping experience can potentially drive more online sales.
But the augmented reality element in fashion is not limited to clothes alone. Accessories and cosmetics are also investing in the immersive tech.
One such brand is Tenth Street Hats.
Tenth Street Hats’ Virtual Try-On
The California-based designer hat brand offers an augmented reality option on their product pages. Shoppers can select items tagged “Virtual Try-On”, click the “Try it on in AR” button, and see how they look. According to the brand, engagement levels increased by 33% thanks to the augmented reality feature.
Sephora’s Virtual Artist
Meanwhile, beauty brand Sephora launched Sephora’s Virtual Artist in partnership with ModiFace. The app lets customers try on various makeup shades and combinations using their device’s front camera. The app’s face scan technology allows the user to see themselves wearing the cosmetics. It’s so successful that it has been used as many as 45 million times in the first eight weeks.
What’s Next for Augmented Reality in Fashion?
Fashion brands are recognizing the impact of augmented reality on how they can showcase and market their products. Whether it’s a physical store or an e-commerce site, one thing is clear: augmented reality can help enhance the customer’s shopping experience and affinity for the brand. And that’s what matters most.