Online retail has been gathering momentum with major luxury brands opting for the e-commerce route. Now it is on the threshold of getting another major boost through evolving technology. Augmented reality or interactive video technology has been around now for a couple of years, but mostly in an experimental form but now it has reached a stage of development that it can transform the consumer experience by closing the gap between the store and online shopping.
Now while sitting in front of your laptop and browsing through products on display, if you want to try a watch to see how it would look on your wrist, you can print out a little piece of paper embedded with a barcode, wrap it around your arm and hold it up to a camera on your computer and, bingo, there is your arm, adorned with a virtual watch. The technology will revolutionize the online trade. The experts feel that market for this technology will grow to $350 million by 2014.
There are several companies that have initiated or already launched interesting AR app. Ebay launched an AR app, this month that allows anyone with an iPhone 4 to try on pairs of sunglasses digitally by superimposing the design over the user’s face. Clothing retailer H&M launched an iPhone app with GoldRun, an AR start-up that allows shoppers to try on outfits virtually. One of the biggest retail categories to embrace AR technology has been fine jewelry and watches. With time the technology will get more refined and the applications more appropriate and useful.