Among the features offered by augmented reality for e-commerce, the Try On is probably one that brands appreciate the most. This functionality is a real revelation for brands, as it has allowed them to get closer to customers, even during pandemic periods. But what exactly is Try On?
What is the point of Try On?
The Try On, in our case, is often associated with the term virtual to get Virtual Try On. Thus, it encompasses the fact of trying on items without having to actually touch them or enter a dressing room, but rather via augmented reality technology. It is a digital transformation largely stimulated by the pandemic health measures. Indeed, virtual fittings have become a necessity to maintain the customer-retailer relationship, as it is impossible to go to stores.
Even if the social distancing is one of the reasons that caused a great success to the virtual fitting, it is not the only one. First of all, we can talk about the enormous time-saving effect of this technology. Not to mention the fact that you don't have to go to the store, so you can buy at any time, the virtual try on offers the advantage of a quick trial. No need to go to the booth, to take off ones clothes, to go out to look at the mirror, to come back in the booth for the other outfit... With the virtual try on, all this is done in a simple slide of the finger. Another undeniable advantage of this particular AR filter is the size of the audience! This technology is supported, offered and consumed mainly by social networks, whose number of users is simply overwhelming. If we only take Snapchat, one of the leaders in terms of augmented reality technology on social networks, it counts 500 million monthly users.
Challenges to overcome
Given all its advantages, it would seem that Try On filters are the miracle solution for the current situation, the future of commerce and online shopping. Unfortunately, there are still a number of challenges that this technology has to face.
One of the challenges of online sales, and therefore of virtual try-ons, is to maintain the purchase decision. It is common that a potential customer, whose interest has been piqued, is very quickly discouraged by the lengthy and complicated procedures of trying on and buying. So much so that more than 2 out of 3 customers find it very difficult to buy online.
On the other hand, we can also talk about the other challenge which is the need for Customization. Since the experience of buying in a store is irreplaceable for the buyer, the difficulty of getting a personalized product makes any online purchase even less appreciated. Indeed, if the technology of augmented reality has evolved, consumers are quickly disenchanted when the 3D model does not blend so well with their silhouettes. Indeed, the proportions are not really considered, such as the size of the shoulders, the bust, the arms... In the end, what we get is the same article with several standard sizes to choose from. This is not very efficient when we know that customization is the key to selling.
Advances "made in" Snap
If these challenges gave a little trouble to the development of the virtual try-on, Snap was able to take them up and turn them into a strength. Indeed, the augmented reality technology developed by this company has been able to respond, and even more, to those elements that have been lacking until now in virtual fitting. All this was made possible by Snap's new Scan Tool, which is a better recognition tool, armed with a more advanced algorithm. The innovation in augmented reality technology initiated by Snap positively affects the virtual try on, and e-Commerce, in three aspects.
First, it provides better control over the experience. The user activates all the features of the effect by gestures (in front of the camera) and voice command (voice-enabled AR shopping). Thus, even if the user is far from the smartphone during the fittings (case of full-body experiences), he/she can still interact with the program without having to get closer to the phone: by talking, waving the hand, etc. This allows for an uninterrupted experience.
Secondly, this innovation allows for a better shopping experience. Snap owes this little feat to the improved analysis capacity of its Scan Tool (ML or machine learning technology) and to a partnership with brands. Indeed, the application scans the clothes that someone is wearing ( notify the person so as not to photograph them without their knowledge), or from your photos, and then offers the same (or similar) item sold by partner brands.
Thirdly, it is worth talking about the breakthrough in terms of personalization. Thanks to a new 3D Body Mesh, the tool allows a rendering closer to reality, that is to say more flexible and more respectful of the proportions of each user (True Size Technology). In addition, there is a better simulation of fabrics, for a more realistic experience. Innovations that Farfetch & Piaget have taken advantage of in their latest Lens on clothing and watch models. In addition, Lens Studio offers the possibility for anyone to modify preset models and try creating their own augmented reality experiences. An offer that emerging brands are sure to appreciate.
The most suspicious may dismiss the augmented reality try-on with the idea that it's just a pandemic phenomenon that won't survive it. However, this argument does not hold ground for two reasons. On the one hand, professionals are installing virtual shopping experiences in their stores, in anticipation of a post-pandemic use we can believe. On the other hand, social networks and e-Commerce are not about to lose all the advantages of this technology, which has proven to be indispensable. So why not include virtual fitting in your marketing strategy from now on?