Avant-garde. An elegantly-pronounced French word whose meaning paradoxically glorifies a striking rebellion against any rules of conventionality. Commonly used to embody a progressive way of thinking, the fashion term is now reaching new heights with its embrace of augmented reality. Augmented reality is the enhancement of real-world environments with superimposed computer-generated images over a user’s view of the reality as it exists.
With rich potential to shape both consumers’ perception of a brand and shopping habits, global fashion retailers such as Zara, Burberry and Lacoste are already strutting the digital tool to see how far they can push the limits. It is now just a matter of time before all other retailers take notice and follow the latest trend in the world where digitalisation is in and poor shopping experiences are out.
Consumers’ Perception of Augmented Reality in Retail
In October 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook graced the pages of Vogue UK to speak about the rising need to begin integrating augmented reality in retail shopping experiences. “I don’t think there is any sector or industry that will be untouched by AR,” he said. In fact, as an auspicious sign of times to come, Apple launched ARKit to aid software developers in creating AR experiences on iPhones and iPads. It is clear that as digitalisation and technology advances, consumers will only hope to see such changes applied in practical terms. Imagine how a dress can fit without never needing to try it on or even leaving the comfort of home. More digital presence means better shopping experiences. Memorable experiences converts to higher profits and stronger brand loyalty.
Here are the facts: (Provided by DigitalBridge)
- 74% of consumers expect retailers to integrate augmented reality in shopping experiences
- 51% of consumers do not believe that retailers make the most of all technology available, resulting in poorer shopping experiences
- 33% of consumers would be more likely to purchase in the moment if given the opportunity to use augmented reality platform first
- 50% of consumers would be more opened to shopping with a brand that offered an augmented reality platform
Global Retail Fashion: Designing a New Reality
Here are a few of the many global retail fashion companies taking a lead in premiering augmented reality in the shopping experience. While such brands rally customers to “Shop the Look”, perhaps “Live the Look” would be better stated.
Image Credit: VR Scout
Inditex-owned, fashion retailer Zara redefined the catwalk this past April 2018, launching augmented reality displays in 120 stores. The AR features include showing models parading selected looks from the fashion line within a store or shop window. Customers can click on the the clothing item for purchase.
Video Credit: Engine Creative
In 2014, French clothing company Lacoste debuted a 3D-product scanning mobile app that allowed customers to see how a pair of trainers would fare. Customers only needed to place their foot on an in-store graphic and watch as the trainer image superimposed around it. Trainer details were available as well as the option to purchase directly. Images could also be shared on social media.
Image Credit: Bloomberg
With the aid of Apple’s ARKit toolset, high-end fashion brand Burberry welcomed users to digitally redecorate their environments with Burberry-inspired drawings. Drawings were designed by artist Danny Sangra. Users were able to upload such images in iconic Burberry frames to social media platforms.
Is Integrating Augmented Reality Enough?
One of the most singular aspects of the global retail industry is that while fashion fades, style is forever present. If this general norm can be applied to augmented reality, then it is that AR can only work wonders in the long term if there are core principles or guidelines to follow. As more and more brands integrate the advanced technology into their marketing repertoire, it is not merely enough to just impress. Augmented reality is a novel digital tool that in due time, will become commonplace and require brands to forge functionality and creativity together. When brands accomplish such a feat, shopping experiences are promised to be memorable and fruitful.