By tapping into the $2.4 trillion apparel industry, brands are transforming the online shopping experience through AR
By Siddharth Grover
Among all industries right now, few may be as open to innovation as the apparel 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. From gaming, augmented reality has moved to the retail and e-commerce industry where it is a great tool for attracting new customers. This technology is gaining popularity across the globe. Augmented reality is much more than just overlaying camera images with generated three-dimensional objects. It’s an instrument that can help brands significantly improve their marketing strategies and ensure a higher revenue. By applying AR to their potential customer’s shopping experience, brands are succeeding in moving users further down the sales funnel.
Augmented reality and the apparel industry
Technological advancements like augmented reality in the apparel industry are transforming the online shopping experiences. Aiming to increase online retail revenue and simultaneously deliver customer-first experiences, AR enables shoppers to view products in real life, integrating in-store try-before-you-buy behaviour with the digital extension and, therefore, drive online sales.
Also, as we know more retail stores are temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this is the best time when apparel brands must navigate towards representing themselves to mobile and online shoppers. Many are switching to AR, which is helping to increase engagement and conversion and is becoming both more accessible to brands and familiar to customers.
How are marketers leveraging AR to boost sales?
AR brings value to the customer shopping experience
Augmented reality can help online stores provide their customers with a more profound and realistic shopping experience. On the other side, this technology allows online stores to offer their customers vibrant, unforgettable, and fun emotions that are much richer than those we all have experience in bricks and mortar stores. AR can provide amazing visual information which improves consumer attitudes and purchases intentions, thus massively driving the sale.
Bringing AR out of apps and onto e-commerce sites opens the technology up for more adoption. Now, merchants can add 3D models to product pages, including the ability for them to request any product to be 3D modelled starting at $100 for simple products, on all major browsers and devices. Customers can twist and turn the 3D models to inspect the products or view the object using AR.
It has been estimated that viewing 3D products in AR should result in an increase of conversion rates. It also has been found that visitors interacting with a 3D model are more likely to add the items to their cart and most of them are more likely to place an order.
Virtual try before you buy
One of the things that prevent people from buying clothes online is the fact that it might not fit them. Returning an item is not only an inconvenience for the customer but can also cost a retail company massively. In order to eliminate the inefficiency of not being able to try clothes on, online, Augmented Reality has now appeared in the form of virtual fitting rooms. Stores with the virtual fitting room function on their apps will allow users to try the products, before buying.
Offering online customers a seamless experience of trying products and see how they look on them, encourages purchase completions and reduces returns. This new ability could be the missing piece which will let users accurately assess the size and fit. In the apparel industry, this new technology could be transformative and has the potential to dramatically boost eCommerce adoption by consumers.
Virtual fitting rooms are still a work in progress and still have a long way to go, but are something worth considering if you’re thinking of incorporating AR into your online store experience.
Augmented reality is an effective marketing tool with immersive technology. Apparel brands are recognizing the impact of augmented reality on how they can showcase and market their products. Therefore, one thing is clear for an e-commerce site: augmented reality can help enhance the shopping experience of customers and affinity for the brand. And that’s what matters the most.
The author is director, Groversons Paris Beauty