• AR
  • Augmented Reality
  • Fashion
  • Jewelry
  • Retail

AR Try-On in Jewelry Retail: What’s Wrong and How to Fix It?

Konstantin Mirin
29 Nov 2020
6 min
AR Try-On in Jewelry Retail: What’s Wrong and How to Fix It?

Remember when we were promised augmented reality (AR) would change our lives? The changes haven’t been drastic so far, but you must have noticed the way this technology subtly penetrated various aspects of our lives. Take online shopping. More and more brands are integrating AR try-on features into their marketing strategy. 

Augmented reality can yield benefits for businesses across domains and jewelry is no exception. Jewelry AR apps that allow users to try on pieces of jewelry had every opportunity to launch their businesses to new heights at a time when people either can’t visit physical stores or don’t feel safe trying on merchandise. However, the cases are far from perfect. Here are some of the reasons why.

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    Can AR try-on save jewelry businesses?

    Historically, the decision to purchase jewelry has always been based on emotion, and the process of choosing the item has been intimate. Take an engagement ring, for instance, and everything it stands for. How do you buy something so personal and expensive remotely?

    The customer needs to know if the piece of jewelry fits, whether or not it suits them, and see the play of light on its curves and edges. Is this something you can offer online? Let’s look at some of the AR try-on features available from online jewelry stores and see if they actually work.

    Jewelry retailers’ attempts at online try-on 

    Many jewelry retailers have added virtual, mobile-friendly try-on functionality to their websites. The feature is advertised as a simple and elegant solution where customers only need to take a picture of their hand using their smartphone camera, then select the ring they fancy. 

    In reality, the job requires good aim and nimble fingers. So, you might spend some time pinch-zooming and rotating until the ring assumes its intended position on your finger instead of floating next to it.

    Here’s how James Allen – a reputable US-based jewelry retailer – presents this feature  on their website: 

    Here’s what it really looks like:

    It’s a bit tricky to get everything in the right place, and the result is a 2D image of your hand with a ring you can only view from one angle. The lighting on the jewelry piece does not match that on the hand, so it looks as if the ring is not attached to the finger. The creators of this solution clearly put a lot of work into it, but the experience and the result are, unfortunately, not that impressive.

    And this pretty much sums up the website versions of jewelry try-on. While sellers may have different designs, the functionality will have similar limitations, and, in the end, you’ll only be able to look at static images.

    Now, what do you do if you want to leave your customers speechless while reaching for their wallets? Build a mobile AR try-on app.

    When it comes to attracting your clients, augmented reality really packs a punch. On top of showing them a realistic 3D render of the piece, the app tracks motion in real-time, so your client can turn their face or hand to get a better look, and the piece will move accordingly.

    Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? Well, the devil is always in the details.

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      Jewelry AR try-on app fails

      What sets app-based AR apart from its web sibling is the extended toolkit engineers can use to achieve realistic results. There’s just so much more you can do in terms of lighting and depth recognition, 3D textures, and tracking. How developers leverage these tools is what makes all the difference.

      Let’s look at some examples. Here’s the AR try-on jewelry app from Diamond Hedge Live AR, an app from the independent jewelry marketplace – Diamond Hedge.

      The demo video looks promising, but we tested the actual iOS app and… let’s just say, it’s a bit rough around the edges. First of all, the 3D model is incomplete, so you can only see the better, more presentable half of the ring. No matter how you maneuver the hand, the band’s base won’t see the light of day – because it wasn’t there, to begin with. 

      The virtual ring attaches to your finger automatically but in its own whimsical way. Because of this, it may sit on a knuckle or miss your hand altogether. Motion tracking also has serious lags, so when you move your hand, the ring takes a moment to think before it starts chasing the finger.

      While the technology is there, it’s not implemented properly and leaves much room for improvement.

      One more AR try-on jewelry app we’ve tested – MirrAR Jewelry try-on – is plagued with similar problems: poor object and motion tracking, a 3D model that isn’t convincing, and minor interface flaws. It looks like the developers failed to realize the app’s full potential.

      Here’s another example, straight from a software development company:

      Even though mobile AR jewelry apps normally have access to an entire arsenal of 3D features, this one produces a two-dimensional render. Moreover, its authors seem to have found another shortcut: the use of direct flash eliminates the need to create shadows on the virtual object. We’re not sure it’s a great move – the rings look flat and unattractive.

      Overall, the current situation seems pretty dire and confusing. With a growing demand for online jewelry shopping, there are no mobile apps on the market to offer a holistic approach and provide a truly satisfying experience. The available offers consistently fall short of expectations in usability, speed, and rendering accuracy. It’s a void that wants to be filled, and the jewelry market players need to take action.

      High-precision hand tracking for a perfect ring fitting

      Can AR try-on jewelry apps completely replace the physical, in-store experience for brands and their customers? No. But can they be the next best thing in the post-pandemic reality and boost online jewelry sales? Yes, provided these AR apps are done right.

      Tech-savvy jewelry retailers need to be looking for a reliable partner with expertise in jewelry AR app development – someone, who can ensure that their customers get a realistic rendering of gemstones and the perfect fit for the rings.

      Postindustria’s engineers have developed a unique virtual try-on app for rings that meets the needs of the most demanding customers. The hand-tracking technique we used relying on our R&D boasts the highest precision available in the market. 

      Using Postindustria’s ring try-on app you can rest assured that a ring won’t sit on a knuckle or float on your smartphone screen. We also offer a virtual ring sizing feature. 

      Old-style solutions for online customers – such as measuring the circumference of a finger with tape or sending out free plastic ring sizers – are inconvenient and out of date in the era of disruptive technologies. 

      We leveraged the power of high-resolution smartphone cameras and developed a digital tool that measures the size of a ring finger with the help of a credit card. The finger should be placed next to a standard-sized object in the same photo to show the proportions and determine the size. Our result — a margin of error that doesn’t exceed 0.1mm. 

      AR Try-On in Jewelry Retail: What’s Wrong and How to Fix It? - photo 1

      Contact us anytime if you got interested in our AR try-on to discuss the details. 

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