The recent integration of AR and VR have innovated shopping. Customers are able to experience a personalised shopping journey that is unique to them and encourages engagement with the fashion brand. This is the first big step into enabling the future of retail to become more immersive.
Explaining AR and VR
Digital experiences have made it easier for brands to engage with their audiences. One billion people worldwide are using AR across all industries, and 32% of consumers are using it while shopping. VR is becoming more popular every day and is becoming one of the most effective ways for brands to debut and present their products to a wider customer base.
Defining Augmented Reality
AR is essentially a mixture of the physical and virtual worlds. It provides digital enhancements to complement a real world experience and make it that much richer and deeper.
Scanning QR codes is the easiest gateway into unlocking the digital world. From here, customers can view any number of things from informative pop-ups about the products you scanned to digital boutiques where you can try clothes on virtually. It adds a new layer of fun and interaction to the shopping experience, giving customers a new way to explore the clothes they love to wear.
AR emphasizes fun and imagination. Shopping has become a routine, maybe even mundane, part of people’s day to day lives. Digital enhancements can bring the activity back to life and renew people’s enjoyment of shopping. It’s so much more than wandering around a store or clicking a button on a website.
AR Try-On is the most popular form of AR in the fashion world, even used on social media like Snapchat. It allows customers to try out products before purchase without going through the usual hassle of a physical changing room. It also allows users to share their looks on social media, getting brands and products more awareness and increasing popularity and user engagement.
Defining Virtual Reality
VR primarily involves the creation of a completely digital space parallel to the real world.
It is becoming a popular choice for fashion shows like the 2020 Balenciaga show, allowing big fashion names to experiment with the virtual world. Brands can get more creative than ever in designing settings and can help audiences to engage more intimately, bringing the thrill of the catwalk into their homes.
In the future, VR could even become a unique staple of the regular shopping experience. Imagine shopping in a whole new world adjacent to the physical world we live in. The possibilities could take a customer anywhere from a Victorian-themed collection to a cosmic outer space collection. The creative potential is endless.
It proves that there is so much more that VR can still do for the fashion industry as it becomes more mainstream and readily available to the general public.
Fashion Brands That Have Gone Digital
AR and VR are the biggest trends in fashion at the moment and every brand wants to prove that they are the one to beat which only serves to give customers greater and more immersive shopping experiences.
Dior has partnered up with Instagram to give social media users a chance to sample make-up and accessories to make the Instagram experience fresh and engaging while also increasing enjoyment for the Dior brand, allowing users to share their looks to increase awareness of products.
Dior have also made strides in gaining a foothold in the VR world. Dior Eyes provides a special backstage look at how models get ready for a fashion show, revealing a part of the fashion world not often seen by the public, increasing exclusivity and making the brand more engaging.
Chanel has worked with FarFetch to create dressing rooms where customers can select items before travelling to a boutique and letting the smart mirror showcase their choices and let them see what they’d look like. This modernises the buyer’s journey, linking the real and digital worlds for a full and rewarding experience.
Chanel also debuted their Lipscanner in 2021. Scan any image, find a match or similar colour within their hundreds of products and then experience that colour on yourself. Digitally trying on lipstick allows for maximum creativity, allowing customers to explore all their options and take as long as they want to find the colour that’s right for them. The Lipscanner compiles data on skin tone, age and lip shape.
In February 2020, Burberry and Google teamed up to unite Google Search with AR to give US and UK customers a new and engaging way to learn about Burberry products. They also created an AR experience for their audience to make 3D Pocket Bag sculptures as a way for them to engage with the SS21 campaign, increasing immersion and creativity.
ASOS launched a Virtual Catwalk on their app in June 2019 which enabled users to see models exhibit clothes right before their eyes. They also launched See My Fit which showcases what different clothes look like on different body types. This helps users to determine how clothes might look on them before buying them, making the buying process easier and more informative.
Benefits of AR and VR Shopping
Fashion retail has become a lot more engaging and interactive since the introduction of AR and VR into the industry, improving how clothes are sold and making the journey much more intimate for customers.
Enhancing Awareness of Fashion Brands
Social media is the biggest frontrunner in increasing awareness of clothing brands as users share their experiences and promote fashion products to their platform. This has the potential to inspire their followers to become customers themselves, increasing the success of the brand.
Increasing Retail Interactivity
VR and AR shopping puts the customer right in the middle of the shopping process so that everything revolves around them and what they want to get out of their journey. This new level of intimacy makes the shopping experience more interactive, increasing customer satisfaction and encouraging them to return to a brand and make future purchases.
Layout of Clothes
The large size of a physical shop can sometimes make it difficult to find what you’re looking for. VR shopping can make the layout simpler so it is easier to find items, making the whole experience smoother and encouraging more sales.
AR Changing Rooms
Ever been stuck in a long queue for the changing room? AR eliminates the need to queue by putting everything on your phone. Instantly trying on clothes makes the shopping experience more positive and efficient as well as a lot more engaging, reinvigorating the trying-on stage of the shopping journey.
Future Trends in Virtual Fashion Retail
AR and VR will only continue to make huge improvements and advancements to the fashion industry.
AR in retail is set to be worth 12 billion dollars by 2025, with one in three of Gen Z shoppers projected to be shopping with AR by 2025. 44% of Snapchat users have said they would prefer to use AR to shop for clothes and accessories.
Shopping has become more inspiring than ever before, bringing the magic of a physical shop into people’s homes and giving them power over their shopping experience.
Brands continue to utilise the revolutionary technology, blending it with products ad customers to create a seamless and flawless experience designed for maximum satisfaction. The digital age is ruling the world right now and with the support of social media, the VR and AR influence on shopping will continue to get more and more impactful.