Popularized by Pokémon Go, augmented reality (AR) is now present in all sectors. Successfully launched in the online ready-to-wear, this technology is now used in e-commerce for cosmetics, furniture, and glasses. In the latter field, home fitting via augmented reality must be considered as a real plus, which enriches the customer experience as well as the relationship between the wearer and the optician.
Augmented reality should not be confused with virtual reality. AR consists of superimposing virtual elements in the real world to complete it, unlike virtual reality, which completely immerses the user in a fictional environment. Augmented reality can, therefore, be used with a computer, smartphone or tablet, while virtual reality generally requires a specific mask such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
It is not just a question of proposing augmented reality because it is trendy. To be effective and achieve your objective, namely to boost the sales of your e-commerce site, this technology must meet real needs and have a value in use. "For brands, it is important to take into account three main rules before using augmented reality: realism, fluidity, and durability," explains Stefanos Loukakos, Director of Messenger Business, in an article published in June 2018 in Strategies. The system offered to the customer must, therefore, be seamless. In concrete terms, this means:
The VTO experience must allow for useful and concrete action: testing a lipstick to ensure its harmony with its complexion or appearance, determining its exact size to avoid sore feet in its new sneakers, trying several pairs of glasses to choose the shape that suits us best, etc.
This experience must be almost identical to the one experienced in store: if the result obtained is imprecise, pixelated, of poor quality, the customer will not trust the solution and will turn away from your products and your brand for a long time.
Finally, virtual try-on via augmented reality must be thought of as a mean of building consumer loyalty. It must not be a temporary part of the purchasing process but as a tool for perpetuating customer relations, which implies associating, for example, features of sharing on social networks.
In the optical sector, VTO must be approached concerning the specificities of selling glasses on the Internet:
Because of these particularities, the eyewear is not a consumer product like any other: it is a fashion accessory, carrying an emotional connection and fitted with several functions (affirmation of style, personality vector, protection, visual correction...). Its health dimension makes it an object that can only be chosen by the consumer if he is accompanied by a professional who will be able to offer him the equipment best suited to his needs, in terms of shape, glasses, etc.
Eyeglass wearers are well aware of this: according to a QualiQuanti Institute survey conducted for the Supercent power plant, 71% of customers appreciate being advised by an optician when choosing a frame and 89% ask for their opinion.
Given the unique characteristics of eyeglasses, most wearers want to buy theirs in stores to benefit from the optician's expertise in visual acuity. On the other hand, they will most often prepare this purchase on the Internet, from their home or office. It is in this context that optical professionals must integrate virtual fitting into their web strategy.
With the fitting of glasses in augmented reality, wearers will be able to try several shapes and colors of frames to pre-select those they like most, but also choose the store that will offer the most adapted offer to their expectations.
This technology, therefore, helps opticians to differentiate themselves, to attract customers, to bring them to the store, to retain them, but also to save precious time when dealing with customers who will have a clearer idea of their needs.