Tech in the showroom: Augmented reality adds sparkle at jewellery stores

Customers can try out every piece of jewellery at PC Jeweller via the AR experience on the iPad with StyleDotMe’s MirrAR platform.

Tech in the showroom: Augmented reality adds sparkle at jewellery stores
Tech in the showroom: Augmented reality adds sparkle at jewellery stores

For any woman shopping for her wedding, a chance to try out every necklace and every pair of earrings at her favourite jeweller’s would be a dream come true. Alas, that would be one mammoth exercise that would leave both the customer and the salesperson pretty exhausted! Thankfully, help is at hand with augmented reality (AR) making its debut at jewellery stores.

One of the country’s foremost jewellery brands, PC Jeweller, which has 95 stores across 75 cities, has rolled out its AR jewellery buying experience in 11 showrooms in Delhi-NCR. In the first phase launched this month just ahead of Raksha Bandhan which heralds the start of the festival season in the country, the ‘AR Experience’ showcases the brand’s complete earrings catalogue. By Diwali this year, the AR Experience will go pan-India, even as it expands to cover other product categories including pendants, bangles, necklaces and rings.

“To browse through the earring collection which has more than 1000 designs, all customers need to do is look into the iPad, which doubles up as a ‘Smart Mirror’ and generates a dynamic catalogue of thousands of earring designs across stores as per the customers’ age. A customer can even virtually try on the jewellery pieces on a real-time basis by merely touching the earring she likes and the same will be placed real-time on her ears. She can further see the earrings dynamically from different angles to make her choice not only from those available in a particular store she is present but also across all the company stores in the country,” says Nikhilesh Govil, president, PC Jeweller.

PC Jeweller is implementing the ‘AR Experience’ on the iPad with the help of ‘MirrAR’, an AR platform from Delhi-based start-up StyleDotMe that lets users virtually try-on jewellery in real time and get instant fashion advice from experts before making a purchase. This would not only increase the conversions at the store but also reduce the need to keep a huge inventory at every store, since the product can be shipped within 24 hours of the order being placed.

Says Akhil Tolani, chief technology officer, StyleDotMe: “AR is the process in which images produced by a computer are used together with a view of the real world. MirrAR detects faces in real-time from the camera and then overlays the earrings so that it looks as if you are looking into a real mirror.” The big challenge was to make sure that the MirrAR product was designed in such a way that every customer could use it, says Tolani. “Intuitive and seamless experience is the key when using the MirrAR,” he adds.

The MirrAR conducts face-mapping in real time, recording the skin tone, approximate age of the customer, time spent, and even her mood to guage her reaction to the design and then recommends various jewellery designs that may appeal to her. As PC Jeweller’s Govil points out, besides enhancing customer experience it also helps in customer data analytics enabling better understanding of regional variations in customer tastes and new fashion trends.

PC Jeweller plans to install these AR screens at malls, airports and cineplexes where customers can browse through its virtual catalogues and make impulse purchases. “The MirrAR will be the bridge between our offline and online centres, taking our brand to a wider audience,” says Govil.

Says Meghna Saraogi, CEO, StyleDotMe: “We are creating the 21st-century shopping experience for the fashion industry, starting with jewellery. I believe this will be a game changer for the jewellery retail industry.”

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