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September 20, 2023

| 6 mins read

AR Shopping Mirrors: Reflecting the Future of Retail Experience

AR Shopping Mirrors: Reflecting the Future of Retail Experience

Every shopper knows the pain of finding the ideal jeans or shirt, for it is as hard as finding a needle in a haystack. While some customers are pretty sorted about what they are looking for, others approach salespersons for assistance. The whole process overwhelms customers, especially those who are not exactly sure about their preferences.

Sizing differences between brands further add fuel to the fire. Either customers have to wait for in-store staff to provide the item in a different size or get redressed and venture out looking for other sizes themselves.

However, what if the other sizes are not available at the moment? What if there is no salesperson available to help? Meet smart mirrors powered by augmented reality (AR) for shopping.

These intuitive mirrors enable shoppers to virtually try numerous styles, sizes, and colours of products without actually trying them in real. Coupled with cutting-edge technologies, AR shopping mirrors build 3D simulations of items that walk shoppers through a product’s minute details.

Time for a deep dive.

The Technology Behind Smart Mirrors

Smart mirrors are a compelling example of multiple technologies in a single package. Embedded cameras and sensors, including depth sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID) scanners, and motion detectors, capture real-time information about users and their surroundings.

Computer vision processes this captured data and enables smart mirrors to understand and track users’ movements, gestures, and the physical environment. AR, the underlying technology, superimposes simulations of the selected product (s) onto customers’ reflections on AR mirrors as if they are putting them on in real.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) build accurate virtual models of how a particular item will fit based on customers’ body shape and size. Whenever buyers turn or move in various angles to preview the fitting, the virtual model also moves accordingly as they would in real life.

Further, natural language processing (NLP) facilitates voice-driven shopping, where customers can search for products, ask queries, or request information using voice commands.

How Are Smart Mirrors Reshaping The Gen-Z User Experiences?

Gen Z makes up roughly 32% of the global population. With a disposable income of over $360 Bn, they are slated to become the largest generation of consumers.

More Personalisation, More Loyalty

The Gen Z cohort continuously craves personalised and immersive experiences that let them connect with the world. Indeed, 7 out of 10 Gen Z customers will remain loyal to businesses that deliver personalised experiences.

AR mirrors deliver on the promise by flashing tailored makeup styles, clothing recommendations, and accessory suggestions on their screens. They leverage data analytics and AI algorithms to analyse individual preferences, making in-store shopping more relevant and engaging.

Greater Shift toward Tech-based Shopping

Gen Z, being true digital natives,  is the first generation of customers to grow up in a tech-driven world. Hence, they prefer seamless tech integration into their daily lives. Moreover, they enjoy exploring and experimenting with technology.  AR mirrors merge physical and digital worlds, offering intuitive and high-tech shopping experiences that resonate with Gen Z's digital fluency.

This has completely changed how Gen Z customers engage with brands and make purchasing decisions. Case in point, about 90% of them want to see how a furniture or home décor item would look in their homes using AR.

Conscious Purchasing Decisions

Gen Z values transparency and information when making purchasing decisions. Smart mirrors provide detailed product information, including materials, pricing, and sustainability details, right at their fingertips. Such a wealth of insights helps customers make informed and responsible choices.

AR In-Store and Smart Mirrors - What Is In It For Brands?

By 2030, smart mirrors will represent a billion-dollar market, almost double its current value. Here is what is driving the adoption of augmented reality mirrors among brands across industries:

Clothing & Apparel Industry: Reduced Refund Rates

AR shopping mirrors allow customers to try on clothing items virtually until they find the perfect match and style. Additionally, they can try on articles without actually changing physical garments in and out. This eliminates the hassle of trying out multiple outfits in changing rooms to check the best fit.

Besides, augmented reality mirrors offer customers accurate information about the fit of a clothing item based on their body measurements. This reduces the likelihood of purchasing ill-fitting garments and subsequently returning them.

Jewelry Industry: Optimal Inventory Management

When purchasing jewelry in a brick-and-mortar store, the situation of waiting in long lines or dealing with inventory shortages frustrates customers.

Jewelry retailers can showcase a smaller selection of physical jewelry pieces in-store while offering a vast virtual inventory through AR shopping mirrors. All these without physically stocking all the items in-store. This reduces the amount of physical inventory needed at the moment, thus lowering storage costs.

With a smaller physical inventory, jewelry brands can reduce the number of display cases needed on their retail shelves. This not only saves space but also reduces the cost of purchasing, maintaining, and securing display cases.

Furthermore, jewelers can display high-value items virtually, reducing the risk of theft or damage to physical inventory. This decreases the need for costly replacements and insurance premiums.

Beauty Industry: At-scale Personalisation

People no longer want mass-produced one-size-fits-all beauty products. Instead, they want a tailored customer journey with a personal consultant at their disposal. AR shopping mirrors use AI algorithms to examine a customer’s skin tone, type, and condition.

Based on this analysis, the smart mirror recommends the most suitable foundation shades, eyeliners, and application techniques. This personalised approach increases the odds of customers, especially Generation Z, Alpha, and Millennials, making a purchase.

Automobile Industry: Virtual Prototyping

Augmented reality mirrors enable automobile manufacturers to visualise numerous car configurations and designs in a virtual environment. With virtual prototyping, they can adjust designs quickly and efficiently during the early stages itself.

Moreover, automakers can dynamically test these virtual prototypes using spatial AR mirrors. Engineers can examine how various vehicle components and systems interact in real time and thus identify potential issues and make necessary adjustments before going through the physical prototype stage.

Faster design iterations, early issue detection, and improved communication among teams all help automakers reduce the time to market for new vehicle models.

AR In-Store and Smart Mirrors - What Is In It For Customers? 

According to a report, 65% of customers highlight the importance of AR in store making the shopping experience easier. For customers, AR shopping mirrors provide the following benefits:

More Confident Decision-making

Shoppers often hesitate to make purchases because they are unsure how a product will look or fit. AR mirrors allow shoppers to virtually try on clothing, accessories, or makeup and see how these products will look on them in real time. Shoppers can experiment with different styles, colors, and variations without committing to a purchase.

This "try before you buy" approach enables shoppers to explore their options thoroughly and get more confident in their selections. As a sweetener, they are less likely to return products.

Enhanced Convenience  

AR mirrors streamline in-store shopping by eliminating the need to try multiple items or search for products physically. Customers can browse, choose, and visualise products quickly. In addition, they provide detailed product information, including prices, materials, and customer reviews in a flash.

That way, customers can use AR shopping mirrors independently, avoiding long queues or waiting for sales associates. This self-service approach improves convenience during busy shopping hours.

Access to a Wider Inventory

AR shopping mirrors lay out a virtual inventory of products that may not be physically present in the store. This includes variations in sizes, colors, and styles that are not feasible to stock in large quantities. As such, customers can virtually explore an extensive range of products without the physical limitations of a store's inventory.

AR mirrors often link to a brand’s e-commerce website or digital catalogue. Customers can access an entire product catalogue with just a few taps, exploring a vast array of items beyond what is available in the physical store.

Some AR mirrors connect to retailers’ entire inventory, including stock from other store outlets or warehouses. Customers can see and buy products from this broader inventory without visiting multiple physical outlets of the same brand.

Rethinking In-Store Shopping

The key to modern retail success is offering shopping experiences beyond customers’ expectations. Customer satisfaction is the most powerful force that drives retailers to outperform every passing day.

People no longer need to wait in queues for dressing rooms or return products due to fitting issues. They want convenience - something AR shopping mirrors deliver - irrespective of where they are exploring. Brands that have tapped into this immersive technology are already strengthening connections with customers, slashing refund rates, and enjoying exponential sales – online and offline.

Above all, with augmented reality mirrors, the days of bad jeans, sunglasses, and design choices will be a thing of the past.

Lastly, the retail industry is booming, and a significant credit goes to AR software, which brought a silent storm.

So, if you want to delight your shoppers, these smart mirrors will help you strike all the right notes.

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