Our goal was not to supplant the retail experience, but to augment it so that the customer, as they go into the store, has now done a bit of research. It’s compressed time, so that they don’t have to try everything on; they can just try one or two pairs because they’ve narrowed it down.
Bollé Brands Virtual Try-on in AR
Bollé Brands is a designer, manufacturer and distributor of high performance eye wear and head protection for skiing and cycling. They develop innovative technology to maximize performance and protection, without sacrificing comfort and fashion. In 2020, Bollé faced challenges brought by the pandemic, as store closures and economic instability meant that their customers were reluctant to buy their high-end products without trying them on. The brand’s response was to experiment with Augmented Reality technology to enable their customers to try-on their sunglasses virtually. Bollé launched a Try-On experience on Instagram for their Chronoshield frames with their Phantom lens. With the success of the Instagram experience, Bollé was looking allow their customers to try-on their full range of premium sunglasses, directly on their website. This would require Augmented Reality technology that runs directly in the web browser, without the need to install an app or to leave the product page.
Emersya developed a web-based Virtual Try-On experience for eyewear and headwear, using their in-house Augmented Reality technology. Embedded directly in each product page on Bollé’s website, the experience runs locally on the customer’s device. When the customer clicks on the 3D icon, the selected pair of sunglasses loads in real-time Interactive 3D. This enables online customers to actively discover the product from all angles and to zoom in on all the details. They can then switch directly to the AR mode in order to virtually try the sunglasses on. In AR mode, the front camera in the customer’s device is activated and the sunglasses are virtually “fitted” onto the customer’s face. Emersya’s technology uses artificial intelligence to detect and analyse the customer’s face, in order to correctly position the glasses. The analysis of the live camera feed happens in real-time on the customer’s device and no images or data are transferred or stored. As the customer moves their head around to see what the sunglasses look like from different angles, the glasses will automatically adjust to their movements. Customers can switch between the different colorways available for each product in the chosen collection, in order to make a more informed choice.
Emersya has been developing fully web-based Augmented Reality technology for a number of years. Fully web based means that the experience runs directly in the web browser AND without leaving the product page in which the 3D viewer has been embedded. The AR experience take places in the space allocated to the Emersya 3D viewer in the product page. This means that the buyer journey is not interrupted but rather enhanced as customers get a “try before you buy experience” and can still click to buy the product at any time. Providing a seamless shopping experience was one of Bollé’s highest priorities as they sought to maximise consumer satisfaction. From a marketing perspective, the web-based AR experience provides the added advantage of increasing the amount of time customers spend on each product page and on Bollé’s website. As well as improving consumer engagement, Bollé gained in brand awareness by offering an innovative customer experience to match their innovative product technology. As retail returns to the new normal and consumers return to physical stores, Bollé is set to further roll out their 3D and AR experience for more of their products. The experience will now play an important role in Bollé’s omni-channel sales strategy, by allowing customers to research and try-on a large range of products online before going into a store to make their final choice.