It wasn’t so long ago that shoppers who didn’t live near a luxury mall had to rely solely on their imaginations to determine if something would look good on them or not.
Guided only by their best judgments (or PurseForum threads), many luxury consumers had to leave certain aspects of the decision-making process up to chance in hopes their new thousand-dollar purchase didn’t come with added buyers’ remorse.
Now famous brands like Gucci and Burberry have chosen to incorporate augmented reality (AR) features into their apps to help the growing number of online shoppers try before they buy.
What Exactly is AR?
AR, along with virtual reality (VR), is a type of ‘extended reality’ (XR) that superimposes computer-generated objects into a user’s real-world environment. This emerging technology sounds like something straight out of a Black Mirror episode to those who don’t know much about it, but most of us have actually already encountered it at some point or another.
Have you ever digitally tried on a lipstick shade through Sephora’s app? What about one of those cool futuristic fitness mirrors? Or maybe you’ve tested which style of sunglasses frame your face the best before placing an order? – That’s all thanks to AR!
According to a 2022 Statista report, this tech isn’t something most consumers think about much; Only 7 percent of British Gen Xers and 6 percent of subsequent generations say they consider it a driving factor when deciding on a purchase (stats on Americans were similar); however, it is something that retail strategists have reported as having real effects on consumer perceptions and behaviors when shopping online. Despite what many survey participants report, it’s AR is actually doing rather well in categories like cosmetics and home furnishings.
How Does AR Help Shoppers?
The benefits of AR-supported shopping channels help further convince people to buy something by closing part of the sensory gap between in-person and online shopping.
Whether we’re looking for the perfect bag or a sectional couch, we receive important mental feedback when we’re able to experience things in 3D. We can examine the object from every angle, getting a feel for how it will fit against our build, in a space, or if it’ll actually match the drapes. This ultimately increases cognition and makes us feel more comfortable going through with a high-priced purchase.
Pffft. Who needs tape measures, anyway?
Could It Be The Next Big Thing?
There’s no doubt that fantasizing about all the ways in which we would wear something has its own special place in the purchasing journey; However, receiving something that doesn’t meet your expectations will always be a bit annoying.
It’s hard to say if augmented reality will ever catch on in the luxury retail world. There’s still such low percentages of people relying on this technology, but it could be because AR supported channels still aren’t super commonplace. Nobody ever thought having robot voice assistants for mundane household tasks would catch on either, but look where we are now.
In my opinion, I think that AR will eventually be embraced, but only by a certain type of tech-loving consumer or those who have a lot on the line (ever tried to get a deposit back when exchanging anything wedding-related? I hear it’s next to impossible.)
The industry is already predicted to be worth a whopping 250 billion by 2028, so I get the feeling we’ll only begin to see more of it as time goes on.
Hopefully by then I can actually figure out if the Fendi Sunshine Tote is indeed too big for my frame or not.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever played around with augmented reality when online shopping? Do you think it could catch on? Would you even want it to?