The retail industry is moving from the online ecommerce era to the age of augmented reality. A lot of companies are extending their business to support augmented reality experience for creating or improving product desirability. Retail markets like clothing, toys and games, and departmental stores have already started experimenting with augmented reality apps and tools. The jewelry market is no exception. A number of high-end Jewellers have already implemented augmented reality technology into their digital strategies to change the way customers buy products.
Augmented reality provides direct or indirect and live view of a real-world environment, augmenting the elements with the help of computer-generated sensory input. This latest technology allows customers to virtually ‘try on’ jewelry items, providing the buyers an interactive and interesting way to connect with brands before making the purchase decision. Such interaction improves the chances of the buyer to come back to the jeweler again in the future.
De Beers, for example, has already implemented augmented reality back in 2011 to market its branded diamonds. The company used the concept of ‘virtually try on’ jewelry for their Forevermark diamond brand. The mining giant allowed its customers to use their computers to see pendants, earrings, and rings from their Forevermark Millemoi collection and allowed them to wear it virtually in a seemingly 3D live environment. In 2012, the Australian store, Boutique Accessories experimented with augmented reality to allow their consumers to try on a wide range of necklaces, bracelets and earrings with the help of webcam and flash plug-in, using different tracking methods for positioning the jewelry item on the user. Besides, other high-end Jewellers like Tacori and Boucheron have also provided augmented reality experience to their customers to boost online as well as in-store sales.
The official site of Boucheron allowed buyers to print out pieces of paper, which they can put next to their ears, or wrap around their wrists or fingers. As the users hold the paper up using their webcam, they can see their images wearing the brand reflected on their computer screen. Boucheron experienced a 50 percent growth in their in their web traffic soon after launching this augmented reality tool, followed by a 10 percent increase year over year. Tacori offered a similar technology using webcam and printer; however, the company made an out-of-the-box move by setting up an AR booth outside of Bloomingdale’s. Consumers, here, could virtually move around with the jewelry.
The oldest jewelry manufacturer of the world, Britain’s Garrard created augmented-reality windows, which became extremely popular during the royal wedding craze of 2011. This AR window allowed viewers to put on a tiara costing $154,481 on their head. Tissot, the Swiss watchmaker allowed the window shoppers from the sidewalk to try on their luxury watches in front of Selfridges and Harrods. The augmented reality campaign offered by this Swiss watchmaker was very successful and their sales in Tissot Selfridges boutique increased 85 percent.
This proves that augmented reality not only adds value to the Jewellers, but to the retailers as well, who is selling the product.