- Augmented Reality
- Augmented Reality
Remember when we were promised augmented reality (AR) would change our lives? Well, it hasn’t gone far from the picture and video filters we use on social media. Which is such a shame! The AR technology has enormous potential, especially when it comes to online shopping. If you implement it the right way, that is.
Take jewelry retailers. Augmented reality apps that allow users to try on 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 not too successful. Here are some of the reasons why.
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 tryon features available from online jewelry stores and see if they actually work.
Many jewelry retailers have added virtual, mobile-friendly tryon 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 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 tryon. 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 tryon 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.
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 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 jewelry tryon app we’ve tested – MirrAR Jewelry tryon – 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 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.
Can AR-based tryon apps completely replace the physical, in-store experience for jewelry retailers 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 AR-based tryon app development – someone who will go that extra mile and leave no stone unturned until rings, pendants, and necklaces all find their happy owners. Someone like Postindustria.
But don’t take our word for it – have a look at our AR tryon app yourself.
Contact us anytime if you decide that an AR tryon app is exactly what your jewelry business needs.