Indian Fashion Brands Arrive Fashionably Late to the Tech Party

Like any other product-based industry, the fashion industry is also opening up to the adoption of virtual and augmented reality to create personalized customer experiences that are expected to lead to increased sales. Customers engage with such brands throughout their shopping experience because the brand provides them with a unique approach interactive shopping.

This approach uses emerging technologies such as AR/VR and others to allow customers to select their favorite products without having to be physically present in the store to try them on.

However, despite such concerted efforts across brands, their Indian counterparts have not seen equally significant improvements over the past decade. It seems that perhaps now – more than ever – we need to catch up with these emerging trends and the technologies that are contributing to their growing popularity. But where do we start?

AR/VR in fashion

Italian luxury brand Gucci created an AR-enabled iOS app that allowed customers to remotely and virtually try on its “Ace Sneaker Collection” in 2019. Gucci also partnered with the multimedia messaging app “Snapchat” to offer virtual try-ons through the app. It was the first luxury fashion brand to partner with a social media platform to drive sales using AR. Gucci’s foray into virtual reality has proven to be highly effective in skyrocketing sales. According to Robert Triefus, Gucci’s executive vice president of brand and customer engagement, the brand is working on an immersive shopping experience by combining physical and digital reality. French sports fashion brand Lacoste it also used augmented reality technology for a similar purpose – allowing customers in offline stores to digitally “try on” their LCST streetwear collection and interact with other company-curated content.

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Image source: VentureBeat

in 2019 ASOS, a British online fashion and cosmetics retailer, has launched an experimental AR feature called “Virtual Catwalk” that helps users visualize clothes on human models before making a purchase. In 2020, it also created a feature called “See My Fit” amid the lockdown, which offered customers the chance to see how clothes fit on 16 different models – in sizes 4 to 18 – in a realistic-looking environment. However, ASOS received a lot of criticism for not being inclusive enough, as there was no model over a size 18.

Image source: Bustle

Another interesting development in the global fashion sector is Timberland’s AR magic mirror which allows customers to virtually “dress up” in selected outfits. In addition, Timberland collaborated with Lemon & Orange to be one of the first brands to bring virtual fitting rooms to Mokotów Gallery, a shopping center in Poland.

Beyond the fashion rants

But this is not limited to fashion brands. Other industries are equally enthusiastic about adopting interactive shopping. For example, in the cosmetics industry, companies are incorporating AI and AR to provide more personalized experiences to their consumers.

One of the most notable developments in this sector is French makeup D2C L’Oreal, which acquired Canadian AR specialist ModiFace in 2018. The acquisition allowed customers to choose eyeshadows, concealer shades and lipsticks – among other products – and try them on in a virtual mirror. in live video.

Although it was prima facie considered revolutionary, it was soon discovered that it is not easy to understand whether the shades fit well, even if it is visible on the skin. The lip color feature is also weird as the color generally comes out darker or lighter in real life. To add to the misery, the fake lip plumping feature makes it worse for buyers who are just looking for the products that suit them best and not a practically edited version of them. With the purchase of L’Oreal Maybelline, this trial element can be used in all applications that sell Maybelline products.

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Last year, the popular Indian e-commerce company and cosmetics giant Nykaa said it will bring L’Oreal’s ModiFace to home beauty enthusiasts. However, there have been no significant developments since the announcement.

Playing catch up

Unlike the international market, the Indian fashion and beauty industry has been slow to adopt immersive technologies. With much pomp and show, online fashion retailer Myntra launched an offline store for its private label, Roadster, in Bengaluru in 2017. CEO Ananth Narayanan claimed that the store would serve as an “experience zone” and planned to open 50 such stores by 2020. The store had VR displays and huge touch screens. Items were fitted with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, allowing customers to pay independently and check out within 30 seconds. The offline store primarily focused on increasing brand visibility and also had a VR zone with four Samsung Gear VR headsets to watch a 360-degree video showcasing “life on the road”.

Myntra did not use VR to enhance the customer shopping experience but only used it as a promotional tool. This ultimately led the Flipkart-owned company to succumb to losses and shut down its offline business in March 2019.

However, not every brand uses technology for promotional purposes only. Omnichannel eyewear brand Lenskart has used the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to introduce a virtual reality device to its customers. They could check how the frames looked on their faces and shop without physically going to the store. This included facial scanning and analysis. She also recommended frames based on the shape and size of the face. The virtual reality device also offered a 360-degree view of the glasses. However, even if one could try the glasses, the interface could be much smoother. Several users have reported that the device only shows one static view of their faces with the glasses on, but it disappears once you get to the main page.

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John Jacobs, a premium D2C eyewear brand, is also implementing augmented reality. Unlike Lenskart, however, it captures video of customers’ faces while trying on glasses. You can move your head left and right to see what it looks like.

Now or never

Although not many brands across fashion and cosmetics in India have been quick to adopt new technologies, several recognize that AR has the potential to fundamentally change and redefine the customer experience – be it apparel, accessories, footwear, home decor. or completely different products.

In addition to the potential for conversion, AR’s ability to reduce the significant burden of returns may be more attractive to brands and online retailers as the technology promises to provide their customers with a technical method to correctly and confidently confirm the size and shape of goods. product, be it a sofa or a sweater.

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