COVID-19 has transformed one thing for good.
However, that is not the only factor that revolutionized e-shopping. For example, I switched to eCommerce long before the pandemic. Reasons: I could buy the branded apparel anytime, anywhere. I didn’t have to visit the stores and spend half of my day shopping. However, I do miss the in-store shopping. Trying on things before purchasing, navigating through the store, checking the product quality, and so on.
When shopping online I am always unsure about the product that I would receive. I wonder if the product will be exactly as shown in the images. I often ask myself, “How will the product quality be?” In the end, choosing one feels like a challenge. Of course, if businesses don’t leverage AR. Because AR bridges the gap between physical and virtual shopping.
According to Tim Cook, “AR is set to modernize shopping and fashion runaways.”
It has the power to curb all the in-house challenges and instead boost sales with the enhanced customer experience and marketing campaigns. We can already witness it in the fashion industry. Look at the 61% of customers that prefer augmented reality experience for shopping.
Fashion industries’ move to AR is not only affected by the processes but how customers are embracing it. If you’re in the fashion industry, it’s high time you build an AR app. Because research says that 3.5 billion people, i.e., 44% of the world population, will be using AR by 2022.
Also, here’re some tips to help you implement augmented reality for clothing in your store.
Tips to Implement AR
1. Remove Purchase Uncertainty
As discussed, the biggest challenge of online shopping is purchase uncertainty. Customers can’t examine or access the product physically before the purchase. It leaves them astray. As a result, product return rates tend to go higher.
Fortunately, AR addresses this issue with a solid solution. While implementing augmented reality for clothing, enable the “virtual try-on” feature. It would give customers a better impression of the product. They can try the product in virtual space and conclude if it would suit them or not. And if they think it won’t, they can try another instead of purchasing and returning it later.
Overall, the virtual try-on feature would enhance the customer experience. It will give them a better judgment of the product. Most importantly, the uncertainty of the product’s worthiness would vanish.
If we look at the examples, brands like Nike and Zara have already embraced the technology to meet the ends.
2. Enhance Customer Experience
Humans expect more when it comes to shopping. When you say attractive images are enough, you need to change your approach.
With AR, brands can throw out 3D models for customer retention. Customers can view the product in 3D and decide if they want to add it to the cart. Certainly, they will! As the 3D effect not only gives them an idea about the product but also improves satisfaction. It provides customers with a single experience to view all the aspects of the product. Besides, the effects and a way to interact make the process quite effective.
Also, it would enhance product transparency. Customers can get what they see.
So, if you’re planning for an AR app, ensure it renders 3D views. After all, fashion is about making customers happy and confident.
3. Offer Advice
Customers don’t shop the way they used to before. Now they need advice and recommendation from social media. They read product reviews on the website before buying. That’s where you can add a flair with augmented reality for fashion.
You can provide a feature that would enable customers to scan and learn about the product. For example, scanning a product can redirect them to the ratings and reviews or social media accounts. There they can through customers’ posts wearing the same apparel—tweets and reels about the same.
Overall, they can learn about the product and its authenticity. They can also learn about different styles of wearing a product.
But don’t limit AR’s impact to pre-sales advice. Bring in interactive packaging. When a product is delivered, customers can point their screens at the packaging and view compelling visuals.
Heinz, for instance, used interactive packaging to provide customers with tomato ketchup recipes.
Similarly, you can provide interactive packaging to provide customers with different clothing styles using the product or the cloth cleaning and usage instructions (“avoid washing in hot water”) that are often taken for granted.
4. Overcome Customer Objections
The biggest problem of buying online is size. Size varies from brand to brand and since buyers can’t try on, choosing a size is a gamble. However, AR can overcome this challenge with virtual fitting rooms/contactless trials. Hence, implement AR in your fashion business.
The easiest way to explain how virtual fitting rooms would work is with an example. GAP created a virtual fitting room that allows customers to try clothes based on their type and size. The interactive app allows users to try on apparel and identify if it fits them.
Likewise, you can add virtual fitting rooms to your AR app. If you want to boost your in-store sales, you can add contactless trial rooms with smart mirrors. It’s another advantage of AR.
5. Allow Customization
Personalization is a hot trend. Customers all over are looking for ways to customize their products, like t-shirts, etc.
So, integrate it within your AR app. Here’s how.
When you allow customers to try on a product using different colors and sizes, let them customize it. Provide them with options available in the designer tool, or ask your developer to sync the product designer tool with your AR app. The way they flip the available colors of the t-shirt to see what suits them, they can scroll through clipart, stickers, and other elements. They can add quotes, change text, font, elements, etc. Overall, they can design their t-shirt while wearing it virtually.
6. Provide Security
Be it the fashion business or any other retail business, online payment is still a question for most customers. They don’t find it safe to share their bank details with businesses. So, if you want to avoid that, add AR to your payment services just as the House of Holland fashion brand did.
They integrated the AR experience developed by VISA and Blipper that allowed in-store visiting customers to identify the product, select the size, and purchase simply by holding a smartphone in front of the product and tapping through.
For online shopping, you can try on MasterCard’s AR feature. It uses iris to log in to the account and do a transaction. You can provide your customers with a likewise solution. For instance, if you allow them to pay via VISA or MasterCard, you can integrate the payments’ AR feature with yours. This way, customers can scan their iris and make the payment without entering their pins and login credentials.
7. Encourage Self – Support and Better Communication
Use AR to provide self-support after the purchase is made. Allow customers to scan their products and view the relevant information related to the product or brand. It can be FAQs, blogs and articles, or upcoming events, press releases, etc.
With augmented reality for fashion, you can allow your customers to go behind the scenes of fashion and enjoy the live streams of a runaway show. One of the popular examples of this is Balmain, a French Luxury Fashion Brand. It launched an app that would allow customers to view Paris’s runaway from their comfort of their home.
Another in line is Singapore’s luxury fashion brand BlinQ. It revolutionized the concept of self-support and communication. It allows users to choose how they want to consume fashion. Whether they want to purchase, rent, subscribe or pay later for designs from a major brand.
Similarly, you can enable your customers to view the fashion shows or other live events of the brands. The augmented reality for clothing can also help your customers try on the upcoming designs and give their feedback, generally known as digital couture.
8. Address Customer Grievances
Try before buy, 3D preview, virtual fitting rooms, self-service, and knowledgeable resources together would reduce returns and faulty problems. But still, if a product, say, a t-shirt, is torn or not in good condition, customers should be able to address it. However, it can get tricky. Sometimes, explaining what exactly is wrong with the product can be challenging. Therefore, while you build an AR app, make sure it has a feature to report faults.
You can allow customers to hold their phone to a product and show service agents what’s wrong with it rather than explaining it with words.
A Word of Advice
AR is a changemaker. It is transforming our online shopping behavior with an in-store experience and beyond. As for the fashion industry, the transformation is drastic and rapid. Every day, a brand is launching an AR app to enhance the customer experience.
If you too are in it, you must leverage augmented reality for fashion. It will reshape your fashion business with virtual try-on, fitting rooms, digital couture, and more.
Lastly, you can use augmented reality for clothing to improve your in-house experience like Lily, a fashion brand did with its pop-up store on the Shanghai subway station.
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