In recent years, developments in technology have been on the rise.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are being utilised far more than ever before, particularly within the fashion and retail sectors.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, physical shopping has decreased, leading to a surge in internet shopping, with businesses making their products more readily available online.
AR and VR have evolved into innovative platforms, making the online shopping experience more engaging and interactive. The new experience is a visionary way for brands to engage their products with consumers and improve their buying journey.
One billion people globally use AR, with 32% of consumers interacting with the technology whilst shopping. The 16-44 year old demographic is most likely to engage with AR.
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AR and VR Differences
Both AR and VR provide new ways for consumers to browse products, try on clothing and increase sales.
Augmented Reality enriches the real world with digital features. Such as, QR codes can take you to an application that produces interactive content for the environment around you. In recent years, AR has been used in various ways, including a handheld planetarium with the Google Sky Map and the widespread smartphone game PokemonGo.
AR has added a whole new range of interactivity to the world of shopping. For instance, you can instantly gain access to information when scanning clothes in a store, going as far as letting you virtually try the garment on—a virtual pocket changing room.
Known as AR Try-On, it has become an effective and instant way to try products before committing to buy them without visiting a changing room.
Leading the charge are SnapChat and Instagram. The social channel SnapChat launched AR Try-On in Spring 2021. Users were able to try on clothes and accessories directly from the app. Responding to body movements, brands like Prada and FarFetch gave their products new ways to engage with an audience through the social media channel.
Scandinavian brand Carlings had a different approach to using Augmented Reality. Instagram users can use their smartphone to digitally superimpose different graphic designs to a shirt no matter how the wearer moves.
Virtual Reality differs from AR as it creates a whole new environment to be immersed within. It simulates Reality by putting the user in settings: a beach, a country, even space. VR is often used for entertainment and is particularly common in video games, but more recently, it has been utilised with success by fashion brands showcasing their products.
Since the advent of Covid-19, VR has frequently been used for hosting fashion shows.
Balenciaga hosted a VR show for its new collection in 2021. From the comfort of their own homes, visitors could watch the fashion show via a virtual reality runway using virtual reality headsets.
Brands Using AR and VR in Fashion
With AR and VR embracing the fashion industry, many brands have been taking advantage of the rising trend.
Burberry and AR
Burberry has been very active in embracing the world of AR. They partnered with Google back in 2020, bringing AR shopping in line with Google’s Search technology.
The tool was implemented in the UK and the US and gave their customers an entirely new experience, helping them explore their range ahead of a buying decision.
This was complemented with a campaign in 202 where users could create 3D Pocket Bag sculptures. The theme was influenced by Burberry’s maritime collection and fused the digital content with the physical surroundings of their customers.
Dior and AR
The French luxury fashion brand Dior, paired new technology with the Instagram channel.
AR-enabled filters provided a virtual way for try-ons of accessories such as hats and headbands. In addition, to promote their holiday makeup collection, the brand worked with makeup artists so users could recreate a virtual AR Firework style.
Working in partnership with Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram, another campaign focused on Dior-ID sneakers. Users could select different colourways of their sneakers and virtually put the shoes on their feet.
Chanel and AR
Chanel were early adopters of AR technology.
Way back in 2011, consumers could virtually wear their J12 watch from the comfort of their homes.
Chanel continued to experiment with AR. A physical boutique experience using an AR smart mirror gave their customers a unique way to try out different looks and accessories. With multiple angles, consumers could select from the original items that were featured in their runway show.
More recently, Dior launched Lipscanner technology. The AI technology can scan images and find complementary colours from Dior’s 400 lip range.
Considering skin tone colour, age and lip shape, customers could experiment with multiple colours to select the perfect match.
ASOS and AR
UK fashion and cosmetic retailer ASOS has been very progressive with its use of AR.
A ‘Virtual Catwalk’ feature was launched in 2019. Their customers could point their smartphone camera at a wall and look at models wearing selected items.
‘See My Fit’ is an ASOS smartphone APP. In 2020 customers could choose from 800 products and see how they looked on a range of different body types.
Virtual Fashion Retail Trends
AR and VR technology is continuing to develop at speed. When combined with the increase in eCommerce, it is clear that AR and VR shopping is set for a bright future.
Fashion shows will continue to influence how consumers fuse real life with virtual and augmented reality.
The use of AR and VR makes fashion retail more accessible to the public and also assists in making the sector more environmentally friendly.
Studies suggest that by 2025 12 billion dollars will be spent on AR in the retail sector, led by the Gen Z generation.
AR and VR have rejuvenated the shopping experience for consumers, offering new ways to browse products and making the shopping experience more enticing.
As more brands embrace the technology in innovative and resourceful ways, AR and VR will become a driving force for retail and fashion.
The future of virtual fashion shopping is now.