- Augmented Reality
- Mixed Reality
- Virtual Reality
- Augmented Reality
- Virtual Reality
In 2022, the shopping experience is catching up with consumer needs and is more flexible than ever. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping became not only the preferred choice but also the only shopping option for many. Augmented reality (AR) technology allows shoppers to get to know the product better, check it out, or try it on without getting up from the couch. According to the latest data, there will be approximately 1.7 billion users of mobile AR worldwide by 2024.
According to ThinkMobiles, 63% of customers are sure that AR will improve their shopping experience, and 35% say that they would likely go shopping online more if there was a possibility to virtually try stuff before buying it. Numbers speak louder than words — find more interesting data in our article on why AR jewelry apps are an ideal business tool to attract more potential customers.
More and more brands are integrating AR try-on features into their marketing strategy. Now it is clear that retailers must modernize to meet the needs of consumers. In this guide, we’ve gathered together everything you need to know about jewelry retail in 2022. Fasten your seatbelts and let’s start with an overview of how AR is changing the industry right now.
Although people are now more accustomed to buying jewelry online, this was not always the case. A few years ago, choosing jewelry was an extremely intimate process — whether it was an engagement ring, a daughter’s coming-of-age necklace, or an expensive gift for a loved one. The combination of high prices and the importance of being able to see what a piece of jewelry looks like in real life meant that people were hesitant to buy gold bracelets or diamond rings online.
However, AR technology has revolutionized the sale of jewelry on the Internet. AR has given customers the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the process of trying on jewelry in real-time — as if they were in a store. Read more about how AR jewelry apps create an immersive experience on the customer’s device in our expert article.
Not only customers can gain from AR online jewelry stores, but jewelry brands can also by integrating AR apps into their marketing strategies:
Several big names in the jewelry business have already launched virtual fittings. Diamond Hedge, an app from the independent jewelry marketplace, allows its users to select a diamond from the available options, customize a ring, and try it on virtually. Well-known brands such as Tiffany & Co and Pandora have also experimented with virtual fittings. However, there are some challenges in online jewelry retail.
While preparing our post about AR try-on jewelry retail, we discovered that AR apps are well-positioned to take businesses to the next level. However, some scenarios are far from perfect. Let’s take a look at some of the AR features available in jewelry retail and see if they really work.
Many jewelry retailers have added virtual try-on to their websites, including James Allen, a reputable US jewelry retailer. This feature is advertised as a simple and elegant solution, as can be seen in the video:
Putting everything in its place is not so easy, and the result is a 2D image of a hand with a ring that can only be viewed from one angle. The lighting on the jewelry does not match the lighting on the hand, so it looks as if the ring is not on the finger. The creators of this solution obviously put a lot of work into it, but the result, unfortunately, is not impressive.
This example perfectly illustrates the situation with web versions of jewelry fittings. The web version only allows you to view static images, and it is very difficult to impress your customers.
We will return to the advantages and disadvantages of web versions later. At this point, it’s important to say that jewelry retailers who are just getting started with AR should first consider building an AR mobile app. We talk more about AR try-on jewelry retailers’ attempts in our recent post.
We examined a few mobile apps that let shoppers try on rings using AR, but they all lacked key implementation points. Poor object and motion tracking, an unconvincing 3D model, and minor interface flaws prevented developers from realizing the full potential of their applications.
Analyzing the market situation and adopting the experience of competitors, Postindustria’s engineers have developed a unique virtual ring fitting app to meet the needs of the most demanding customers.
The hand-tracking technique we have used, relying on our research and development, boasts the highest accuracy available on the market. We took advantage of high-resolution smartphone cameras and developed a digital tool, which we will discuss in more detail below.
Tech-savvy jewelry retailers should be looking for a trusted partner with experience in developing AR jewelry fitting apps that can ensure their customers get realistic renderings of gemstones and perfect rings. Using modern AR technologies, retailers can improve the online shopping experience, providing excellent sales growth. Let’s look at how AR can be applied to jewelry stores using our ring fitting app as an example.
Once our team examined the market, our goal was to create a solution that works without markers and uses all modern AR trends:
The first results were quite satisfactory, we got more stable placement points for our ring, but it was still only a temporary solution. So, we’ve trained our own hand-tracking model, which has no jitter issues.
We request users to take a picture of their hand and “try on” a ring from the virtual gallery. The play of light, realized through ray tracing, makes the gems look realistic. In addition, our engineers have developed a function to determine the size of the ring. However, developing the virtual ring sizing technology wasn’t so easy.
Before talking about existing methods for virtual sizing, let’s discuss sizing problems in more detail. According to a jewelry market insider, companies that sell jewelry online receive a 15% rate of ring return due to incorrect sizing. But the size of some rings cannot be changed. Every fifth ring sent for resizing needs to be recycled, and adjusting rings with gemstones can damage them. Returns are an issue for jewelry brands with online sales, and brands that offer virtual fittings are no exception.
A virtual fitting offers a seemingly perfect solution, but jewelry fittings rarely offer a ring finger measurement. At best, customers receive a ring-size conversion table and use a tape measure or ruler.
Frankly speaking, this method is inconvenient and outdated. In this case, what can you offer your potential buyer? There are dozens of virtual ring meters available on the Internet that are based on one of the following simple methods.
These methods are not ideal. Although they allow you to choose the ring size, they do not take into account the location of the knuckles on the finger and this leaves room for improvement in accuracy. The best alternative is to measure the ring size from a photo of your ring finger taken with a high-resolution smartphone camera.
Our engineering team experimented with a credit card since most people have at least one in their wallet, and got a promising result — the error does not exceed 0.1 mm. To learn more about this method, feel free to check out our post dedicated to virtual ring try-on sizing.
According to a McKinsey report, online jewelry sales will account for 18-21% of global jewelry sales by 2025, up from 13% in 2019, signaling a significant industry shift toward e-commerce. For businesses, this trend translates into finding compelling digital marketing channels that will keep customers focused. However, in the development of a virtual jewelry try-on, not everything goes smoothly when it comes to web versions.
Web AR software is already widely used in fashion retail, such as Piaget’s virtual boutique, where luxury jewelry and watches are available. Once you enter the space, you can choose from hundreds of products, visualize them in 3D or view them from different angles. Similar technology can easily be used by brands of clothing, shoes, or furniture. To check more examples, please feel free to explore our article on how COVID-19 is transforming e-commerce.
However, there is still one major barrier to virtual jewelry fitting. There are either no good quality off-the-shelf, open-source solutions available or their capabilities max out at evaluating the size of the hand and spotting knuckles. This leads to several problems with the accessibility of the virtual ring fitting from the browser:
Check our recent post, where we explain what is web AR and its challenges in more detail.
You may think, then, that the AR web interface cannot bring benefits to brands, however, this is not entirely true. For example, through the web interface, you can track brand engagement and audience interest through Google Analytics, and audience targeting also works better.
Fortunately, there is a solution that can combine online AR and native apps. This in-browser application partially runs from the browser as an incoming application. This could be a solution that takes visitors from a company’s website to an inbound app without having to download anything, thus skipping another pain point.
As you can see, AR is becoming an increasingly popular trend in the jewelry industry. More and more brands need experts to create an augmented reality jewelry app that meets their needs. Only teams with a deep understanding of the product and knowledge of the technical components can create an app that delivers an outstanding experience for your customers.
Postindustria engineers have mastered the art of recreating a complete showroom on any mobile device. We offer you a full menu of AR development services — from a virtual try-on tool and 3D galleries to entire e-commerce platform development with your ideas in mind. Leave us your contact details by filling out the form above, and we’ll get in touch to discuss bringing your ideas to life.
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