$50 Bn Industry by 2024
AR is defined as “an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (such as a smartphone camera)” by the Merriam Webster dictionary. To simplify – AR overlays information in the form of text and images on the reality that exists around us. A simple camera in our smartphones can let us experience AR.
The increasing penetration of smartphones, with an estimated 3 bn users worldwide, has paved the way for endless technological advancements reaching the fingertips of the users. One of them is AR, thanks to the cameras being an integral part of the smartphone.
The AR market is a rapidly growing industry with an estimated market value of $50 billion by 2024. AR has the potential to impact every corner of the economy, ranging from medicine to automotive to entertainment and more. As big tech continues to invest more and more in AR, we can expect to see AR becoming a more integrated element of life.
- What is AR?
- AR in Fashion Retail
- Use Cases of AR
- Benefits of AR
- AR For You
- AR in B2B Marketing
- Future of AR
- To Sum it up
Photo – Burberry
AR does not build a completely new reality around you, rather adds information on top of what is already existing. The glasses or lens that you use for AR uses a camera, usually your smartphone’s camera, and then adds visual or textual cues to the things that you see through the camera. For example, more information about a painting at a museum or a random Pokémon that you must capture.
The entire world was caught in the flurry of PokémonGO which catapulted the creator company Niantic to instant fame. And yet, this is not the only example of AR being used to create empires.
Photo – Augray
Innovations in AR have had a gravitational effect on the Fashion industry, with many marketers utilising it as a marketing gimmick while others centring entire campaigns around it. Let us take an in-depth look at the role AR has played in Marketing and Fashion via a few case studies and understand how this technology is being implemented in the real world and its results.
AR in Fashion Retail
Fashion and Beauty is one of the fastest moving and most innovative industries and it has not just adopted AR graciously but also reaping superior ROIs already. Shopify tweeted that the products with AR content has 94% higher conversion in comparison to the product without AR. The past year and a half has seen a tremendous shift in online shopping presenting a unique and huge opportunity for augmented reality.In an interview with Vogue, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that Augmented Reality is set to modernise shopping experiences and fashion runways. “I don’t think there is any sector or industry that will be untouched by AR,” Cook said.Many like American Apparel and Sephora have found unique ways of dealing with it. Others have made virtual fitting rooms a reality for their customers. This allows customers to gain a try-before-you-buy experience from home. The possibilities don’t stop at home on consumers’ cell phones. While in-store, smart mirrors and RFID tags open up new avenues for product suggestions to customers.
Try Before You Buy
With consumer experience being of top priority, AR is a complete game-changer. People get what they want and more with this technology. It is easy to use and the satisfaction of being able to “try” it out is equal to shopping in the store – almost.
By utilizing lighting conditions around the user, advanced facial recognition, and personalized advice, AR retail experiences are set to radically change the consumer shopping experience.
Use Cases of AR
Suzanne HarwardVirtual View
Case Study #1
Industry: Wedding Dress
One of Australia’s leading wedding couture brands has come up with the Suzanne Harward Virtual View mobile application that transforms bridal gown shopping into an effortless and enticing experience for brides. Bridal shopping at home is a concept that would alarm any bride, but AR can come in and soothe her nerves.
Employing the inventive AR technology, the app enables the customers to view Suzanne Harward’s exclusive wedding couture collection on “life-size models” in the convenience of their homes, thus providing a comfortable and engaging experience. Brides can zoom into the intricate details, premium fabric and see the model in full 360 degrees, to visualise how each gown would appear in real life.
This paves way for more confident and informed decision making, which is proven to be a mutual benefit for both customers and retailers. Suzanne Harward Virtual View is available on iOS and Android.
Case Study #2
Industry: Fashion & Sports
Manipal Digital Systems made AR pages that show shoes from 360 angle. This enables the customer to look at every part of the shoe, from soles to toes or bag, and then make their choice. This product is also used as a B2B marketing tool to show others what the design would really look like. The system is also very easy to use as there is no specific app. Click on the link or scan the QR code and experience the product in your environment.
Let’s list down its benefits to get a better grasp of why the technology should be utilised as a marketing tool.
1. AR Trial rooms
Wanna Kicks is a sneaker brand that lets its users try a pair of sneakers on their feet, with added tracking features that enable them to move around freely.
With AR the customers can get an actual feel of the products that they are investing in. Digital trials are getting very popular. Instead of simply looking at 2D images, people can now try these products and at least get an idea of how they would look on this. This makes the experience of shopping interactive.
Sephora’s ‘Virtual Artist’ app was an immediate winner generating around 45 million hits in the first eight weeks. It gave the consumers a real-life make-up game to play while finding their perfect cosmetic products.
AR and the novelty that it brings is an organic engagement boost. People love the idea and want to give it a try. The experience is a pull that every brand needs for those extra stats, and the interactive set-up is perfectly suited for maximum conversions. According to Adobe, 38% of B2B buyers claimed AR would speed up their buying cycle — and it’s not hard to see why.
This again brings us to the point where AR is interactive. The engagement that it draws in is not only exciting but also very easy to convert.
3. Bringing the digital and real-world closer
AR does a very beautiful job of merging the digital world with reality. Nike did exactly that with their experimental ‘SNKRS Stash’ in Los Angeles. Users had to find specific locations via hints provided in the app and upon arrival at that location, they unlock access to limited edition and exclusive shoes.
The options to do great work open up tremendously when you can add digital elements to the world around us. It has an organic appeal that will last until something brings us closer to robots. In today’s day and age, we are surrounded by technology, but to have it be part of an audio-visual experience is an exciting experience. This is not true only at the consumer front, but also when dealing with B2B solutions, AR can be efficient and better than the tech we use currently. Here is how AR can serve a pivotal role for B2B companies and their success.
It is relatively easy to transform your static product images in AR and Interactive 360 with many companies offering expertise in the domain. But what do you need to get started and how much does it cost? 360 and AR for a product varies largely depending upon the complexity of the product. It starts around $500. To give you a better idea, transforming a pair of shoes would cost anywhere between $500 to $1500 and for a handbag, $700 – $1000.
The process involves you sharing product pictures from all angles or references along with its attributes like size, material, colours etc.
Manipal Digital Systems Pvt Ltd is one of the industry leaders that offer Interactive 360 and AR for products across domains.
Packaging and ideation in 3D
Give them a “feel” of the packaging. You can show them your clothes or accessories with their logo and brand colours, without having to actually manufacture samples. And, without losing the 3D effect! Instead of showing them 2D custom mock-ups or real samples that might end up in the trash, show virtual 3D samples that move and react to the augmented reality you’ve created. That’s what AR can bring to B2B marketing.
Interactive Catalogues, Demos and more
Say goodbye to boring brochures, flyers, and PowerPoint presentations. Your salespeople can carry an interactive experience via AR rather than boring documents. And instead of presenting, show what you offer to your customers. New designs, patterns, textures and even colours can be demonstrated. Less talk, more show! That’s what fashion is all about.
Data analysis and a better understanding
B2B companies work with a lot of data. Business owners are very particular about their stats and want to know the ins and outs of their data. Unfortunately, data is often hard for the average person to visualize. AR can be used to simply and show data in 3D making it easier to understand as well as analyse. Through this process the business owners can make informed decisions.
Consumers say they would shop more often if they used AR. 61% of consumers say they prefer retailers with AR experiences.
AR can help retailers increase conversions by up to 40%.
Yet, according to a report by Mobile Marketer, only 1% of retailers are using AR currently.
Powerful smartphones, fast mobile internet, platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Google with built-in AR technology, and specialized technologies like LiDAR and SLAM are advancing AR with fast wireless internet, Social media platforms with built-in WebAR, LiDAR, SLAM have begun to advance the AR experience towards the holy grail of any technology, where it drives sales rather than drawing attention to itself.
Brands like Ikea, Burberry, Snapchat, Instagram, Amazon, Gucci, Adidas etc. have already leveraged the power of AR to offer an unmatched customer experience. More and more brands, especially e-commerce, are integrating AR.
Augmented Reality is a boon to the retail industry. AR/360 videos and experiences can become the stronghold of fashion E-commerce and amp up the stakes higher than they are. As we progress and integrate technology into our day-to-day functioning, AR will become a norm, nay a necessity even in order to get the brand out there. Understanding how it works, what the audience needs and how to perfectly execute the technology and harness its complete potential. AR is the future of innovation and creativity not just in the fashion retail industry but others as well.