Retail & E-CommerceAugmented Reality

Virtual Try-On Is Reinventing How You Shop Online

Virtual try-on as an innovative shopping tool that transforms the way consumers shop online.


Virtual try-on is a game-changer and makes it possible for consumers to have a more personalized and realistic shopping experience, even when they’re shopping online. It utilizes augmented reality and a front-facing camera, thus allowing shoppers to virtually try on products, from eyewear and hats to cosmetics.

But is it just a novelty, or does it have actual potential to drive sales and deliver a top-notch customer experience? How can retailers keep up with the growing expectations that come with embracing this new technology?

Vertebrae, a provider of 3D and AR commerce solutions, conducted an online survey from May to June 2021. They asked 346 US consumers about virtual try-on, their experience with the technology, and how it made an impact on their buying decisions.

The Virtual Try-On Experience

Virtual try-on is fast becoming a crucial element in the retail shopping field. Seven out of 10 shoppers (nearly 69%) who had first-hand experience with the technology purchased the item they were virtually trying on. Those who have used virtual try-on but haven’t purchased an item either bought it from another retailer or are still considering buying the item. This indicates the great potential of virtual try-on to drive leads, conversions, and sales.

Vertebrae virtual try-on survey - what was the end result
Data source: Vertebrae “Consumer Survey: Virtual Try-On”

Those who haven’t yet tried this technology are also eager to experience it. More than half of the respondents (77%) indicated that they’d want to give it a try if it’s easily available on a retail web or mobile site.

Nearly half of the respondents (49%) are very likely or likely to purchase from a brand if they start offering virtual try-on.

Top Item Selection for Virtual Try-On

This versatile technology enables users to try on practically anything, from eyewear and cosmetics to bags and apparel.

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The majority of the Vertebrae survey respondents (almost 70%) identified eyewear or sunglasses as the most helpful to try on virtually to help them make more purchase decisions. This is followed by hats and caps (44%), handbags and backpacks (21%), shoes (27%) and cosmetics (27%), clothing (52%), jewelry and watches (26%), and other items (8%).

Challenges Faced by Retailers

The growing demand for virtual try-on also brings with it several challenges for retailers. As mentioned, one of their most pressing challenges is how they can meet consumer expectations, particularly for simplicity, ease, and accuracy.

The likelihood of consumers using virtual try-on diminishes if they’re required to take extra steps, such as uploading a photo or entering their measurements. Four out of 10 shoppers are highly unlikely or unlikely to use virtual try-on if it asked them to take additional steps.

Vertebrae virtual try-on survey - extra steps
Data source: Vertebrae “Consumer Survey: Virtual Try-On”

Looking past these challenges, retailers can use virtual try-on as a valuable resource that can help them gain a better understanding of their target market. Consumers report that virtual try-on has several useful aspects. Forty-six percent shared that they find it useful because it gives them an accurate sense of an item’s size, thus helping them determine whether it’s right for them. Moreover, it gives them a better perspective on which color or style they prefer the most.

Twenty-one percent of consumers reported that virtual try-on allowed them to zoom in on details, something that can be difficult to see based on just product photos posted online.

Virtual Try-On and the Future of Shopping

According to Vertebrae founder and CEO, Vince Cacace, virtual try-on is transforming the way we shop for entire categories, from eyewear to footwear. The technology itself is constantly evolving, allowing it to soon offer a virtual try-on experience for clothing. Additionally, Cacace notes the remarkable opportunity that virtual try-on presents to retailers, particularly in how it can increase conversion and drive sales.

Gergana Mileva
the authorGergana Mileva
Based in Prague, CZ, Geri is a freelance journalist and writer, focusing on technology, finance, and marketing. If you have a story suggestion for Geri, you may contact her here.