Adding AR to Fashion: A Matter of Necessity or Inevitability?

The adoption of immersive technology, such as augmented reality (AR), can improve customer service, drive sales, and reduce the staggering rate of return for fashion. But how can fashion brands keep up with AR integration growth set to explode in the next few years?

Augmented reality, an immersive technology that merges the physical and digital worlds by superimposing computer-generated pictures over real-world objects, is an unexpected but ideal fit for fashion commerce. Retailers can use augmented reality to fill the gap between the physical and online fashion retail experiences, turn any area into a fitting room, and provide a convenient solution to consumers’ sizing issues.

Only 1% of retailers use immersive technologies to improve the consumer experience today. Despite the fact that return rates are expected to rise as more people purchase online, major businesses are using augmented reality online shopping technologies to alleviate pain spots in the consumer experience. Today, with the AR market expected to reach $198 billion by 2025, companies don’t have much time to stay ahead of their competitors, according to Statista.

Augmented reality and fashion: creating the best clothing experience

By transforming standard product catalogues into engaging 3D experiences, AR in fashion retail provides a fun, new, and insightful approach for shoppers to explore a brand’s product range. Customers hold their smartphone up to a 2D image, and a lifelike 3D representation appears.

Retailers can use AR try-on solutions to allow customers to ‘wear’ these virtual items, pushing the technology even farther. AR technology can map a realistic, 3D depiction of a product onto the customer’s body using a camera-equipped device.

Virtual fashion and try-on can entice online customers by giving them a better look at a product than 2D photos can do, and thereby encouraging them to make a purchase.

Yet, technology has the potential to change the in-store experience. Customers will be able to try on products in a range of colors and styles without physically undressing thanks to magic mirror technology, creating a streamlined in-store experience for busy shoppers.

Why should retailers embrace AR for their fashion business?

Consumers will be able to make more rational purchasing selections with less effort if AR is used for shopping. Retailers will profit from increased loyalty, longer engagement, and higher conversion rates as a result.

1. Personalization

Customers may visualize multiple alternatives for producing items that are personalized to their style, shape, and tastes using augmented reality clothing fitting. According to IBM Watson, 75% of U.S. customers consider personalization to be crucial to a brand’s long-term viability. AR can help companies win over current consumers.

2. Engagement

A visitor’s likelihood of making a purchase increases the longer they spend on an e-commerce site. Customers will be more engaged with AR since it provides a pleasant and innovative approach for them to pursue things. According to Threekit, AR can keep customers engaged for 2.7x longer, resulting in increased conversions, more sales, and the conversion of new clients into repeat customers.

3. Conversions

Online fashion stores only convert 1.8% of customers, according to Littledata, compared with brick and mortar stores which convert 20-40%. AR can assist in virtualizing the in-store experience by allowing customers to view and interact with realistic, virtual product models via their smartphone device. With 62% of shoppers who have used AR claiming that it encouraged them to make a purchase, the technology may finally be able to bridge the gap between online and in-store conversion rates.

4. Returns

According to McKinsey, 70% of clothing returns are due to poor fit or style. Shopping online causes the problem to get worse since return rates for online sales are three times higher than those for in-store sales. AR clothing try-on solutions allow online buyers to try on clothing before purchasing it, resulting in fewer returns due to poor fit.

5. Loyalty

Retailers can create a smooth and trustworthy client journey by utilizing AR. Based on the most recent studies, addressing pain issues with AR might have a significant impact on future sales, with 70% of customers likely to be more loyal to brands who provide AR-enhanced shopping options.

The AR solutions assisting innovation in retail

Various solutions are already enabling businesses to attract additional value through the use of immersive technologies, according to PWC, which projects an increase in global GDP by about $1.5 trillion by 2030.

Augmented reality content

A novel way for businesses to engage with and advertise to their customers. Customers can expose ‘hidden’ material that is not apparent in the actual world by scanning tangible objects with a smartphone device, such as posters or clothes.

Balmain has already employed augmented reality content to persuade users to download and use its app. Users were able to access AR material such as an interactive tour of the brand’s Saint Honoré flagship shop by scanning posters placed throughout Paris.

Virtual showrooms

Customers can shop in a digital environment with virtual showrooms. Users can tour the area and interact with things as if they were in a physical store by moving their smartphone around the area.

The Kohl’s Augmented Reality Virtual Closet launched by the American store Kohl’s. allows customers to explore a virtual variety of items to create stylish combinations, all using Snapchat.

Magic mirrors

Customers can visualize various outfits without getting undressed with AR, which can be found on store floors and inside fitting rooms. Customers can swipe between numerous options and see them on their bodies quickly by simply standing in front of the mirror.

In the beauty industry, companies like MAC are increasingly experimenting with augmented reality. The brand has started putting out magic mirrors in its stores in collaboration with face tracking technology ModiFace, which allows shoppers to try on different colours of products.

Virtual try-on technology

Using this solution, customers need only a camera-equipped gadget to experience virtual try on clothes. Customers may see how a product would look on their body using AR technology, which overlays a virtual depiction of the object over a real-world image.

3DLOOK’s YourFit, the industry’s first 2-in-1 try-on and size recommendation tool, now includes augmented reality in clothing. To create a photorealistic, digital image of the client, an unique system recognizes particular body parts and collects elements of the user’s look, such as haircut and skin tone. All these take place within minutes. Customers can dress themselves up in digital clothing to understand how the product would fit their particular body dimensions rather than relying on 2D photographs.

Prepare to meet the AR based fashion

According to the GetApp report, 90% of respondents believe AR will be most useful when buying clothing online, indicating that the fashion retail sector will be among the most dramatically affected by the technology.

Fashion consumers’ demand for technology-driven experiences is growing in tandem with their usage of e-commerce. Soon, incorporating AR in retail will not be about staying ahead of the competition, but about surviving in a fast-paced fashion market.


Interesting Related Article: “What is retail? Definition and examples