Today’s retail businesses are all about enticing the customer; making them engrossed in the process of interacting with the products and the platform so that they feel truly engaged. These businesses have realised the power of offering the perfect customer experience and go to great lengths to ensure that they have the right tools in place to ensure that the customers interact with their businesses in the most enjoyable way possible.
In a bid to enhance the joy of shopping for customers, brands have relied heavily on technology to come up with new and exciting ways to reach out to users. While they have come a long way from the traditional method of buying - which is going to a store and picking the things you like, the best lies ahead.
Today, a new revolution in technology is here to change online shopping like never before. This revolution is none other than augmented reality. Augmented reality is the most promising piece of innovation there is in the market. Supported on most phones, it uses the phone camera to augment a computer-generated graphic or an image on to the real world, when viewed through the mobile camera.
The most lucrative aspect of this technology is that it imposes or ‘augments’ images or graphics on to the real world in 3D. This means that they are seamlessly woven into the real world, in a way that it looks absolutely real. Moreover, these images can be programmed to perform specific actions, so that users can interact and engage with them.
What does this mean to the retail industry?
It means a world of difference. Integrating augmented reality in the online retail fashion market can open up new doors for brands to reach out to their customers and, of course, increase sales.
Until now, online shopping allowed users to scroll through thousands and thousands of images on their mobile or computer screens. They then selected the ones they liked and proceeded to order them. Users would wait for a couple of days for their order to arrive and then trial their purchase. In most cases, the item ordered either had a fit issue - which means that the size they saw and ordered wasn’t fitting them correctly. In some other cases, there was a product issue - the colour of the garment shown in the image didn’t match the colour that arrived.
This often lead to users returning the products.
For a majority of retail players, this returns issue is proving to be a huge financial burden even today. Many businesses end up spending twice on shipping, logistics and delivery costs, while the rate of sale conversion remains the same. With augmented reality, this problem can be completely mitigated.
WonderFashion has tailored the perfect solution that can help brands overcome the ‘returns issue’. With WonderFashion, brands can allow users to build their virtual avatar. This avatar is a digital representation of their physical appearance in 3D. This 3D avatar can then be used by users to trial different garments virtually - thereby enabling a digital trial room.
WonderFashion knows that the key to enabling a really seamless digital trial room experience lies in allowing users to create their digital twin. That is why its platform allows users to click and upload their selfie. This selfie is then rendered in 3D and applied to their digital avatar. This is a unique proposition that WondeFashion offers. This lets users design their digital avatar much more accurately.
Users can even change their avatar’s height, shoulder width, skin complexion and many other finer details. These changes can be applied and seen in realtime so that a very accurate digital model can be created. Once it is ready, the users can apply their choice of clothing on to their digital model to see how it would look on them. By offering brands the opportunity to bring their entire wardrobe online, it lets users try and buy different types of clothes from the comfort of their home - anytime, anywhere. With the option to change the lighting and even the backgrounds, it rolls out a truly personalised experience for users.
Garments can be shown in ultra-high-definition and in dynamic lighting so that people can see even the finer details of a particular article before proceeding to purchase it. Since it provides a very accurate visualisation, people can make more calculated purchasing decisions, thereby reducing the problem of returns. This can even be leveraged to deploy virtual mannequins as digital salesmen, who can display different styles to different demographics and at the same time can be programmed to be interactive so that brands can generate more sales.
Augmented reality in retail environments has the power to reimagine the entire shopping experience. It offers great ease, puts users in the centre of the online shopping experience, lets brands upsell more items by pushing a specific collection or a set of clothes and so much more. The possibilities are endless.
Not just that, it can be applied to many industries. Real-estate augmented reality can help developers give customers a tour of their properties without customers having to travel and visit the site personally. Similarly, car shopping via augmented reality helps brands introduce and launch their latest models in a new and engaging manner to their audience. By allowing users to explore each and every corner of the car in great detail, it can replicate the physical experience. From an Amazon AR shopping experience to trying out accessories and cosmetics in virtual reality, this will change the entire online shopping landscape.
An on-ground outlet too can be modified into an augmented reality shop. Salesmen can hand out phones and tablets through which customers can check out the entire wardrobe without having to wade through endless aisles or wait in long queues for trial. They can build their virtual avatar in just a few clicks and try on the many varieties available in that store.
Once they’ve finalised their choice, they can proceed to the billing counter to make the purchase. This allows brands to know which collection is getting more traction, understand user interests and trends better and use them to incentivise their sales.
It also rules out another major risk: in today’s time, the COVID pandemic has left businesses bleeding dry, as there is no intelligent alternative to a physical trail. With a virtual trial room in place, this risk can be completely mitigated, while allowing retail players to maintain high standards of hygiene and safety.
On the whole, the augmented reality shopping experience is as beneficial to brands as it is to customers. While it allows an immersive experience, leading retail players around the world are starting to see the benefits it brings to the table and are looking at ways to quickly integrate this technology with their platforms. In a matter of a few years, the augmented reality shopping experience will become the new norm - even the industry pundits agree.