The future is already here. As a proof of that, we can cite two closely related recent trends: on the one hand, the development of marketplaces that act as online store aggregators, and on the other hand, brands actively seeking contact with their consumers.
Customer loyalty becomes the key competitive advantage, and brands are trying ever new tricks to increase that loyalty. The use of AR is one of the best such methods.
AR, or augmented reality, is based on adding virtual information to our general 3D picture of reality in such a way that the virtual part appears real. Virtual objects are merged with reality and can be interacted with: clicked, photographed, linked to websites, and so on.
You surely remember the hugely popular game Pokemon Go, which drove the world crazy last year, making people search for pokemons everywhere? Well, the AR technology lies at the heart of this game, but Pokemon Go is far from the most interesting or useful application of augmented reality.
Here is our Top 9 of the best AR-enabled marketplaces:
9. BMW cars
The app places a brand-new virtual BMW in front of your house. You can study it thoroughly both inside and out and create your own perfect configuration, changing the color, wheels, or accessories.
8. Yihaodian virtual store
Unlimited Yihaodian is a 1200 square meter store that offers its Chinese customers circa 1000 different items. Buyers order selected goods using their smartphones and soon get them delivered to their homes.
7. Coca Cola AR coolers
Coca Cola makes life easier for its B2B clients, allowing them to place a virtual cooler with drinks in their store or restaurant.
This is not the first time that Coca Cola tries out AR: the company already has an app that plays a song list once the user’s smartphone is pointed at a can of Coke.
6. Converse, Ray-Ban
It’s easier to make the decision to buy new clothes once you see they look good on you. This conclusion led Converse, Ray-Ban, and other fashion brands to create their own AR apps.
For instance, the Converse app allows you to see how new sneakers will fit your foot and go with your clothes. Interestingly, Converse was among the pioneers of commercial AR: its first augmented reality app, Sampler, was launched in 2010.
The Ray-Ban eyewear brand uses FittingBox virtual mirror: to see how a certain model of shades will look on your face from all possible angles, you only have to turn on your front camera.
5. InkHunter virtual tattoos
Before you get that large tattoo on your face and dramatically decrease your chances of finding a good job, try the InkHunter app. Make a special smiley sign on the spot where you’d like your tattoo to be placed, point your smartphone camera at it, and see how a tattoo of the chosen size would look.
Amazon offers a huge selection of 3D models from its store through its AR app: you can sample toys, electronics, and thousands of other items from the bottomless catalog of the giant retailer.
3. Sephora make-up
Sephora and over 50 other make-up brands already use ModiFace – a virtual mirror that can put on make-up on the user’s face in real time. Statistics show that the use of AR increases sales by over 30%, so it’s no wonder that leading beauty brands are investing huge amounts of money into implementing AR. ModiFace lets you try different colors of lipstick, hairstyles, and even anti-age treatments. Isn’t that real female heaven?
2. Uniqlo fitting rooms
Japanese fashion brank Uniqlo first used AR fitting rooms back in 2012 and was followed by Adidas, Gap and many other large companies. During such a virtual fitting session, the user stands in front of a “mirror” and browses the store’s catalog. All selected models instantly appear in the mirror as if the customer was wearing them. There’s no need to change in and out of clothes to try a different size, color, or model.
Японский магазин одежды Uniqlo запустил тенденцию примерочных с AR-зеркалами ещё в далёком 2012 году. Вслед за ним технологию подхватили Adidas, Gap и многие другие крупные игроки
1. Virtual furniture by Faradise and IKEA
You must have experienced this: the frustration of buying a piece of furniture and bringing it home just to find out that the new wardrobe is too large and the color of the couch doesn’t go with your walls.
Among the first businesses in the furniture industry to tackle the issue were IKEA and Faradise, releasing their AR apps almost simultaneously in 2017. These apps help buyers study and order various furniture items from the comfort of their homes. After trying a 3D model, you can be sure that the chosen item will fit perfectly in your room.
IKEA app offers only the furniture sold on IKEA’s online store.
Faradise is an AR marketplace that brings together over 200 different furniture stores. Another impressive feature is the freedom of choice: the selection includes circa 2500 ready 3D models. This turns the stressful experience of visiting stores and talking to designers and delivery people into an easy, pleasant and fast shopping experience that can be done in a couple of clicks.