Virtual Try-On Clothing

It's no secret that fashion retailers are reorienting their marketing strategies. The pandemic accelerated the ongoing transition frombrick-and-mortar to click-and-order, prompting brands to reckon with consumers' preference for ecommerce and receptiveness toward social media marketing. With standardized AR functionality across smartphones and exciting new developments in AR technology such asfull body tracking andLiDAR, fashion retailers are turning to Augmented Reality for marketing purposes. In 2020 alone,6x as many companiesbegan using AR compared to the previous year. 75% of business leaders plan to incorporate AR and VR in their business strategy by next year. These marketing adjustments acknowledge the proven effectiveness of AR marketing: products promoted with AR content have a94% higher conversion rate than products without, and using AR in advertising increases purchase intent bynearly 2.5x.

 

Virtual try-on technology is the premier use case for AR in fashion retailing. At-home try-on tech has been used to market and retail goggles and glasses,necklaces,watches, andbracelets, among other fashion accessories, to great effect. But the most substantial deployment of virtual try-on tech to date would be for principle articles of clothing like shirts, sweaters, and coats. These articles comprise a major portion of fashion retailers' inventory, sales, and returns, warranting the same forward-facing AR innovation that fashion accessories have received. By using full body tracking technology for principle articles of clothing, retailers stand to gain all the same benefits virtual try-on tech offers to fashion accessories for their flagship products.

 

Fashion Retail for Principle Articles

Full body tracking has come to the fore of AR smartphone technology in recent years. A natural extension of the facial tracking technology which first popularized Snapchat AR lenses, full body tracking uses many of the same techniques as facial tracking, but applied to the entire body. Snapchat debuted full body tracking for their AR lenses in late 2020 with a line ofextravagant animated costumes and have continued honing the technology since then. Now, full body tracking can be used to virtually try on more practical articles of clothing.

 

Customers can virtually try on shirts, sweaters, coats, and pants by using their smartphone camera. The virtual try-on technology allows users to swipe through various colorways and patterns, ensuring that the particular article of clothing they choose is right for them. Buyer confidence is especially important with the recent shift toward ecommerce, as online shopping precludes the "experience" stage of in-person shopping.A survey of ecommerce shoppers revealed that for nearly half of shoppers, their biggest concern with online shopping was the inability to try on clothes before buying them. 73% of online fashion returns were rooted in shoppers' inability to try on the clothes first, 7x more than any other cited reason. With virtual try-on technology, shoppers can use AR to reintroduce the “experience” stage of shopping to ecommerce. 

 

Even as quarantine restrictions are being lifted, online shopping isn't going anywhere. Ecommerce has become integrated into social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram's core app design, not to mention the primacy ofinfluencer marketing. Ecommerce on social media platforms is too substantial a market for brands to ignore: Snapchat has306 million active daily users, 200 million of whom use Snapchat's AR features daily. Instagram has1.22 billion monthly users, and a major portion of those users take advantage of Instagram's online shopping features.44% of Instagrammers use the platform to shop weekly, andhalf of all Instagram users have used Instagram to discover new brands, products, or services. Regardless of the platform, AR's place in marketing and ecommerce has been cemented, and the marketplace is ripe for AR retail content.

 

Virtual Fashion

The fashion applications of full body tracking in AR don't start and end with practical fashion either. With the advent of the metaverse and new interest in buying, trading, and possessing digital assets, it's worth considering how full body tracking technology can be used for virtual fashion as well. Virtual fashion in this case refers to clothing which is digitally rendered either because it is impractical for real life use or because it is explicitly intended for digital usage, such as digitally outfitting a personal avatar.

 

Virtual fashion allows clothing designers to create garments which are impossible to create in real life. Such pieces of clothing can be hard to manufacture because of the size and shape of the garment or active digital patterns which cannot be realized physically. Virtual fashion expands the creative potential of clothing designers, empowering them to materialize pieces which could previously only be imagined in the mind's eye or in a sketchbook. Rather than mocking something up on the page, designers can create interactive 3D models to truly convey the feel of an article of clothing.

 

Growing interest in the metaverse and digital assets raises the potential for virtual fashion for personal digital avatars. The purpose of an avatar is to embody oneself in a digital space, but facial and body customization options can only go so far toward personalizing your virtual appearance. To express yourself with your appearance in the metaverse, we turn to the same place as in real life: fashion. 

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