Thursday, 26 January 2012

Augmented Reality in Retail

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This week saw several cities around the globe go crazy for the new Karl by Karl Lagerfeld diffusion line, sold exclusively on NET-A-PORTER.COM. The line itself was not the only attraction however. In New York, Berlin, Paris, Munich, Sydney and in London's Covent Garden, Net-A-Porter set up pop-up-windows making use of the latest in augmented reality technology. Iphone and Ipad users with the corresponding app could hold up their device to the window and be showed the full collection, and were given the chance to win pieces or shopping sprees on Net-A-Porter. The hype was understandable and crowds formed in the hundreds.

Although this was perhaps a fun and different shopping experience for the visitors, events like this show how technology is changing the way we shop. Online retail giants including NET-A-PORTER.COM and MY-WARDROBE.COM have already had a huge impact on retail with many people choosing e-tailoring sites over actual retail spaces.

However, these events were not the first to use augmented reality. Some Ray-Ban shop windows already use augmented reality allowing users to try on different sunglasses without actually having to enter the shop itself. Tissot also made us of this technology at Selfridges, London allowing visitors to try on their watches, this time providing shoppers with a paper cut-out watch to wear on their wrist.

Augmented reality technology for some may be nothing more than a gimmick however it is one technological leap among many that are moving towards changing the way we shop. Perhaps sometime in the future technology such as this will take over the traditional retail space and our methods of shopping, or may render it obsolete altogether.

Image source: NET-A-PORTER

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