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Wednesday / February 21.
HomemifashionnewsVirtual Twist & Traditional Shopping

Virtual Twist & Traditional Shopping

Augmented reality is working its way into the shopping experience and is expected to change the way the buying public shop in the future.

The Augmented Reality Shopping (ARS) experience is one part social shopping, one part mapping, and one part ‘nowism’. It will not only mimic the real-world shopping experience but enhance it.

The technique of ARS involves overlaying graphics on a real-world image so the graphics enhance and recontextualise the scene.

This concept was introduced by Macy’s flagship store in New York late last year. Macy’s featured a ‘Magic Fitting Room’ – a dressing room with a six foot high “magic mirror” linked to an Apple iPad allowing shoppers to digitally ‘try on’ an endless array of outfits.

Over the next month or so phase two will see the Virtual Mirrors include a facial recognition program. Facial recognition will identify a person’s face shape (oblong, round, diamond, etc) and match a pair of glasses to that shape in the virtual mirror in the store.

The ‘Magic Fitting Room’ allows users to share their new looks via email and Facebook. Customers, more often than not, look to a friend for their opinion on a possible purchase and it’s this opinion that becomes the deciding factor on what item they should purchase. The capability for shoppers to get immediate thumbs up, or down, without the physical presence of a shopping companion, will become an essential part of a customer’s future shopping experience.

The OPSM Eye Hub introduced the Virtual Mirror in July last year to enable shoppers to take a photo or video of their new look. Due to privacy reasons customers haven’t been able to share these images by email or social media as yet but this will change with phase two of the Virtual Mirror. Luxottica says the Virtual Mirrors have been so successful in the Eye Hub that they’ll be also rolled out in all OPSM stores from the first quarter this year.

Over the next month or so phase two will see the Virtual Mirrors include a facial recognition program. Facial recognition will identify a person’s face shape (oblong, round, diamond, etc) and match a pair of glasses to that shape in the virtual mirror in the store.

Now, let’s take the concept of ARS one step further… imagine all the augmented reality apps rolled into a pair of glasses! Through these glasses a person will be able to interact with social networking, find out about upcoming events, check the weather, and find out about the latest specials as they walk past the shops – the possibilities are endless! In this issue we take a closer look at the phenomenon of Augmented Reality Eyewear in our lead story from page 20.