You’ve probably heard of augmented reality try-on experiences. They use your mobile camera or webcam to show what you would look like wearing a product before you buy it.
But, have you ever heard of an AR try-out experience? Sunglasses manufacturer Bollé just launched what may be the very first.
In case you aren’t familiar, Bollé is a manufacturer of performance sunglasses, goggles, and helmets for skiing and biking. Like many clothing manufacturers and retailers, Bollé has had an online presence for a while but they’re doubling down this year.
Between closed storefronts, financial difficulty, and economic uncertainty, retail is struggling. For clothing and sports gear manufacturers like Bollé, the situation is real. Many people are wary of spending money on a project that they can’t try on.
Augmented reality try-on experiences are working on solving this problem. They can let you see what you would look like wearing apparel like sunglasses. However, there’s more to sunglasses than meets the eye. How you look wearing them is important but so is how you see through them.
“In the new normal of retail, Bollé recognizes that safety is now the most important thing. Consumers demand shopping encounters that minimize physical interaction,” Bollé Brands VP of Global Marketing, Louis Cisti, said in a release shared with ARPost. “However, when it comes to buying premium sunglasses, they still have high expectations and expect to see tangible benefits.”
That’s where Bollé got clever.
Bollé wanted an experience that would convey not only how their glasses look but also how their glasses work.
The brand’s Phantom lenses have a wide range of features to help athletes see in the sun but also in conditions like fog. What the glasses look like isn’t even half of the story. So, Bollé decided to go beyond an AR try-on to make an AR try-out.
The experience works on Instagram, one of big three social networks hosting AR experiences. Users can experience the typical augmented reality try-on. However, when they switch to the front-facing camera the experience changes to show what the world would look like through the brand’s Chronoshield the lenses.
From the AR try-out aspect, users can change filters to preview different Bollé lens features like high contrast and anti-fog.
“AR is routinely used for try-on and certainly enhances the buying experience. But AR for try-out, this is a first,” Cisti said. “Bollé’s AR try-out does all that heavy lifting. Shoppers get to see perceivable performance benefits before making a purchase.”
Users can’t buy products directly through the experience but it will direct them to a retailer near them.
Making the Experience
To make the experience, Bollé called on two other agencies.
M7 Innovations is a company that uses exponential technologies to help companies solve complex problems. They’ve worked with giants including Channel, Timberland, Sony, Amazon, and Panera Bread.
QReal, a subsidiary of The Glimpse Group, is a company that specializes in making 3D models for use in AR and VR applications. The company has worked with companies like The Economist, Domino’s, Whirlpool, and also Panera Bread.
“[With] pretty much any phone in the world you can click on a photo and see it in AR. It’s a huge step forward in terms of distribution,” QReal co-founder Alper Guler told ARPost in a 2019 interview. “I think this is the most important thing happening in our lives: Apple and Google creating these distribution channels. And, with platforms like Snapchat, everyone has access to this technology.”
Finding the AR Try-Out
Those interested in the Bollé AR try-out can find it here – if you’re reading this on a mobile device. QR codes to the experience will also be in print advertisements for Bollé products.