Throughout the pandemic, virtual try-on has offered a sweet sense of relief to fashion and beauty brands unable to demo their products offline.
From seeing how a new pair of sunglasses might look on your face to testing new lipstick shades out in anticipation of a mask-free future, these AR- and AI-enabled experiences have brought a small part of the traditional retail experiences to lockdown. Even retailers like Wayfair and IKEA rolled out 3D and augmented reality furniture visualization tools so shoppers could ‘try before they buy’.
Only, they haven’t all been brilliant—particularly where fashion is concerned.
In ‘real life’, dressing rooms are the heart of shopping experiences. Searching for the right styles, size and fit can make or break purchasing decisions and—without advanced technology able to realistically dress an individual’s body in augmented reality—the latter is far more likely online.
Until now, perhaps.
At today’s Snap Partner Summit, Snapchat introduced a range of brand new AR try-on experiences that add more to the smartphone shopping experience than ever before.
"We believe shopping is more than the transaction," says Carolina Arguelles, Global Product Marketing Lead, Augmented Reality at Snap, "it's really about the experience and we believe a better experience—one that's more immersive, connected with your friends, and emotional—is not only going to increase that buyer confidence but also build a longer term loyalty to brands and businesses."
Partnering with fashion giants like Farfetch and Prada to start, Snap’s new machine learning technology will utilize ‘3D Body Mesh’ to replicate real-life fits as Snapchatters try virtual clothes on via the camera, implementing voice-enabled controls to let the app know they’re looking to browse and try on in AR.
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All of which was not only developed to build shopper confidence, but act as a solution for businesses and consumers alike.
"70% of consumers feel that finding clothes online that fit is really difficult, and returns are a $550 billion problem for businesses,” says Arguelles. “Everything we've announced today focuses on improving the realism of these experiences and how natural it feels to interact with them."
In addition to 3D body mesh enhancements and body tracking, a new cloth simulation machine learning algorithm has been put in place to continually recreate the movement of fabrics.
"With features like Snap ML [machine learning], which is embedded into our Lens Studio technology, we're basically allowing machine learning experts from around the world to take the algorithms that they built, plug that into our platform, and make our cameras smarter," she says.
Case in point, shoe try-on. Though the algorithm is actually powered by Wanna, a Snap partner, brands like Dior have already seen a 6.2x return on ad spend while utilizing the tech in their Snapchat promotions, benefitting all parties.
Ordinarily, try-on has been leveraged through advertising alone, where businesses could guarantee their ads would be seen and who would see them. Which has been rather successful, considering brands like NYX Cosmetics have been able to drive over 60 million try-ons of their beauty experiences in a single day.
"We believe it's important to complement our advertising with a permanent and sustainable place where people can discover these experiences, though, so today’s launch of public profiles for businesses is the most critical launch for businesses on Snapchat," she says.
With Public Profiles for Business, companies will be able to save their content permanently, creating something of a virtual storefront for their brands. And it's 100% free to publish.
"Brands can hire experts to create these experiences but, if they're savvy, they can also just plug 3D models they would have from their product development cycle into Lens Studio for free," she says, emphasizing how important it is for the company to democratize access to AR experiences.
"We're also making these DIY templates for AR shopping in our new tool, called Lens Web Builder, where small emerging beauty brands can simply upload the hex colour SKU of a specific item, the finish of the item—matte, glossy, whatever—and build experiences for free by just tapping a few buttons.”
And while all of this could seem like a large retail-facing investment for a camera app to take on, such investments have already offered high returns.
Last year Snap bought conversion-boosting AR shopping leaders Fit Analytics for a cool $124.4 million, yet have already been able to drive $2 million in incremental sales for advertising partners like American Eagle, via virtual Snapchat pop-up shops, through a single campaign.
"Personalization is so important — how do we make this personal to you, to your face, to your body, to your room—and that's where try-on and features like fit recommendations with Fit Analytics really come into play," Arguelles adds.
But they’re not the only ones. Earlier this week Wacoal, the nation’s leading intimate apparel brand, launched a revolutionary fit solution for the ever-so-tricky bra buying process.
The mybraFit app is the first of its kind, utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and a augmented reality bra fit studio determines accurate bra size within minutes.
"Wacoal has always been obsessed with fit," says Miryha Fantegrossi, Vice President of Merchandising and Design atWacoalAmerica. " Traditionally, we've delivered our fit experience in stores, but as we saw consumer shopping behaviour shifting, I really stayed awake at night wondering how we'd bring our product message and benefits to the customer as she shops online."
The difficulty, where bra fit is concerned, is that the size charts and broad bra size calculators available online have never been accurate enough to guarantee a fit or replicate a true, tailored experience.
"When we started down this path we really, legitimately didn't know how we were going to do it, we just knew we wanted to offer her something better," she admits.
Most important to the process, in Fantegrossi's mind, was making sure the customer had to do as little as possible to achieve a perfect fit. No measuring tape. No consultation. No fuss. No fee.
In total, the development process took two years.
"Bra sizing is specific to the millimetre, so accuracy is super important. We went through several stages of research and validation, looking at the accuracy of potential tech partners, and landed on Sizer," she says.
Sizer's technology, which has now been weaved into Wacoal's own proprietary bra sizing algorithm, simply took a digital image of the customer in three different poses, via smartphone, and calculated their results.
Fantegrossi knew it wouldn’t just be relevant to a time-poor generation (who, perhaps, couldn’t think of anything worse than having a stranger measure their chest), but be the best possible way to plug her team’s 70-plus years of fit intelligence into something tangible.
"Our size recommendation is now completely different to what the rest of the industry is using," Fantegrossi says, "we matched great knowledge with great tech. Old sizing charts, the ones that were originally developed in the 1930s off of Victorian shirt sizes, can't compete."
Both the algorithm and the style recommendation engine, from which the customer is presented a wardrobe of perfectly-chosen pieces after her fit, have patents pending.
Of course, expertise and patents aren’t always enough. And beauty brands, arguably, have it hardest.
While faces are fairly easy to map, meaning it’s not terribly hard to place color on a face, from a technical standpoint, using AR and AI to suggest color is challenging.
“I’ve been searching for an intuitive foundation shade finder tool since I started Cult Beauty, in 2008, and nothing has lived up to the experience of having a professional match you in daylight,” says Alexia Inge, founder of Cult Beauty.
“There are so many variables from light, skin tones, prevalent undertones, device, screen, OS, to product density, oxidation, as well as preferences for coverage levels, finish, brand and skin-type,” she says. “Then, if you layer personal nuances like wanting a slightly lighter or darker tone than ‘true’, you have the sort of brief that sends most developers running for the hills.”
Still, she was desperate to offer such a service to her digital-first Cult Beauty customers, so set out searching for a diamond in the virtual rough. Which is where MIME came in.
In 2016, MIME launched as a “Shazam for makeup” where someone could take a photo of any color and receive product recommendations (toenail polish, lipstick, et al) that matched.
Eventually, they realized users were searching for products to match their skin above all else, so decided to shift focus onto the complex task of foundation matching.
By the time Inge discovered MIME and met with its founder, Chris Merkle, she was sold. “I was struck by Chris’ real understanding, not only of light detection and machine learning, but also his grasp of the emotional connection that people have with their complexion product choices, the psychology of foundation,” she says. “It’s as personal as underwear, as potentially loaded as the term, ‘nude’, as transformational as a great haircut and an instant tool that lends confidence to deep insecurities. Getting it wrong not only wastes money and time but also, and most importantly, trust.”
After a few months finessing the algorithms and product offering with Cult Beauty’s own, the brands launched MatchMe, a foundation-matching AI experience that requires little more than a selfie.
After self-classifying their skin type and foundation needs, the app runs the customer’s selfie data through Cult Beauty’s inventory and selects the shades are the not only the closest match, but their desired coverage, finish, skin type, and color preference (around 75% of shoppers like a perfect shade match, while 25% may like a shade that is lighter or darker than their ‘true’ color).
“I identified an opportunity where we could understand lighting better than many of our competitors,” says Merkle. “If you could not understand the environmental lighting, you throw all color accuracy out the window. We knew that before we could be experts at any product recommendation, we had to understand light.”
MIME’s Color Absorption Model, which understand how foundation blends into the skin and even dries/oxidizes once out of its packaging, is also unique to anything else in the industry. “This allowed us to create a color model that goes beyond an alpha transparency layer technique that most virtual try-on tools use,” he says. “As a founder, I had to know that our recommendation would be the perfect shade when the customer opened the package at home and put it on their skin.”
Behind the scenes, however, color-matching isn’t as time-consuming as you might think. Though each recommended shade must be shipped to MIME for scanning before it can be included in the algorithm, it typically only takes one to two days to complete the analysis. Currently, over 60% of Cult Beauty’s foundations feature in MatchMe.
“In the past, there has been a large focus on gamification and not quite enough practical consumer problem solving, and if nothing else 2021 will be the year of time-saving pragmatism,” says Inge, proud of their collective accomplishment.
After a wholly unexpected year of lockdowns and retail doomsdays, it seems, AR and AI might just become essential to not only help fashion and beauty brands survive, but thrive.
“The good news, and the reason why we're seeing such positive momentum, is that it isn't just because of a pandemic,” Arguelles adds.
“The challenge of wanting to reach people wherever they are has been there well before the pandemic, and will continue to be with the rise of e-commerce. How do you recreate that emotional connection that you have when you physically walk in the store? But in a much more sustainable way? It’s an exciting investment, and it’s really just the beginning.”
What are the benefits of virtual try on? ›
Virtual try-on has even more benefits for customers than online shopping. Customers can enjoy the convenience of shopping from home but can get a better idea of what they look like wearing an item. This will either drive them to other items or lower return rates for retailers.Is virtual try on successful? ›
Virtual try-on helps consumers in the decision-making process. They get to experiment with products at their own pace until they find the right choice for them. For instance, they might play around with accessories in different colors to see what works with the outfit they have on.What is a virtual try on? ›
In short, a virtual try-on is the way a customer can “try-on” a product through mobile or other devices equipped with a camera. Thanks to the underlying AR technology, future customers can see themselves in a beloved product on the screen of their smartphone.Is virtual try on sustainable? ›
Virtual try-on technology helps consumers make more confident purchasing decisions, which in turn helps to reduce returns, allowing brands to reduce shipping waste and develop more eco-friendly ,sustainable experiences.What are the advantages and disadvantages of virtual? ›
|Cost Savings||Lack of Trust|
|Increased Productivity||Reduced Team Collaboration|
|No Unnecessary Meetings||Social Isolation|
|Healthy Work-Life Balance||Hidden Technological Costs|
- Little/no risk.
- Safe, controlled area.
- Realistic scenarios.
- Can be done remotely saving time and money.
- Improves retention and recall.
- Simplifies complex problems/situations.
- Suitable for different learning styles.
- Innovative and enjoyable.
The results show that virtual try-on affects the sales results: the average sales per customer increased by 14,000 won (13USD). The most important finding is that the return rate decreased by 27% by filtering out incorrect sizes and fits. Virtual try-on may very well replace physical fitting rooms.How do you succeed in virtual world? ›
- Get to know your clients and colleagues. ...
- Be more forward-looking. ...
- Be transparent about your priorities. ...
- Ask for help. ...
- Set aside “me time.” It's easy to get pulled from one task to another at home. ...
- Check in with others. ...
- Give yourself a break.
- Breakout Rooms and Stimulating Discussions.
- Set Expectations Upfront.
- Avoid Information Overload.
- Encourage Interaction.
- Learning Management System.
- Take Some Load Off Of the Screens.
- Create the Perfect Learning Space.
Virtual objects and activities are generated by a computer to simulate real objects and activities. [computing] Up to four players can compete in a virtual world of role playing.
What is the purpose of a virtual tour? ›
A virtual tour is a marketing tool that can help bring new customers and clients to your business. It's also a “virtual reality” view of your business relayed in visual images that allow the viewer to be “right there” at your location. It's the best way to accurately show what your location really looks like.Does virtual means fake? ›
Many people take "virtual" to mean fake or unreal, and "reality" to refer to the real world. This results in an oxymoron. The actual definition of virtual, however, is "to have the effect of being such without actually being such".Why is virtual life better? ›
Now we can finally say that virtual reality makes life much easier, more interesting, and more intense. It will help you experience a new social experience of communicating with new people and help you always stay close to your family and loved ones.Why is virtual world important? ›
Virtual Reality is essential for the growth and expansion of the metaverse industry. The technology supports the vision of metaverse clusters by aiding in creating the 3D virtual world. With VR, users can immerse themselves in interactive experiences that are hard to access in the physical environment.What is the future of virtual world? ›
Virtual Worlds Are Considerably Larger Than Ever
Extremely large and highly detailed VR worlds are now possible. This is largely due to the emergence of 6g, which is 100 times faster than 5G and runs at terabytes per second.
Benefits include affordable expertise (particularly with HR, finance, marketing), flexible support, and access to a full suite of services. Disadvantages include challenges with virtual teams can lie in communication, poor leadership/management and incompetent team members.What are the benefits of virtual marketing? ›
- Time and cost-efficient. ...
- Encourages faster growth. ...
- Customized content. ...
- Geographic freedom. ...
- Techniques to increase visibility. ...
- Techniques to communicate expertise. ...
- Techniques to increase engagement.
Virtual reality gives people the chance to travel around the world, and even outer space, without having to leave the comfort of their homes. This capability is already taken advantage of by schools worldwide to enrich lesson plans. It also allows people to experience the world in ways they never could before.What is the impact of virtual reality? ›
The Risks of Virtual Reality
Users of virtual reality games have reported a host of troubling effects, including damage to their vision, disorientation, and even seizures.
- Save money and time by providing employees, stakeholders, or customers with a realistic view of a real-life environment.
- Improve safety procedures.
- Boost collaboration and productivity across projects and locations.
- Enhance customer service & increase sales.
Is virtual reality good for society? ›
In terms of education, VR represents a whole new world of opportunities, especially for people living in rural communities or people experiencing poverty. Virtual reality will be especially useful in hands-on training sessions needed for industries like healthcare, construction or the skilled trades.Is virtual reality becoming more popular? ›
VR aims to create a sensory experience for the user, sometimes including sight, touch, hearing, smell, or even taste. The industry is growing at a fast pace, with the global VR market size projected to increase from less than 12 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 to more than 22 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.Why does virtual world attract users? ›
Interactivity, audio and visual features, and the content of the virtual world all contribute to the experience of presence (Lombard and Ditton 1997).How virtual shopping is useful for consumers? ›
They can provide online sales assistance and support in real time, while demonstrating the physical product. This is great news for customers and employees alike. By offering a virtual insight into your shop or store, consumers are able to examine real product packaging and specifications.Does virtual reality improve learning? ›
Virtual reality can improve education by providing students with memorable and immersive experiences that would otherwise not be possible. What's more, it can all take place within the classroom. VR is accessible to every student and can be easily monitored by teachers.What are the benefits of working in a virtual environment? ›
- Lower overhead costs. If you run your company virtually, you don't have to worry about leasing office space, buying furniture, paying for utilities, etc. ...
- More satisfied employees. ...
- Higher scalability.
- Strengthen employee emotional intelligence. ...
- Practice proactive communication with your colleagues. ...
- Expect business leaders to lead by example. ...
- Ask the experts. ...
- Praise good work. ...
- Use tools that encourage communication.
To build a successful virtual team, it's essential to build trust and facilitate communication. Knowledge-sharing is also critical to building a successful virtual team. This is even more important due to the recent lack of in-person interaction.What is an example of virtual? ›
temporarily simulated or extended by computer software: a virtual disk in RAM;virtual storage on a hard disk;a 3D virtual world. existing, seen, or happening online or on a computer screen, rather than in person or in the physical world: You can take a virtual tour of the museum before your visit.What are examples of virtual learning? ›
- Distance Learning Degree Programs.
- Professional Certification Courses.
- Instructional Videos.
- Video or Audio Lectures.
- Books, Articles, and Other Writings.
What is the meaning of virtual life? ›
n a computer-generated environment that, to the person experiencing it, closely resembles reality, (Abbrev.)Why is virtual tour important for students? ›
Virtual field trips are a great way of engaging students in learning experiences in the real world. They help students find the relevance of what they learn. In addition, such trips improve their understanding and tap into new ways of learning while keeping students engaged and motivated.Why do people like virtual tours? ›
A chance for people to decide where they want to navigate.
A virtual house tour offers a single experience, but with a 3D walkthrough, you can decide where you want to go.
According to research from TIG Global and Omni Hotels, a virtual tour on a hotel website increases bookings and look-to-book conversion rates by as much as 16 to 67%. That's a massive increase in captured revenue from website traffic that would previously be gone to a competitor.Is it better to say virtual or online? ›
In online education, we talk about virtual classes, virtual schools, virtual conferences, etc. In common use, when we use the word "virtual", we tend to mean online, that is through a computer or device. We use it to define an interaction that does not take place in an in-person physical environment.What is the difference between virtual life and real life? ›
The most commonly argued distinction between the real and virtual worlds is the concept of physical form and identity. It is argued by many that in the virtual world you do not have a complete physical identity and that your mind being removed from the physical body is the distinction between the real and virtual.What is virtual real reality? ›
Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment with scenes and objects that appear to be real, making the user feel they are immersed in their surroundings. This environment is perceived through a device known as a Virtual Reality headset or helmet.Why is virtual reality important in the modern world? ›
The emerging world of virtual reality is not only providing a new, fully immersive experience, but it also creates new ways for people to see the world. Today the technology of virtual reality (VR) is used to advance medicine, engineering, education, architecture, training and entertainment....How the virtual world affect our life? ›
Research shows that violent experiences in the virtual world may lead to increased aggressive behaviour in the real world too. Further, the rise of "virtual pornography' to fulfil sexual desires may also lead to negative social effects, such as disinhibition, marital fidelity, desensitization, false expectations etc.How virtual reality is changing the world? ›
The immersive technology puts users in 'someone else's shoes', and goes above and beyond traditional 2D depictions of war, abuse, pollution, neglect, or injustice. It allows viewers to see directly through the 'eyes' of a real or imagined subject and more specifically, VR can create 'embodied cognition'.
How will virtual reality change the future? ›
VR Enables the Ability to Work from Anywhere
This will allow people to live in more desirable locations and spend more time with their families. With VR, you can be just as productive (or more) from anywhere with an internet connection.
AR and VR will be at the center of digital transformation and the spending of different companies and consumers will increase by an additional 80%, according to this report. Virtual and augmented reality hardware will comprise more than half of the projected spending.What is the benefits of virtual teamwork? ›
Benefits include affordable expertise (particularly with HR, finance, marketing), flexible support, and access to a full suite of services. Disadvantages include challenges with virtual teams can lie in communication, poor leadership/management and incompetent team members.What makes a virtual meeting successful? ›
Virtual meetings are most successful when everyone is engaged in the discussion points and has the opportunity to make a tangible contribution. Interactive engagement features help your participants collaborate, so use a video engagement platform for the best virtual meetings.Why virtual meetings are better than in-person? ›
Efficiency. Efficiency is another key difference between in-person and virtual meetings. Virtual meetings typically have a much more structured agenda, as there is less room for idle chit-chat and catching up.What is the significance of virtual meeting in modern business today? ›
Virtual meetings are as crucial as physical meetings. They are the only way to connect with your colleagues and clients when you cannot do a face-to-face meeting. With the rise in remote jobs and work from home culture, we increasingly turn to virtual meetings to conduct our work and deal with clients globally.How do virtual teams increase productivity? ›
Additionally, it helps the quieter employees in opening up. Along with that, virtual team building activities also helps in maintaining the work-life balance which would encourage the employees to work better. It helps to bridge the gap that the lack of social life has created and hence keeps the employees motivated.What is an effective way to improve the effectiveness of a virtual team? ›
- Establish solid communication. Without solid communication, virtual team effectiveness drops to a low level. ...
- Delegate tasks. ...
- Set mutual goals. ...
- Use team collaboration tools. ...
- Provide feedback regularly. ...
- Respect the work hours. ...
- Get them the equipment.