How Luxury Retailers are using Augmented Reality

By now, many of us may have experienced augmented reality in gaming or through filters on social media, but how are luxury retailers using augmented reality? Stay tuned because in our latest video, we’ll share examples of how luxury brands like Chanel, Dior, and more are experimenting with AR to create memorable and immersive experiences for their customers. We’ll also talk about how augmented reality technology will continue to transform the future of luxury retail, especially in a post-COVID19 world. For the latest insights and expertise on the future of fashion and retail subscribe to Electric Runway’s YouTube channel and hit the bell to be notified when I post new videos on Fridays. 

So briefly, what is augmented reality? Augmented reality is the layering of digital components onto our existing reality, often done through a viewing device such as a tablet, smartphone, or AR glasses.  Augmented reality is used to enhance or augment the world around us with digital technology. So let’s get into some examples of how this exciting new technology is playing out in luxury fashion: 

Now let’s get into some examples:

 

Lenses

 Augmented Reality Lenses are the perfect way to immerse audiences in your brand and extend physical marketing efforts, and that’s exactly how Chanel used the emerging technology. Recently, Chanel hosted a holiday pop-up at The Standard in New York. For four days, the Frech Fashion brand transformed the boutique hotel in a busy shopping area into a winter wonderland, complete with hot chocolate, ice skating, and plenty of photo opportunities for Instagram. Chanel also invited attendees to view an AR experience by accessing a lens on Snapchat or downloading an app via Chanel.com. Those at home could also use the lens which created more access and virality for the campaign. Even if you couldn’t be in New York to attend the pop-up, you were invited to view the world through the lens of Chanel, and that was pretty exciting

Virtual Try-on

One of the most exciting and common use-cases for augmented reality in fashion is for enabling a virtual try-on experience. We’ve seen many makeup brands jump into this space, including YSL Beauty. In fact, if you’re looking for a whole video on augmented retail for the beauty industry, check out this video here.  Over the years, French fashion house Dior has created a series of filters for Snapchat and Facebook for trying on accessories such as hats and sunglasses in Augmented Reality. Similarly, Gucci launched a feature within its iOS app that enables users to try on its line of ACE sneakers in AR. Both experiences bring people closer to the brands and help them visualize wearing their products 

Embedded Experiences

Recently, Burberry launched an AR shopping tool through Google Search technology. The tool allows consumers to experience Burberry products embedded in the environment around them, enhancing their research and shopping experience online. The experience was rolled out in tandem with the opening of Burberry’s new retail shop in Tokyo.

There’s a unique opportunity for augmented reality in fashion—especially right now because as I record this, shops are closed due to Covid-19 and runway shows are cancelled. So what further potentials are there for this space? 

AR Runway Shows

Even prior to COVID-19, runway shows were expensive and resource-consuming to produce. An augmented reality runway experience adheres to social distancing rules and invites those who wouldn’t normally have access to the front row of fashion shows into the experience. It democratizes the runway.

What we’re talking about here isn’t just live-streams of runway events, because live-streaming has been around for a long time, but actually recreating runway looks on holographic or AR models that you can see walk around in your living room. In fact, we’re already seeing experimentation in this space: recently, British fashion model Adwoa Aboah strutted down the catwalk in augmented reality at London Fashion Week. The 3D imagery was a collaboration between Central Saint Martins and the internet service provider three. 

Augmented Reality Mirrors

In the future, augmented reality mirrors will help us try on different outfits, discover our personal style, and assist us with online purchases. While we’ve seen a number of “magic mirror” experiences in stores, I’m curious to see how mirrors evolve to help us with everything from working out to getting dressed for the day

Augmented Reality Showrooms

We’ve seen a number of companies experimenting with augmented reality to create a showroom experience. The example shown in the video is a partnership between Kohl’s and Snapchat. The two companies teamed up to offer an immersive shopping experience inside the Snapchat app that transforms any space into a showroom. Users can explore looks and add items to their shopping cart for purchase in real life. 

Augmented Reality Windows

Display Windows have long been used as a way to showcase recent collections and lure passersby into your store. Augmented reality can add a whole new layer of digital storytelling and interactivity. Augmented Reality specialist Helen Papagiannis recently developed an augmented reality activation to show how Louis Vuitton could extend its window displays using AR. 

Now you know more about how luxury retailers are using augmented reality in the fashion industry, and hopefully are inspired for the possibilities to come in this space. If you would like access to the slides I used in this video, you can view them on Slideshare.. You’re welcome to connect with me on LinkedIn, as well. If you’ve got a passion for the future of fashion, sign up for our email newsletter   💌

Amanda Cosco
Amanda is a freelance journalist and consultant focused on the intersection of fashion and technology and the founder of Electric Runway.

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