Augmented reality (AR) is being adopted faster than it ever has before. There are many companies that have begun to offer AR to allow you to experience their products in a way previously not possible. Whether you’re shopping for accessories or furniture, augmented reality can play an important and enjoyable role in your shopping experience. Here at Seek, we’ve researched a few places where you can try AR for yourself. Check out some of our findings below.
When looking to buy a new pair of glasses, it’s super helpful to be able to try them on. But what if you don’t have time to go to the store? Eyeconic, Zenni, and Warby Parker asked themselves the same question, so they turned to AR to conveniently show you how their glasses would look on you, right from your phone.
Eyeconic has a Virtual Try-On page, which you can access directly on their website. The program will scan your face as you move from side to side, then take a photo of you with a plastic card. This helps it to know where to put the glasses on you, and what size as compared to the card.
After you complete the 2 steps, it processes for about 5-10 seconds and then shows you the video you recorded now with glasses. You can swap out their different glasses to get an idea of what they would look like on.
Now, holding up a card to your forehead while snapping a photo could be a pretty awkward thing to do, especially if you wanted to use this website in public! Thankfully, Eyeconic gives users the option to skip this step, so you can skip the embarrassment, but it will decrease the size accuracy. One part of this experience that could be improved would be to make this feature work from a live camera feed. I’d love to see how the glasses would look on me from any angle in real time, especially in “selfie-mode”; my experience with this product would have been greatly improved with this feature.
Zenni has two options: the Zenni Frame Fit® and a 3D Virtual Try-On tool. Both can be accessed on the internet, without an app. The frame fit option requires you to upload a photo, input your PD (pupillary distance), and drag lines to your pupils. The try-on is similar to Eyeconic’s feature, except it can’t give an accurate size without you inputting your PD. Most people don’t know that number off the top of their head, so this website is more complicated to use versus Eyeconic.
They do have steps to find your PD here, if you want to have a more accurate fit. Otherwise, you can skip inputting your PD and it will fit the glasses to your face. Because it is trying to fit the glasses to your face, it won’t be an accurate view of the size (which kind of defeats the purpose). Another difference between Zenni and Eyeconic is the way you can view your options. Instead of having to toggle through different glasses, Zenni displays all of their glasses on you--with pricing!
Warby Parker uses augmented reality only in their app. Their AR relies on Apple’s ARKit and True Depth features that are only available on the iPhone X and above. Besides making sure I had the right device, this tool was very simple to use. You just click on a pair of glasses, then pull down the blue tab at the top. Almost instantly, you’ll see the glasses appear on your face, to scale! Additionally, you can swap out colors and switch glasses with just a swipe, which was very convenient.
I was very impressed with how quickly this worked as compared to the first two brands. Absolutely no hassle, as long as you have an iPhone X or higher!
AR helps save you time when shopping for furniture because it can show you the product to scale in the exact spot you want it. No more second-guessing or hoping you can make it work! IKEA, Overstock (powered by Seek), and Wayfair have augmented reality for their products. This allows you to actually see a couch in your room and determine if you want it, without pulling out a ruler to measure all the dimensions. What a time-saver! In the video below, I'll walk you through the AR features each site provides.
Here is how they compare:
|1||Overstock||App-less (web-based); AR Section||
Only select items, can't view two products at once
|2||IKEA Place||All furniture is in AR; can add multiple in real time||
|3||Wayfair||AR symbol signals product with AR; can add multiple in photo||
Requires app, only select items
Overstock and IKEA Place were both very impressive. The main reason I listed Overstock as #1, was because it didn't require me to download an app and wait for it to load. If IKEA Place would have been available on my internet browser, then I would have been sold.
If you’ve ever gone ring shopping, you know that it could take a while to finally find the ring of your dreams (or your significant other’s!). Thanks to augmented reality, now you both can do it on the go. I took a look at three brands to see how it works: Diamond Hedge, RingTryON, and Shop 4 Rings.
For each of these, you take a photo of your hand, and then adjust a ring to it. There are small differences, but the overarching function is the same. A couple differences are as follows:
- Diamond Hedge doesn’t require an app, but if you wanted to, you can download their app that does the same thing as their website.
- Both Diamond Hedge and Ring TryON have a much larger selection to choose from and allow customization as compared to Shop 4 Rings (only 11 options from Amazon)
- Shop 4 Rings finds your fingers and you can drag the ring to the correct finger; but if the sizing is off, you can't correct it.
So far, it seems like taking a photo and positioning an image of a ring is the best option for AR right now. The biggest problem with all three of these apps is that the ring size isn't accurate; it can only be sized to fit your finger. It's neat to try lots of different rings on your hand through your phone, but you won't actually know how it will fit your hand in real life. The good news is that the world of AR is continuously improving. Seek is working hard on refining this for the jewelry industry, because the necessity of seeing a product to scale is huge for AR shopping.
Attention all online shoe shoppers: AR will give you a brand new experience. Below are retailers that are giving their customers a different way to "try on" their shoes before making a purchase:
Wanna Kicks became popular in the beginning of the year because of the ease it took to try on top brand shoes. Not only does it track your foot when it moves, the shoes look realistic. The app also gives you an option to take a photo or video to send to your friends. This feature is nice for those of you that aren’t 100% convinced to purchase, because you can ask for opinions in a snap! Overall, the augmented reality on this app is awesome and easy to use. One function that could be improved on is how close a user can get to the shoe. If I got within 6 inches of it, it disappeared. This wasn’t a huge problem, but a little bothersome if you really want to get a close view.
Gucci’s app is very similar to Wanna Kicks in how it works. To view the AR, click on “Ace Try On”, then “Start”. There are only 19 shoes that are available to try on with augmented reality, which is a significantly smaller amount when compared to Wanna Kicks’ selection. Gucci’s shoes will also disappear if you move your foot half-way off of the camera. This isn’t much of a concern, since the main purpose is to see the whole shoe on your foot. Another difference I noticed was that the shoes disappear a lot more frequently if you move your device too much or too fast. They don’t seem to “stick” to your foot like the shoes in Wanna Kicks.
Nike rolled out Nike Fit on their app during the summer which allows customers to scan their feet and get an accurate size for a specific shoe. It measures your foot size and compares it to the volume, length, and width of their shoes. It gives you your size for the specific shoe you're looking at, so your size in another shoe may be different. This app will help their customers get the best fit possible, and should be available to access in store as well. This could help with ordering a shoe size that isn't in stock. This tech sounds super awesome, but, unfortunately, I couldn't find this functionality anywhere on their app. I tried it out with the iPhone XR and iPhone 8 with no luck. There are only reports of the function going live, but nothing saying it was retracted, so I couldn't find a reason to why it wasn't working.
There will be a large and popular shoe company going live with Seek in the next couple weeks, so be on the look out! Our AR will be different than that of the previous companies, because it will not require you to download an app. We'll announce our collaboration when it's live, so you can try it out!
Conclusion: Live and App-less AR wins
Clearly many businesses, large and small, are jumping on this new and exciting tech. The time is not too far off when a majority of websites will have this awesome feature. AR is transitioning to be the norm for online shopping, which makes right now an awesome time to be an online retailer. While AR being used for placing a product over an image is still an advancement, seeing a product live in AR took me even further, was so much more hands-on, and gave me a new experience to my online shopping! Also, for all the products I tried that were live, they looked proportionally correct, and I didn't have to size it myself. The experience I had was much more realistic, and as close as I could get to physically trying on or looking at a product in person.
Also, when I was able to access the feature without downloading another app, it made my experience better compared to when I had to. By only requiring a tap to view products in AR, companies were able to give their customer (me) a fantastic and enjoyable experience while looking at their products. The brands that only offered AR in the app could really improve their customer experience by changing that one element. If I didn’t do the research to find which companies use AR on their sites, I wouldn’t have downloaded their apps to see their products in AR. Of all the companies' apps I had downloaded, not one of their websites prompted me to download the app in order to access the function. So many shoppers on those sites have no idea that they can view those products in AR. However, even if they did promote it more, how many people would actually take the time to download the app? Of course, I did it for this article, but unless if I really wanted to try it out or had a lot of time on my hands, I don’t think I would take the time to download yet another app.
Being app-less and using the live camera feed is a game changer for augmented reality. Allowing customers to quickly look at a product in augmented reality on the web by just tapping a button is the key that many companies are missing out on. By eliminating the steps, companies will be able to easily allow their customers to experience their products no matter where they are.