How Augmented Reality Will Transform Fashion Retail
Augmented reality applications are starting to recreate the physical experience of trying on clothes and accessories, and could either revive or help destroy high-street shopping.
SANTIAGO — Augmented reality (AR) connects the physical with the digital world, providing a unique experience where images generated digitally mix with real-world surroundings. Fashion is one of the industries where some of the most rapid innovations in this technology sector are being put into action.
AR does not just want to provide a more entertaining and innovative experience, but can also reinforce a brand's value and its relationship with the consumer through more experimental and immersive contact, regardless of whether the user is at home, shopping online, in a shop or at a fashion event.
A completely new and captivating experience for consumers
While some brands have already incorporated AR experiences, the technology still has a lot of untapped potential. One of the first applications one thinks of in AR, which is usually of interest to consumers, is the virtual dressing room. Whether at home or in a shop, the idea is to have the possibility of selecting clothes and trying them on virtually, and seeing whether they fit without actually wearing them.
In this case, besides being a completely new and captivating experience for consumers, it is certainly of use in making shopping more efficient and could even combine with other functionalities like virtual matching to see, almost immediately, how items look together. AR is definitely a technology that wants to make shopping both easier and more enriching.
Another utility already incorporated by various brands is the mobile app allowing a user to scan a product, even on a poster or in a magazine or catalogue, as a basis for a visual experience through the app. For example, involving 3D versions of the scanned clothes on a model, which can be turned, zoomed in or out and with which you can interact. You can also reproduce a video and by bringing the picture to life in your own space.
The feature of searching similar products to an object scanned by phone is also taking off. We often see someone wearing a clothing item, and would like to know the brand or where it can be brought. The recognition and digital processing of objects allow us to do a smart search for information on the product or in many cases, leads us directly to buying it online.
AR can really transform the way we interact with the world of fashion
Lastly, we can mention fashion experiences like catwalks, where we have seen the incorporation of AR elements to reproduce pictures and information on the models or products seen on display. Or it might be interesting to take the high-fashion experience to every consumer's home simply through a mobile application.
Some of the most relevant breakthroughs are coming from big brands like Gap, Nike, Express, Burberry, Rimmel and L'Oréal. But smaller brands are also contributing to the progress in the field. There are still many ideas and new possibilities with a technology that has developed rapidly but has yet to reach its full potential. It will be very interesting to see whether AR can really transform the way we interact with the world of fashion, either by tilting the balance toward online buying and the virtual world or by revitalizing the in-store experience to ultimately have the best of both worlds.