Augmented Reality : 3 reasons for investing

Prada Candy digital avatar
Prada Candy digital avatar

Augmented Reality (AR), which does not have to be misunderstood with Virtual Reality (VR), anchors virtual elements in the real world. It employs 3D technology, uses computer-generated images, and creates objects that are not palpable in the user’s environment. This technology is slowly revolutionizing the world of commerce and offers new perspectives in terms of shopping experiences.

The potential of Augmented Reality

Dior Makeup's Augmented Reality Instagram filter
Dior Makeup's Augmented Reality Instagram filter

The digital world has not stopped delighting and surprising its users, and the forecasts that have been provided confirm this trend. Digitalization is more than ever at the heart of the purchasing process. In recent years, companies have had the opportunity to broaden their scope by creating their website. They also have powerful digital tools at their disposal, such as augmented reality, to enhance this digitalization process. 

 

To exemplify, the online portal Statista estimates that by 2024, the AR market will be worth more than $300 billion. It is true that this could change the daily lives of customers, as it would offer the opportunity to try anything, anytime, even remotely. This functionality will be made even easier with the arrival of 5G, which is expected to generate a significant amount of data. It is therefore a forecasted technological advance, which should soon become widespread. 

 

Nevertheless, before AR became a standard, many stores in the luxury goods industry were charmed by this brand-new kind of 3D technology. It allows, for example, to visualize a product in action, without using it or wearing it.

Companies wish to make the buying process seamless, focusing on the customer experience, which becomes unique. Each brand has the opportunity to reinforce its image and identity by focusing on AR. If large Chinese companies have already understood this, the practice should become more widespread in the West during the coming years. 

A few examples of usage of AR in the luxury retail landscape

Real-environment 3D products visualization, by Burberry

Augmented Reality solution by Burberry
Augmented Reality solution by Burberry

When a world-renowned search engine and a luxury brand team up in 2020 to create an augmented reality feature, the result is a preview tool that offers an extraordinary experience.

 

Available on smartphones, this 3D technology is mainly used by British and American consumers. They can, from the first page of Google results, visualize certain brand products in three dimensions.

 

Indeed, Burberry has referenced two of its products, in particular bags, to let Internet users try them on in real-time. One or two clicks are enough for one of the bags in question to appear next to an outfit of their choice. The risk of making a mistake is reduced and the consumer is reassured in his or her decision to buy or not the product thanks to this virtual trial.

 

This new technology could thus eradicate styling mistakes! Google’s search technology is becoming more and more sophisticated, always intending to fully integrate the consumer into the purchasing process. 

Watches virtual-try-on by Browns and Farfetch

Farfetch x Browns virtual-try-on
Farfetch x Browns virtual-try-on

Here is another example of a virtual fitting feature implemented by a major luxury store: the British brand Browns Fashion. It had already allowed to virtually test sneakers in 2020. After the craze linked to the appearance of this tool, this large group is doing it again a few months later and adapting its “virtual-try-on” application to watches. 

 

These digital innovations have been made possible in part by the acquisition of Browns by the Farfetch fashion group. AR is reinventing the way we interact with clothing and is at the heart of the development of Browns’ product line.

 

Luxury watches are on the rise and it is becoming more and more interesting to be able to ensure that such an accessory is perfectly suited to the wrist of the future buyer. From home, the latter can try on the models he wants, while benefitting from personalized advice. Once on the application, the consumer then uses his smartphone and places it over his wrist to visualize the 3D rendering. 

The 3 advantages of augmented reality for the customer experience

Emotionally engage with consumers

Augmented reality at Galerie Lafayette by SkyBoy

In marketing, it is recognized that emotions play an essential role in the decision-making process that leads to the decision to purchase or not a certain item. To illustrate, advertisements are developed in this way: to bring back memories or to appeal to one of our five senses. Therefore, the experience that AR offers is in line with the emotional triggers that advertisers are looking for.

 

By taking part in a virtual try-on on a product from home, the consumer is directly involved. Moreover, the functionality guides him/her, like a seasoned sales consultant. AR confirms the idea that it is by arousing emotions that we gain the trust of users. They can directly perceive the benefits of the product and see themselves with it.

 

The experience also strengthens the relationship between the consumer and the brand and makes them more likely to stay loyal to the brand in the future.

Offer immersive experience with 3D

Augmented Reality solution by LV
Augmented reality solution developed by Louis Vuitton

Each company can now offer its customers immersive experiences that are specific to their universe. It is also an excellent way to attract new customers who are not yet familiar with their products.

 

We can now see that virtual fitting is conquering many fields, beyond the world of luxury. To illustrate, the cosmetics industry has adopted the codes of augmented reality and offers consumers the opportunity to virtually try-on various beauty products using fitting softwares.

 

On the other hand, luxury stores are also trying to dust off their image and attract a clientele that would usually feel excluded. The young generation is the perfect target to take advantage of this innovative feature. In this context, one should not hesitate to play the card of the funny, gamified and innovative experience, to spark their curiosity. Social media are excellent communication tools for these features.

 

Boost sales with Augmented Reality

L'Oréal virtual trial: Modiface

Online sales continue to increase every year and companies are more and more aware that becoming digital is their only way to survive. Nevertheless, in the retail world, competition is tough. It is sometimes difficult to stand out from the crowd. That’s why integrating AR into your digital marketing strategy can be a powerful way to create engagement.

 

By arousing emotions in consumers with immersive tools such as augmented reality, the company makes sure to strengthen its connection with them. E-commerce platforms such as Shopify also confirm the trend: online stores can expect to double their conversion rate by using AR.

 

This happens since consumers are more likely to buy because they know what to expect when they “try the product“. The sales process is facilitated as the customer has all the information needed to make the right decision.

New technologies are increasingly shaping the image that the world of retail and e-commerce will have in the future. If you are now convinced by all the benefits that augmented reality can offer to your business, it’s time to adapt your future customer experience. Contact SmartPixels to develop and implement your interactive product experiences in augmented reality!