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How are luxury brands leveraging the power of Augmented Reality?

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In this article, we are going to explore how brands like Dior, Chanel, and Gucci use mobile augmented reality to build immersive and unforgettable experiences for their consumers. We have identified 7 key applications of mobile AR for fashion brands

First, let’s go through a quick definition of Réalité Augmentée. “Augmented reality is the layering d' digital components onto our existing reality”, often done through a viewing device such as a tablet, smartphone, or AR glasses.

Augmented reality is used to enhance or augment the world around us with digital information.” The Augmented Reality market revenue is projected to reach a value of 26.06 billion dollars by 2025 [1]. It, therefore, represents a forceful tool to invest in.

Now let’s see how this technology is playing out in the luxury industry. 

Augmented Reality: how to use it

1. The use of lenses

Tiffany's virtual-try-on filter
Tiffany's try-on filter
To immerse your audience in your brand universe and move beyond physical marketing efforts, why not use augmented reality lenses? 
AR filter by Chanel
AR filter by Chanel
That’s precisely what Chanel decided to do when hosting a holiday pop-up at The Standard in New York. The brand created a busy shopping area into a winter wonderland with hot chocolate, ice skating, and plenty of ‘Instagrammable’ spots outside the boutique hotel. The pop-up lasted four magically wintry days. 

Chanel created an AR experience that could be accessed through a Snapchat lens or by downloading an app via its website Chanel.com. Those unable to come to the pop-up could also use the lens, which emphasized the virality around the campaign.  The rest of the Chanel community around the globe was still welcome to try out the lens and experience the magic of the campaign. 

2. Virtual try-on

Who has never experienced a virtual try-on experience through Snapchat filters? One of the most common use cases of augmented reality in fashion is to allow a virtual try-on experience. Loads of makeup brands have already jumped to this opportunity, including L’Oreal et la YSL Beauty. Over the years, brands such as Dior et la Gucci have created a series of filters on Snapchat and Facebook to enable consumers to virtually try-on accessories.

Dior created filters to enable hats’ and sunglasses’ virtual try-on while Gucci launched a feature within its iOS app to allow augmented reality try-on of its line of ACE sneakers. Both experiences help consumers relate to the brands and visualize these luxury products on them. It is also a way for brands to get closer to younger consumer generations, more sensible to new technologies. 
Dior's virtual try on filters
Dior's virtual try on filters

3. Embedded AR experiences

For the opening of Burberry’s new retail shop in Tokyo, the brand launched an Réalité Augmentée shopping tool through Google Search technology. The tool enabled consumers to experience Burberry’s products embedded in their environment. The goal is to enhance customers’ research and shopping experience online.

With the COVID-19 situation, there are even more opportunities for augmented reality en de la mode, especially regarding runway shows, virtual fitting rooms, smart mirrors, showrooms, and windows. 

4. AR runway shows

GIANTSTEP's AR runwayshow
GIANTSTEP's AR runwayshow
Runway shows have always been expensive and resource-consuming to produce. COVID-19 has indeed accelerated the need for digital versions of fashion shows. An augmented reality runway experience is a true alternative, as it complies with the rules of social distancing. It is also a way to democratize the runway, enabling new guests, who wouldn’t usually be invited to the front row of the fashion show, to attend.  
What we mean by augmented reality runway isn’t just a live stream of the events, which has existed for a long time, but visualizing augmented reality models in your living room. It was recently done at the London Fashion Week when the British model Adwoa Aboah proudly walked the catwalk in augmented reality

5. Augmented Reality mirrors

Burberry's Augmented Reality mirrors
Burberry's Augmented Reality mirrors
It seems remarkably interesting to keep an eye on augmented reality mirrors, which will develop further. Smart mirrors are moving from in-store to in-home, assisting us every step of the way: whether we are trying out different outfits or discovering our style.

Assisting us with online purchases, dressing up, and who knows, maybe in a near future, even helping us stay fit, AR mirrors represent a great opportunity to enhance the customer experience within a luxury brand. 

6. Augmented Reality showrooms

Snapchat X Kohl's AR showroom
Snapchat X Kohl's AR showroom
Augmented reality can provide a simulation of an in-store experience anywhere. 3D is becoming the new standard for product rendering, offering a 360° view in any environment. It is also used extensively to conduct product research, testing the demand for certain products.

Many companies have been trying to use augmented reality to offer a showroom experience to their consumers. For example, Kohl’s partnered with Snapchat to offer an immersive shopping experience to their consumers, using the Snapchat app to transform any space into a showroom. Users could explore countless looks and add items to their shopping cart to later purchase in real life. 

7. Augmented Reality windows

Louis Vuitton virtual mirror
Louis Vuitton AR window
New collections have often been highlighted using display windows to catch the shoppers’ attention. The goal is to lure the consumer inside the physical store. Using augmented reality, brands can add a new layer of digital storytelling and interactivity.

For example, Helen Papagiannis developed an augmented reality activation to show how Louis Vuitton could extend its window displays. SmartPixels developed similar activations for Dior, Moet Hennessy, Nike, and Kenzo.  

How Augmented Reality can boost personalization

Augmented Reality conversion rates among different age groups
Augmented Reality conversion rates among different age groups
An Augmented Reality experience does not only boost conversion by providing consumers with an immersive experience, but it can also provide a completely personalized consumer journey. In-store shopping also benefits from AR, which tailors the purchase journey for each customer. 
A few examples can be listed. At Tom Ford’s London beauty boutique, shoppers can choose from 233 lipsticks stored in the Color Room and track their makeup application sessions in the Makeup Room using the so-called MemoMimemory mirrors.” These mirrors even keep a record of which products clients test. 
Furthermore, data from Estée Lauder demonstrates that virtual-try-on tools remarkably increase conversions.  In fact, users are 25% more inclined to add a product to their cart once they have tried it in advance with virtual-try-on [2]. One of the several implementations of this digital tool might be correlated to the initial test and learn phase of a product launch.  
Your customers will have a deeper understanding of your items thanks to SmartPixels’ flawless and dynamic 3D augmented reality solution. They will just need a few clicks to visualize their personalized product on their desktop or mobile. For shoppers, envisioning thousands of product combinations in real time is the key to a successful online shopping experience. 
Virtual-try-on filter by SmartPixels
Virtual-try-on filter by SmartPixels
[1] https://www-statista-com.revproxy.escpeurope.eu/statistics/282453/mobile-augmented-reality-market-size/ 
[2] https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/beauty/beautys-augmented-reality-revolution-whats-real-whats-hype-whats-next/