Augmented reality shopping has become a fundamental way to buy certain products online, as beauty and furniture brands can attest. Amazon knows that, too, having for years now let customers see what a couch or table looks like in their own living rooms before buying.
Purchasing fashion this way, however, is another story. Although AR try-ons are picking up steam in this category, especially with accessories, they’re not as fundamental to the overall fashion shopping experience. Tech makers have to work out a bevy of issues, from body sizes and shapes to believable renderings of digital cloth and physics, like gravity. Amazon should know those challenges as well, since it already offers virtual T-shirt try-ons. Developing digital garment try-ons isn’t easy — if it were, there would hardly be a need for services like Prime Try Before You Buy, née Prime Wardrobe.
The tech isn’t new — savvy social media users have been playing with digital kicks for years now — but that misses the point. There have been numerous one-off campaigns on different platforms, but Amazon has suddenly unleashed thousands of virtual styles across major footwear brands all at once spanning Adidas, Asics, New Balance, Puma, Reebok, Saucony and many more. The notable exception is Nike, which pulled its products from the marketplace three years ago.
In other words, with one update the e-commerce giant is going beyond social media to bring this digital experience to a massively broad base of consumers for a high value product category.