• AR
  • Augmented Reality
  • Jewelry
  • Virtual Reality

Checklist: What to Consider Before Developing a Mobile App for Virtual Try-On

Yuriy Velichko
20 Apr 2022
8 min
Checklist: What to Consider Before Developing a Mobile App for Virtual Try-On

The world went mobile decades ago. Now it’s going virtual, creating new opportunities for brands to plunge their clients into immersive shopping experiences, including on mobile devices. 

According to market research, mobile applications are projected to generate over $613 billion in revenues worldwide by 2025. That’s $200bn more than in 2021. 

Consumer spend on mobile is expected to increase as well. In the fourth quarter of 2021,  consumers spent on average $10.64 on mobile apps per smartphone – up from $5.31 in the previous quarter. The overall spending trend on apps since 2019 was upward, according to Statista.

Mobile apps in e-commerce offer engaging and interactive shopping experiences. To be a success and generate revenue, a mobile app should address customer needs and offer relevant features. This is why it’s equally important to carefully consider the marketing side of the equation, as well as the tech stack. 

In this blog post, you’ll learn about what should be considered when taking on a mobile app development project, in particular, for virtual try-on apps.

Checklist: What to Consider Before Developing a Mobile App for Virtual Try-On - photo 1

Identify your target audience and address its needs 

Start with identifying who will use your app and for what purpose. Do you expect your audience to be Gen Z-ers familiar with the latest tech trends like AR or VR and eager to hunt for virtual Pokémons? Or are you aiming for an older generation, who might feel uncomfortable or unfamiliar with trying stuff on virtually through a smartphone camera?

Next, you should identify the needs of your clients. Pushing customers too hard in the direction of a virtual try-on could be overkill. People might not really think they need it. So you should always offer a route where customers can go ahead and order straightaway instead, or opt to view the item in 3D. But many may welcome the chance to see how your merchandise fits, whether it’s a jewelry piece or shoes. 

Assessing what your audience expects and is comfortable with helps provide a better customer experience while online shopping.

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    Define pillar features

    Now that you’ve figured out what your customer needs, you can start defining the pillar features of your application. 

    For virtual try-on you can offer the following:

    • A 3D gallery of proposed goods, allowing customers to see your products in three dimensions, rotate them and zoom in and out
    • A smart search and suggestions engine, cutting customer time for searches on the app.
    • A 3D product configurator for your product, if applicable, to allow customers to customize the product as they like (changing colors, certain elements, adding engraving, etc.)
    • A user-friendly payment system that should minimize the number of clicks to complete a purchase
    • A user account that is easy to navigate, which contains not only the user info but also saves discount options and enables connecting with friends

    The try-on feature, of course, with realistic 3D rendering of the offered products and fitting options

    Make sure the mobile app design matches the brand

    It’s important that when switching to a mobile app customers continue having the same or at least a very similar user experience as they have when navigating the website of a brand. The design should be familiar so they intuitively understand how to navigate the app. 

    A well-designed mobile app is easy to navigate, offers good functionality, has a catchy logo, etc. Make sure you have a professional UX architect or UI designer for mobile apps on your development team. Or you can hire a mobile app designer as an independent contractor to take on these tasks.

    Consider the infrastructure

    Now you know what features your application should have and how it should look, you need to consider the development infrastructure. This is when things get technical. So be ready to make up your mind about the following:

    Where to store your data — should you use the cloud or on-premises services?

    Both options have pros and cons that should be carefully considered before starting app development. 

    The major difference between the two is that on-premises software is installed and runs on hardware on the premises of a company, whereas cloud services (SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS) work as a remote facility and are managed remotely. The most popular cloud providers are AWS (Amazon Web Services), GCP (Google Cloud Platform), and Microsoft Azure.

    Checklist: What to Consider Before Developing a Mobile App for Virtual Try-On - photo 2

    On-premises software:

    • Gives developers more control over the data, however, requires more time for installation and maintenance
    • Allows more flexibility in the management process, but implies greater responsibility for all the components from data engineers
    • Incurs higher initial costs for purchasing and scaling the hardware
    • Heavily relies on inhouse security manager to avoid security breaches and data leaks
    • Requires assigning a person to monitor the latest updates in country/regional regulations
    • Updates take time and contain risks of discrepancies between software updates

     Cloud services:

    • Can be considered more cost-effective than running on-premises software since you pay only when you use the service
    • Security is guaranteed by the software vendor on the cloud
    • Offers less control over data management, however, doesn’t take much time for installation and running
    • Gives less flexibility in data management, but offers more room for compatibility with updates
    • Offers a few embedded tolls to ensure data integrity

    Where to store and how to manage user accounts and sign-ins

    Another thing to consider is how to manage sign-ins and where to store user accounts. Usually for data protection on devices both hardware and software encryption are implemented. Hardware encryption implies encoding user data, while software encryption offers an additional layer of protection — to keep access to additional applications like emails safe.

    The most common ways of signing into a mobile device that imply data encryption are Single-Sign-On (SSO), Open Authorization protocol (OAuth), a PIN, a password, TouchID or fingerprints, or FaceID.

    There are multiple platforms offering customer identity verification and authentication: Okta, OneLogin, Auth0, Microsoft Azure Active Directory, Google Cloud Identity Platform, and so on. I personally prefer Amazon Cognito as it’s easy to navigate and supports sign-in with social identity providers, and the Firebase platform for its fully managed backend infrastructure.

    Pick a server for your backend

    While the frontend is the face of a mobile app, through which a user interacts with it, the backend can be considered the technical backyard of the app where all the magic happens.

    Checklist: What to Consider Before Developing a Mobile App for Virtual Try-On - photo 3

    So it’s important to make sure that the server that hosts your backend is reliable and guarantees that all operations run smoothly. You can use one of a variety of existing MBaaS (Mobile Backend as a Service) options that can self-host. The most popular ones are AWS Mobile, Firebase, Back4App, and Parse for Android apps and Rest API, StackMob, and GraphQL for iOS. Each of these offers its proper set of features, analytics, push notifications, and databases.

    Development environment

    The next step is to choose the components of the development environment. 

    Native apps or multiplatform framework

    When developing a mobile application, you can write code and create backend architecture for Android or iOS independently. In which case, you’ll need to maintain two code bases and will end up having to double up if a bug occurs and you need to fix it for both codes.

    An alternative solution is to use a cross-platform mobile framework to write a single code for both operating systems. Flutter and React Native are the two top frameworks preferred by developers for this purpose. They allow you to create a native-looking app for both iOS and Android devices with the same code.

    Use open-source solutions or develop everything from scratch

    Using ready solutions for certain features in your app can save you time and money, however, they are not always available and may also incur certain pitfalls.

    For instance, to develop virtual try-on for eyewear or make-up, you can use the Face Mesh machine learning model by MediaPipe which is open source. It’s easy to integrate into any framework. However, it might be problematic to customize and support this model. It can be really difficult to change or add something to the existing architecture of open-source models.

    Another pitfall is that for some types of virtual try-on, such as rings, no open-source solutions are available yet, meaning that this needs to be a custom development, which is often time-consuming. 

    Mobile analytics tools

    You’ll need to analyze the performance of your application once it’s released, to get a better understanding of how users interact with it and check whether you are meeting the targets that you initially set. 

    Thankfully, there’s a variety to choose from: Google Analytics, Apple Analytics (for iOS), App Radar, Localytics, Mixpanel, AppDynamics, Smartlook, etc.

    Development tools 

    These are the core development tools that your team will need for the project:

    • Software repository to store software packages (GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, Microsoft Azure DevOps, Codebase, etc.)
    • Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that will hold together all components of your application development, including code, design, and configurations (Android Studio, Xcode, Eclipse IDE, JetBrains Rider, Visual Studio Code, etc.)
    • Database Management System (Oracle SQL Developer, DataGrip, DbVisualizer, PL/SQL Developer, Redgate, etc.)
    • HTTP Clients (Fiddler, HTTPie, RESTer, Paw, etc.)

    Team and time frame 

    And last but not least is the team and the time frame for your project. Depending on the complexity of your project and how many features it will have, you’ll have to hire the relevant number of specialists to cover all your needs. 

    You’ll definitely need the following people on the team:

    • Mobile app developers
    • UX/UI designer
    • DevOps engineer
    • QA engineer
    • Project manager

    Developing a simple mobile app for shopping without complex features like AR integration will take up to three months. If you want a virtual try-on feature integration, it can take up to a year, depending on the complexity of the machine learning algorithm. Hand tracking algorithms for jewelry try-on, for example, are rather time-consuming to work out and will take more time to develop.

    Choose a reliable partner for mobile app development 

    With over 15 years of experience in mobile app development, Postindustria is a reliable partner that knows how to deliver efficient mobile solutions. Do you need MVP development, performance and security audits, payment integrations, in-app purchases, or to add AR to your mobile app? Our developers cover these all. Check out our projects and don’t hesitate to book a call with our expert team to discuss your custom solution.

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