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Shopping in the Age of Augmented Reality

From make-up tutorials to connected fitting rooms, the retail experience is evolving rapidly.

Shopping in the age of augmented reality has become very different. Until recently, the experience of shopping for clothes had not changed for generations: You show up at a store, you pick the clothes you want to try on, you make several trips to the fitting room, and then you lug all the chosen pieces to the cashier. Shopping for cosmetics, meanwhile, had a tendency to be a pursuit based on trial and error. With more people choosing to do their shopping online, however, retailers have had to rethink the experience of shopping at their brick and mortar stores. Their answer? New technology including augmented reality.

Burberry on Regent Street

With the opening of their flagship store on Regent Street, London, in 2012, Burberry added a number of innovations one would not tend to associate with a now 160-year- old brand. While retaining the timeless charms of the 1820 building that houses it, Burberry created an immersive environment – complete with changing “weather” – for its clientele using 100 screens and 500 speakers. With RFID chips woven into selected items, customers are able to access relevant product information with ease on fitting room mirrors that double up as screens. These screens also show runway footage featuring the chosen items and are capable of streaming live content

Rebecca Minkoff Connected Store

Opened in 2014, the Rebecca Minkoff Connected Store expanded on the fitting room experience, providing customers with a wide array of brand content related to their personal preferences, giving them stylist tips and allowing them to book one-on- one stylist sessions with touch-screen mirrors. Customers are also able to change lighting settings – from “Default Average” to “Brooklyn Morning” and “SoHo after Dark” – and with the help of RFID chips, customers can call for items in different colours or sizes without having to leave the room.

Tommy Hilfiger VR runway

Further integrating the everyday shopping experience with the glamour of runway shows, Tommy Hilfiger added Samsung GearVR headsets to its arsenal in October 2015. These headsets immersed customers in a 360-degree video filmed from a prime location right next to the runway at the Park Avenue Armory in New York.

Sephora “Beauty Board”

Moving from fashion to cosmetics, Sephora launched a new retail model at its store in San Francisco which opened in November 2015. Drawing inspiration from YouTube make-up tutorials, Sephora’s “Beauty Workshop” gives customers (up to 12 at one go) the opportunity to follow tutorial videos using the actual cosmetics featured in them, with Sephora staff on hand to provide expert tips. On the digital “Beauty Board” at each station in the workshop area, customers can search for products based on their skin tone and hair texture.

At Appearition, our goal for the retail industry is simple – tailored solutions that maximise ROI and deliver sustainable stakeholder value. We employ a partnership model driven by by principles in change management to ensure the complex mesh created by our solutions makes sense for our clients. Contact us to find out more.

Source: Vogue UK, NY times

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