Are AR Fashion Apps Really the Future of Fashion?Jan 22, 2023 | 0 Votes by Mel - rate Augmented reality (AR) apps for shopping have become the best solution for online shops as they can easily transform into virtual dressing rooms. They give users a chance to try on AR clothing, persuading them to finally hit that “buy” button.
According to studies, when brick-and-mortar stores manage to get their shoppers into dressing rooms, conversion rates shoot up a whopping 67%. Turns out, once customers receive a chance to try on clothes or shoes, they feel much more inclined to buy something. Plus, the barrier between a customer and a product simply disappears when they can experience the product and finally feel confident to spend money.
So, dressing rooms are a proven tool to drive in sales. But how do you bring the dressing room experience to online stores since, frankly, a majority of us choose online shopping these days? Augmented reality (AR) apps for shopping have become the best solution for online shops as they can easily transform into virtual dressing rooms. They give users a chance to try on AR clothing, persuading them to finally hit that “buy” button.
Most online shops provide buyers with photos and descriptions of the products. However, that’s not enough. Today, shoppers want to experience things, interact with them, and ensure that they will receive exactly what they ordered. And shopping apps for Android and iPhone solve this problem effortlessly.
Augmented Reality provides a real-world experience as an overlay. The technology can recreate realistic environments by layering videos, images, and 3D content on top of real-world objects. Delivering AR experiences is not limited to headsets. AR can be deployed on smartphones with projectors and non-specialized hardware.
Augmented reality shopping applications help users try AR clothing, find the perfect size and color, and buy the chosen items in one click. AR can also provide users with valuable information about clothes because it permits overlaying text and images over physical objects.
According to ABI Research, by 2022, over 120,000 stores will leverage augmented reality. With the number of AR-capable devices in the world expected to grow to over 4 billion, companies should take note. Augmented Reality in fashion is transforming the way companies engage customers. This technology enables customers to experience products virtually from the comfort of their homes and can help consumers understand what they’re buying, making it easier to meet customer expectations.
Ultimately, this leads to higher-post purchase satisfaction and increases brand loyalty. In this article, we’ll discuss Augmented Reality in fashion, how it helps brands increase customer engagement, and how to build brand loyalty with AR.
The benefits of using augmented reality in fashion are many and include the following:
The novelty of AR is exciting to consumers. Many will find AR entertaining and rewarding. They often want to try it again and refer friends. With AR, companies can create the impression that there is no perceived product substitute thus eliminating pricing as a competitive strategy. When customers believe there is no substitute, they are more likely to keep your brand at the top of mind when making purchasing decisions.
Companies using Augmented Reality benefit from increased revenue. When customers experience products before purchasing them, it deepens their sense of ownership. Customers who feel as though they already own the product are likely to purchase it. Think of a sales rep who is eager for you to try on that new pair of shoes. When you try them on, you are 80% more likely to purchase them.
The AR experience is also a great opportunity for companies to educate customers and offer more in-depth content beyond the packaging and label. It also presents the perfect opportunity to upsell companion products or accessories.
Immersive experiences are also a great way to drive customers to brick-and-mortar locations. Customers may want to visit the store to ask questions, see products in person or explore additional products the company may offer.
AR isn’t limited to online stores. Companies with brick-and-mortar locations can use technology in the store to enhance the shopping experience. For example, Walmart developed an AR app to drive customers to the stores in December 2018. Customers could scan codes with their phones to activate AR content sponsored by consumer brands. AR activities also included virtual sleigh rides, mini-games, and face filters. Shoppers could then share these experiences on social networks, which helped drive additional shoppers to the stores.
Rich and Immersive Customer Experience
Immersive experiences elicit emotion which is a significant factor in a consumer’s decision to purchase a product. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” is key to marketing and advertising initiatives. Studies have shown that 47% of consumers acknowledged that immersive technologies make them “feel more connected with products” while shopping online.
Immersive experiences elicit emotion which is a significant factor in a consumer’s decision to purchase a product. Rather than forcing a consumer to imagine how a product will look, AR in fashion allows the user to experience the product firsthand in a digital environment.
Potential to Go Viral
AR-driven immersive experiences are often worth talking about, upping their shareability potential and encouraging people to pass them along. Viral content means people are sharing it nonstop with family and friends.
Going viral increases brand recognition and audience base. Fashion companies need brand recognition to build trust and acceptance. Once trust is established, customers are more likely to try the experience for themselves and are more likely to become customers.
Another benefit of going viral is that it can help reduce costs on marketing. Shareable experiences mean customers will promote your product for you.
According to research firm Statista, product returns can cost as much as $550 billion per year. One of the main reasons for returns is that the product didn’t meet the customer’s expectations. They bought a product based on a stock photo, only to realize upon receiving it, that it wasn’t what they imagined.
Allowing customers to experience the product in an augmented world lets them see firsthand whether they will like it. Case in point, retail giant Macy’s “try before you buy” AR product visualization helped the company reduce return rates to less than two percent.
Boosts Buyer Confidence
Buyers want to be confident in their purchasing decisions. It has been shown that 47% of consumers are willing to pay extra for a product if they are allowed to customize or personalize the immersive experience themselves from their devices at home.
Provides Valuable Consumer Insights
Conducting market research is invaluable to improving marketing efforts. AR technology keeps users engaged with the product which gives marketers insight into valuable information. Marketers can gather information such as: What fashion products are the most popular? What products are the least popular? How long does it take for a customer to decide on a product? What features are most important to customers? What new features do customers want to see?
This information is beneficial to help companies reach out to previous customers with customized ads. It can also be used to guide indecisive customers down the sales funnel. If a company has insights into why customers leave without purchasing, they can craft their sales funnel to encourage customers to continue the sales journey.
Social Media AR Fashion Filters
AT filters work with your camera to generate special effects for images. The filter superimposes these effects on top of faces. Social media users are excited about filters, as they provide a novel way to express themselves and communicate with other users and brands.
According to Instagram, a third of the most viewed Instagram stories were for businesses. Additionally, people use AR filters an average of 75 seconds, which is 4x longer than mobile video. All of this presents a huge opportunity for the fashion industry to build a brand following using AR filters.
Filters provide a memorable experience, which is great for increasing brand recognition and improving customer loyalty. Companies that provide great filters give customers something to talk about and ultimately share with others. The result of which increases a company’s market reach with very little marketing cost expended.
Enhances Product Launches
AR can take the monotony out of product launches. Whether using app-based or web-based AR, a virtual product launch becomes a novel, exciting idea that puts the product directly in the consumers’ hands to explore the product firsthand in a virtual world without the need for in-person demos. It is a cost-effective way of showcasing a product without the need for costly shipping and returns costs for customers to try on products.
Launching a product using AR allows companies to capture a consumer’s complete focus. When immersed in an augmented world in the privacy of their own space at their own time, customers are less likely to be distracted thus allowing them to completely evaluate the product.
Product launches using AR afford companies complete control over designing the space. They can create new and exciting worlds and backdrops for customers to experience the product at their own convenience and privacy. Giving customers a chance to try on the product from the comfort of their home empowers them to be confident in their purchasing decision. Ultimately, engaged and satisfied customers are likely to be loyal customers.
Challenges Connected with Immersive AR Technologies
Some challenges still need to be overcome for AR’s successful and common application in fashion and e-commerce in general. The first one is about the practicality and tracking accuracy of the AR experiences. AR tech is perfect for the virtual trying-on of rigid shapes; that is why selling watches, shoes, and sunglasses using AR can be done with relative ease and accuracy. AR, however, becomes more challenging to apply when it comes to the three-dimensional aspects of apparel and how it can realistically and accurately look at people virtually.
Thanks to AR and the opportunities it presents for customers to try on clothing virtually, shoppers won’t have to worry about ordering clothes of the wrong size or color, and the concept of buyer’s remorse will disappear eventually.
Nevertheless, most challenges regarding the wholesale use of AR in fashion are not about devices or accessibility; it’s about the time needed to make immersive tech more realistic, advanced, and customer-friendly. Immersive AR technologies may be in their infancy, but they are mature enough for the fashion industry to spearhead its use today. And fashion and retail industries create and influence tech and social media trends that many businesses eventually start following later.