How AR Strategies Can Drive Growth in Fashion & Beauty

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How AR Strategies Can Drive Growth in Fashion & Beauty

According to the Goldman Sachs Technology Research Group (GSTRG), virtual and augmented reality will grow to be a $80billion market by 2025. AR technology allows for the blending of the virtual and physical, which opens up new opportunities for fashion. This includes accelerating or shaping new paths towards purchase; increasing brand discoverability; connecting event- and commerce strategies; and tapping into a new Creator Economy.

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Held in New York’s Polo Bar under the Chatham House Rule, the event was designed to update market leaders on the size and nature of the AR opportunity, supported by data and insights from Snap Inc., before inviting attendees to share their own learnings in incorporating AR into their businesses, discussing with their peers both the challenges they have overcome and those they foresee in the future.

Hosted in partnership with Snap Inc. and moderated by BoF’s Rahul Malik, the conversation was attended by a roster of c-suite executives from the likes of Amazon Fashion, Diane Von Furstenberg, Fendi, Givenchy, Tom Ford and LVMH, among others.

Innovations in the Path to Purchase

From AR try-on and the use of LiDar to accurately estimate a user’s shoe size or filters as a frictionless barrier to entry, new technology is emerging as a powerful tool in improving customer experience. AR’s potential is increasing with more than 110 million Americans using AR at least once per monthly by 2023. Snap “Lenses”Snapchat users use them every day to reach over 250 million people.

“I think Fendi has [succeeded in] using it for highlighting the brand with more awareness and enticing but activating try on. Many of these brands have done a really great job of knowing when to use a highly creative lens versus a more simple, let’s just play and try on the products,”These were some of the opening remarks from a guest.

“Depending on what that purchase point of that product is to the reality of how they can swipe up around the website or even purchase — I think there’s definitely different templates and different use cases to tap into, bringing the world of a brand to the consumer versus having someone actually play with the integral product,”They went on.

Indeed, 86 percent of US brands who use AR say it helps boost sales, acquire new customers and drive performance metrics, as found in Snap Inc.’s “Augmentality Shift”Report, in partnership Ipsos market research group.

AR is a cost-effective way to get consumers to interact with products. Some businesses make less than $0.01 UScents per try-on of their products. American Eagle, for example, enabled customers to engage with its products and buy them by incorporating Snap Inc.’s catalogue-powered Shopping Lenses. The result — lenses driving more than 11 million impressions, with the brand drive higher than average in terms of reach and engagement.

This is not just utility for consumers that you’re trying to bring into the brand. It’s also something that continues to excite your clients.

“Our client advisors were empowered to share this experience with their clients and use it as a way of product discovery and excitement,”One attendee stated so.

The conversation shifted to focusing more on integrating AR with conversion and building customer consciousness. “We’re seeing AR shopping in mainstream, having the ability not just to see, but having the ability to try them on themselves,”Snap Inc. representative. “Ultimately, that’s what is driving the excitement around shopping. You now have an opportunity to experience product launches, bags, sneakers, jewellery and watches — it’s a convenience factor.”

However, “how does one navigate that tension of using a product that is cutting edge and therefore still evolving?”One participant was asked.

“Oftentimes, new things can scare people. But for us, it’s more about looking at what direction consumerism is heading in, what’s resonating and then being able to back into that with something that makes sense,”Snap Inc. representative shared his knowledge with the group.

“I think it has to happen more frequently and consumers will then essentially expect it from you. It can’t be something that you do as a one-off, kitschy idea,”Another guest agreed.

Combining Physical and Digital Events

Shopify research suggests that 66 percent of end consumers are interested in using AR for help when making purchasing decisions, and by 2025, nearly 75 percent of the global population — and almost all smartphone users — will be frequent AR users.

Saïd Business School reports how sensory marketing could be pivotal in breaking through to consumers who are increasingly indifferent to online advertising — a Magma Global study found 84 percent of smartphone users skip adverts while on the go, particularly among younger demographics.

As AR glasses move towards the mainstream — Snap’s Spectacles 3 use two cameras to build out 3D photos and videos — consumers will soon be equipped with the hardware to help seamlessly blend physical and digital spaces throughout the day.

“From a consumer experience [standpoint] and cultural relevance also, I’d be curious how one really delivers upon that kind of authenticity in this context,”One attendee said so.

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Vogue X Snapchat: Redefining the Body showcased designs from seven fashion brands — Balenciaga, Dior, Gucci, Kenneth Ize, Richard Quinn, Stella McCartney and Versace — and used custom Snapchat Lenses to enhance the experience further through virtual try-ons as an immersive world with archive, contemporary and exclusive pieces.

People can be scared of new things. But it’s more about looking at what direction consumerism is heading in, what’s resonating.

“Figuring out how to use it from a full funnel perspective — [with the] simplification of every shoe and eyewear brand and having a partnership where you have 3D assets — we’re always on shopping experience with Snap for those products that are more realistic and shoppable, probably not impacting the purchase decision-making process as well. But beyond that, they have taken the approach from a branding and experiential perspective,”You have added a guest

Tapping into a New Creator Economy

Snap Inc. has launched a Creator Marketplace that allows over 250,000 developers, creators, and partners to create millions of AR experiences. They can also connect with brands and agencies looking for AR talent and to improve the sales experience.

“We have already observed that new technology creates friction with consumers. As a leader in AR, our ambitions are way ahead of where the consumer is today,”Snap Inc. representative. “With spectacles, we have only now made them available to creators to leverage from a creative experience. We firmly believe in the power of AR — it [just] requires patience and time before it goes mainstream and is more scalable.”

Landmarker is another example. This unique lens experience tracks the visual features at a specific location or landmark at different locations around the world. This lens can be used to create a 3D experience that is connected to architecture.

“There’s a really strong point about how Snapchat is helping to condition users around certain behaviours that can then be adopted, agnostic to Snapchat,”One attendee said so.

“Thinking about how the video game industry works because for Gen-Z and younger millennials, it’s the same way that we all watch TV, that applies to millennials and older video games. It’s not a nerd thing anymore — everyone plays video games, and that’s trained a lot of kids around certain [user interfaces], certain cues that are specific from video games,”They said.

Disclaimer: Snap Inc. executives opted to be exempted from the Chatham House Rule in this article.

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