Virtual and Augmented Reality in Retail and Beyond

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The Future of (Everything) is Now

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have gone mainstream, thanks to the ease of creating such experiences and also the ubiquity of devices that can display it—namely tablets and smartphones. AR and VR demonstrations are becoming ways to shop for and experience products and services, both in our own homes, and as enhanced displays in retail stores. This can even be expanded to more complex products, like doctors previewing medical devices in virtual environments. Read on to learn more about ways AR and VR are being used to sell products, and how it can be implemented in your industry too.

Visualizing Your Dream Home

 Via IKEA

Via IKEA

A simple but powerful use of AR lies in its ability to allow consumers to see what the products they’re interested in will look like in their homes before buying. This ability is particularly useful when shopping for furniture or decorative items. Thanks to new apps like Ikea’s Place and Magnolia, the home design planning process that in the past involved hefty doses of measuring, guesswork and blind hope, has been made substantially easier. Using any standard smartphone camera, you can scan the area or surface of your home in which you wish to place a prospective item and quickly see exactly what it would look like, at exact scale.

A Dressing Room for Online Orders

 Avametric and Gap teamed on the shopping app Dressing Room by Gap  Courtesy Photo

Avametric and Gap teamed on the shopping app Dressing Room by Gap

Courtesy Photo

Similar to household shopping, clothing retailers haven’t hesitated in using AR to upgrade the shopping experience. American Apparel  has designed an app that enables customers to scan specialized signs placed in any of their stores to easily pull up product reviews, see products in multiple colors, and share products with friends. The Gap’s Virtual Dressing Room app allows customers to look at  outfits in a complete 360-degree view, as well as compare different colors, cuts, and sizes side-by-side. And, once they’ve settled on an ensemble they like, one quick link allows them to purchase that exact outfit. Meanwhile, LCST, an urban streetwear offshoot of Lacoste, used AR for a recent marketing campaign in which the customers modeled their  footwear by by overlaying shoes over their own feet as a way to try them on.

Made Up Makeup

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Anyone who has had to shop for and compare makeup can tell you that it can be a tedious, time-consuming endeavor, but with AR it can be as instant as a Snapchat filter. Modiface uses a camera to allow customers to model and compare different shades of various types of makeup with a single touch, even allowing a side-by-side comparison to make picking the perfect shade easier than ever. YouCamMakeup takes it a step further, allowing users to try on not just make-up but different accessories, along with analyzing the visible health of users skin. In the same vein, Olay Skin Advisor scans selfies uploaded by the user and provides advice and recommendations for products and regimens to treat user-specific issues and improve overall skin health. These apps all offer both helpful assessments for their users, and powerful advertising opportunities for brands.

Navigating in the Information Age

 WAYRAY

WAYRAY

In the automotive field, Edmunds “Can it Fit” app allows consumers to scan and measure their garage. It then allows them to pull from a list of car makes and models to see if a new car would fit in their garage or not, allowing them to neatly sidestep an awkward surprise when bringing home a new vehicle. And for the inside of the car, WayRay’s Heads Up Display (HUD) “Navion” projects directions in front of the driver, while using a camera to monitor changing conditions to provide updates in real-time, offering a smoother navigation experience. Best of all, it’s safer since drivers are not required to look at a phone or their dashboard GPS anymore.

Virtual Solutions for Real Patients

Some of the most useful innovations for AR and VR lie in the medical field, where systems like ImmersiveView allow doctors and surgeons to get a clearer look at patient scan data  in a virtual world where they can view the data at a 1:1 scale. Any healthcare personnel can manipulate the data to view patient anatomy from any angle and level of proximity, enabling a new level of accuracy while surgical plans are being made.

Whatever field you’re working in, whether enhancing daily life or saving lives, you can expect AR and VR solutions to transform  the status quo in the near future. Stay in touch to learn more about VR and AR solutions and developments in the medical world and beyond.

Nik Amar