Like Charles Darwin once said, “It is the most adaptable to change that will be able to survive” — and the same goes for players in the fashion retail industry. With the rapid expansion of technology and digitalization across all industries, the implementation of augmented and virtual reality for fashion brands should no longer be treated as an unworldly, sci-fi-esque scenario, but rather as a promising business opportunity. Both AR and 3D imaging promise great benefits for online and offline retail businesses. And here’s how.
Online shopping is booming more than ever, attracting over 60% of millennials and more than half of Generation Z shoppers. Offline retailers therefore need to provide their customers with an equally exciting and unique shopping experience in order to attract and, most importantly, retain this customer base. Immersive shopping, which is powered by AR technology and high-quality 3D scanning, provides opportunities for offline retailers to make their shopping easier, faster and more enjoyable. For instance, one of the most promising uses of AR in offline retail is interactive mirrors, which is where the customer can “try on” different clothes, footwear, and even jewelry and make-up by simply clicking on items on an interactive screen. Although the technology is at the prototype stage at the moment, the potential for increased customer engagement is so big, there is no doubt that these types of mirrors will be implemented in most stores very soon.
Augmented reality also makes the offline shopping experience more interactive and exciting. Stores become more attractive for the consumer when they are complemented by additional information that can be unlocked via an app, or by scanning a QR-code with a smartphone. This technique attracts tech-savvy users and helps to increase their involvement with the brand, making their shopping spree more educational and entertaining. This is why many brands, from mass-market giants like Zara to high-end luxury brands like Chanel, have made their flagship boutiques interactive. The use of virtual reality is also on the rise. In 2018, H&M, in collaboration with luxury brand Moschino, staged the very first fashion show that took place completely in a virtual space. Experts expect this practice to become the standard by 2025.
Online retail may also benefit from the implementation of cutting-edge AR, VR and 3D visualization technologies. The accurate 3-dimensional representation of goods is a powerful tool for attracting more conservative shoppers (baby-boomers, for instance) to online retail sites. The reason is that the consumers, who are used to shopping exclusively offline, want to be able to see the items as they appear in real life. This need stimulated one of the world’s largest online retailers, ASOS, to launch the 3D catwalk — a video service where the customer can see the clothing items on models in movement. It is only a matter of time before other online retailers catch up and replace their flat, two-dimensional product images with high-resolution 3D images.
Augmented reality also has tremendous potential for online shopping, with companies such as IKEA launching smartphone apps that help customers visualize how IKEA products will fit into their homes. The beauty industry is also picking up the trend, with established make-up manufacturers like Max Factor introducing apps for trying on their products online. Retail giants like Macy’s and Neiman Marcus have invested in creating exact virtual reality copies of their offline stores to provide their customers with an opportunity to shop at their favorite department store directly from home.
It has been reported by Digi Capital that the AR and VR market will generate $120.2 billion in revenue by the year 2022 — and these technologies are widely integrated across various industries, including fashion retail. Therefore, it is time to integrate immersive shopping into your business in order to stay relevant — and it is best to do so alongside a team of skilled professionals. It is quite challenging to find a company that combines retail expertise and cutting-edge technologies. This is where Cappasity comes in. Cappasity, a graduate of the LVMH “Maison de Startups” program, offers its customers the opportunity to generate high-quality 3D content and integrate 3D visualization, augmented reality and virtual reality technology to create an engaging immersive shopping experience that boosts sales. The combination of an innovative approach to retail and a deep understanding of technology results in actual, measurable rates of consumer engagement and an increase in conversion rates.
Overall, the implementation of augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D visualization provides development opportunities to both online and offline retailers. The talks and showcases at NRF 2020, one of the biggest retail conferences in the world, confirmed that these kinds of immersive technologies are the future of retail, for this year and beyond. An engaging and immersive product page is especially valuable, and Cappasity was one of the companies that presented a highly successful demo of such a product page at NRF 2020. Cappasity’s product page stands out amongst competitors because it comes fully ready to function and support your existing customer base.
It is high time for fashion retailers to step into the future, because it’s much closer than they might think.