The global retail industry has seen many changes and transformations in the recent past. For
years, most of these changes were enabled by technology. This helped brands roll out a better
consumers experience, capture important user insights and even predict and tailor trends much in
Today, the same industry stands on the verge of another wave of transformation. While it is a
common fact that brands now own their space in the digital realm - from online shopping portals
to curated websites, it is likely that powered by a new kind of technology, brands can go further.
They can gain a whole new dimension in interacting with customers and offer a better sale
Making all this possible is augmented reality - the most exciting innovation of recent times. Also
commonly referred to as AR, it generally works on a smartphone and uses a camera to overlay
digital content into the real world. At the core of this solution is the AR Core. It’s a software
development kit developed by Google, which has many different tools that let augmented reality
applications come to life.
Augmented reality in fashion
In many ways, the fashion industry is tailor-made for augmented reality. Until now, buying
clothes meant visiting our favourite store to try on clothes. Or it meant ordering online, waiting
for days for the package to arrive and then trying it on. But with augmented reality in place, as
consumers, we can enjoy shopping in a new light.
With augmented reality in retail, brands can empower digital mannequins. These mannequins are
digital avatars of the consumer. They can be modified and altered to match the physical
appearance of the user down to the last detail. These mannequins allow digital trials, which
means that customers can apply their choice of clothing on to their digital avatars and technically
see how it looks on them. What makes this more exciting is that AR enables these trial rooms to
be selfie-based trial rooms.
Simply put, users are asked to click and upload a selfie. Once uploaded, the users’ face is created
in 3D and juxtaposed upon the digital avatar to create their digital twin. Right from the skin
complexion, the shape of the face to facial hair and more, a lot of features can be altered to create
the user avatar in real-time. This way, one can check and achieve a more accurate digital
representation of themselves.
These avatars enable customers to try on different clothes online, without ever having to step out.
They offer such a seamless, realistic and engaging experience that physical trials may soon
become redundant. By offering the option to create different and multiple environments, users
can see how their choice of clothing would look in different ambiences - this works well for
brands, as common consumer behaviour suggests that clothes are most often bought to meet the
requirement of a particular occasion.
By clearly painting an accurate picture, the digital trial room rules out all possibilities of the user
having to second-guess how he or she would look. This way, Augmented Reality in fashion has
limitless applications and can be used to empower brands to become smarter and engaging in
today’s competitive world.
These virtual trial rooms help brands take the store to users’ home. By accessing this diverse
wardrobe from their comfort, anywhere, anytime, the experience keeps user comfort at the
forefront. This enables customers to make more accurate purchasing decisions and in turn, allow
businesses to generate more money.
Augmented reality clothing solutions are all set to become a smart alternative to brands and
consumers alike. From the perspective of the consumer, it saves a lot of time. It reduces the need
to go to a physical outlet to try on different clothes. Similarly, while shopping online, consumers
need not wait for days together until their delivery arrives, only to realise what they’ve ordered is
not the right fit or doesn’t match the colour shown originally on the shopping portal.
The Augmented Reality shopping experience lets users see their selection on their avatars in
realtime and in dynamic lighting. Showcasing clothes in high-definition, users can see the tiniest
details of the garment in crystal-clear clarity and accordingly make their purchase. This reduces
the waiting time for the customers and more importantly addresses the ‘returns issue’ for
businesses, thereby saving lots of money.
Virtual reality in retail also addresses another great concern by empowering contactless trials. In
today’s time and age, the COVID pandemic has left businesses crippling. The strict social
distancing protocols can be overcome by deploying an augmented reality-powered digital trial
room. Since it mitigates the possibility of any contact, it also reduces loss due to risky clothes
trials by different customers, thereby ensuring a safe experience for all.
Additionally, in a physical store, more trials mean that the garments have more chances of
getting spoilt, torn or incurring any other physical damage. Digital trial rooms reduce damage to
clothes and also save the sales force from spending hours just folding and stacking the different garments tried by customers.
In a physical store, it also saves the customers from wading through crowded aisles and waiting
in line for trying on their selected clothes. Customers can be handed a tablet, which can be used
to try out the available options of clothing virtually. Brands can even use this to their advantage
and try to upsell more items, different styles and so on, to maximise and generate better sales.
Applicable and apt for e-commerce or physical stores, augmented reality in the fashion industry
allows businesses to dynamically evolve with the changing times. Technology’s most exciting
prospect yet, the virtual trial room has limitless application in varied sectors like cosmetics,
footwear, clothing and so much more.
Though still nascent in its development, augmented reality in fashion is sure to take off to new
heights, enabling brands to reach out to customers in new and engaging ways. Today, it is already
gaining validation from some of the leading retail players and many are quickly on boarding this
technology and integrating it with their platforms. It won’t come as a surprise if, very soon,
digital trials rooms become the norm.