THE FUTURE OF RETAIL: TRYING ON POST PANDEMIC

Amidst a global pandemic, fashion brands look towards immersive technology to create unique and personalised in-store experiences for consumers

According to an article by Euromonitor and the State of Fashion report 2020, a key consumer trend of 2020 is the need for exciting experiences. Therefore, it is no surprise that fashion brands are beginning to implement experiences into their shops for consumers such as the ability to take a yoga class, have a coffee or try some personal styling. However, there is one method that can particularly benefit brands during the global pandemic and add to the customer store experience. This is the use of immersive technology techniques such as augmented reality and virtual reality to provide a virtual try on experience for consumers.

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With fitting rooms currently closed in stores and consumers not wanting to touch anything due to the pandemic, this technology provides a solution to try on clothes without physically touching the product. Yan Feng, an assistant professor at San Diego State University states the importance of virtual try on during the pandemic: “people are afraid of going to physical stores, so they’re choosing the virtual”. The technology is beneficial as it limits the amount of human contact a customer has with others in store, minimising the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Brands such as Jimmy Choo, Rebecca Minkoff and Charlotte Tilbury have previously made use of ‘magic mirrors’ to allow consumers to virtually try on clothes and makeup in their stores. According to an article by Vogue Business, these brands already using virtual changing rooms, are seeing an increase in the value of orders placed, up 400% from 2019.

There are many benefits to virtual try on technology; for both brands and consumers-

1. Personal Styling

The technology can take on the form of a personal stylist, providing options on colour, style etc based on the consumers previous purchases. This can help to reduce the hassle of looking around the shop for a product and allows for a quicker shopping experience, as consumers can buy the products instore or use a QR code or receipt to pay from their phone. This can benefit brands as they will gain more insights into consumers spending habits.

2. Social Media Sharing

Brands can encourage consumers to share their virtual try on experiences on social media platforms. By doing this, the brand has an opportunity to go viral and create a collective experience for consumers. Here, consumers can end up becoming marketers for the brand, advertising with word-of-mouth communication on social media.

British luxury brand Burberry has successfully done this before, when they launched the ‘Burberry Booth’ (2015), in partnership with Google. The Booth allowed consumers to film their own version of the brand’s advertising campaign, and personally star in it themselves.

3. It Reduces The Amount Of Online Returns

Virtual try on has the potential to help us all to return less of our online orders. Research has found that one third of online returns are due to issues with sizing. Many brands such as ASOS already offer online fit assistants however, advancements to technology have made it possible to include three-dimensional (3D) full body scans. Here, a consumers size can be calculated from the scan and information provided.

Swiss brand Meepl, uses this technology and provides consumers with size recommendations in known high street retailers such as Topshop and Zara. If you want to have a virtual try on experience why not take a look at Meepl and see what you think?

Luxury brand Gucci also have a virtual try on experience on their app which you can try out for free. They have a section dedicated to virtually trying on some of their shoes and accessories. Like me, you may not be able to afford anything on the app, but it’s still a really fun experience and worth taking a look. It’ll give you some insight into what the future of trying on looks like.

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*Disclaimer- Photos are not my own and are sourced from Google Images and Pinterest