Augmented reality (AR) technology entered the mainstream with the release of the now-iconic Pokemon GO app. But today, game developers aren’t the only ones using augmented reality to create clever mobile apps. The retail industry is one business sector that has found tremendous success with augmented reality apps, which serve to boost sales and improve a company’s bottom line. But how exactly is this achieved? Well, it’s all about engagement, convenience and rendering images that were previously exclusive to the user’s imagination.
AR Apps for Virtual Try-Ons
One of the major disadvantages of shopping online is the inability to try on clothing, accessories and other items, such as eyeglasses. Fortunately, developers have pioneered new technology that allows virtual shoppers to try on items in a virtual changing room.
GAP was the first retailer to release a virtual dressing room app that allows users to try on clothing. Notably, this app does not use AR technology. Instead, shoppers enter their height, weight and select a virtual avatar that will try on the selected garments. Still, it’s conceivable that we will soon see AR apps that allow users to point their mobile device at a full-length mirror and virtually try-on various clothing items.
Released in early 2017, GAP’s fitting room app not only increased sales, but it also reduced the number of returns. This resulted in improvements to GAP’s bottom line, as profits increased and expenses—such as the cost of shipping and restocking for returned garments—decreased. It’s possible that an AR mobile app could improve these figures even more. In fact, a number of high-end designers and eyeglass manufacturers are already using AR to allow a user to look into their device’s camera while the glasses are virtually tried on. This technology is available on many websites, including RayBan and JC Penney. The virtual fitting room could truly revolutionize the retail sector, as companies lessen their reliance on brick and mortar storefronts. After all, these storefronts are costly to staff and maintain. In fact, consumers could see prices drop by a fair percentage, and the virtual elimination of theft-related losses alone could spur a noticeable price reduction.
Augmented Reality Apps as a Utility
Our team created an augmented reality clothes fitting app called Fit Freedom, which allows users to not only perform measurements with the app but to also experiment with different colors and styles through an in-app design suite. The app was developed for Rebel Athletic, a retailer specializing in customized cheerleader uniforms.
The Fit Freedom app empowers coaches to scan each cheerleader, obtaining measurements in key locations, such as the chest, hips and waist. This data is then inputted into a computer program that initiates the manufacturing process for that custom-fitting garment. This new method is far faster and more convenient than the alternative: sending out “fit kits.” Coaches would use these “fit kits” to obtain measurements for each squad member. This measuring process is a bit invasive, so the digital body scan is not only faster and more accurate, but it’s also more comfortable.
Coaches also have the ability to preview and even modify various uniform styles and colors via the Fit Freedom app. Rebel Athletic is confident that this new technology will decrease company losses associated with returns and exchanges of ill-fitting uniforms (which, due to their custom nature, cannot be re-sold).
AR Apps Are Engaging
Many shoppers dislike pushy salespeople who approach and offer help with fitting. It can feel awkward at best and off-putting at worst, particularly in cases where you’re confronted by a rude or aggressive sales rep. This makes it difficult to engage the shopper in a meaningful way. That’s where augmented reality apps can be beneficial, as an app can be crafted such that there’s no sales pressure and the shopper is engaged in a manner that will bring results.
A well-developed AR mobile app holds the power to engage the user in a matter of seconds, while simultaneously providing greater insight into the garments, products or services the retailer is selling. What’s more, AR apps still maintain an element of novelty, as users generally don’t see this technology at work on a regular basis. This novelty is a major advantage that will likely be enjoyed by the retailers who opt to leverage this technology.
To create an effective and engaging augmented reality mobile app, you’ll need a developer with lots of experience in this and other emerging technologies. That’s where 7T can assist, as our development team focuses on augmented reality and a variety of other cutting-edge technologies, including machine learning, predictive analytics, blockchain, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and natural language processing.
Based in Dallas, 7T works with clients across Texas—including Austin and Houston—and throughout the United States. If you’re ready to discuss your project, contact our team today.