JD.com, one of the leading e-commerce platforms in China, is leveraging on augmented reality (AR) technology to integrate online and offline shopping experience.
It will introduce three AR-powered products: a makeup mirror, a dressing mirror, and smart glasses. The company also announced the establishment of China’s first AR innovation alliance with Intel, Walmart, VIP.com, Lenovo, and other retail and AR partners.
One of the obstacles confronting online shoppers is their inability to hold and touch a product before making the decision to buy it or not. More often than not, buying online is a gamble in that a consumer is not sure that the product she is buying is exactly what she wants.
Addressing this issue, JD.com is using AR and 3D technologies to create multiple interactive experiences for shoppers to find the right products online. These new technologies also create new digital touchpoints for brands to connect with consumers.
Unlike Alibaba Group, which relies on third-party developers to explore AR technology, JD.com is trying to develop the hardware and applications by itself in order to build an ecosystem for consumers. Over the last two years, the company has provided AR shopping scenarios for more than 200 brands. It has also launched several AR applications such as virtual make-up as well as virtual trial of clothes and shoes to enhance the consumer’s online shopping experience.
The company’s use of AR technology has increased the conversion rate to 9.6 percent while the return rate has been reduced by 7.5 percent. This only shows that AR applications have resulted in more online sales as consumers can now “virtually” try out the items before clicking the “buy” button.
The JD Beauty Mirror enables shoppers to try on as many clothes or shoes as their heart desires, and see how they look when wearing those products.
The 3D Fitting Room gives shoppers the ability to try on clothes through a customized avatar matching their hair, face and body dimensions. The feature has been used in over 3,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) in the male and female apparel categories.
The company also has an AR Styling Station with over 60 brands on its platform. The platform’s AR Glasses Try-on feature lets shoppers try glasses on to see if they suit their face.
The AR technology deployed in these new applications, which JD.com created in partnership with Intel, makes use of 3D scanning technology and artificial intelligence to study a person’s height and body shape and create a unique 3D virtual body corresponding to that person in just three to five seconds.
In addition, JD.com also worked with dozens of brands in AR marketing, including L’Oreal, Maybelline, Max Factor, Budweiser, Tsingtao Beer and TWE, among others. Through AR marketing campaigns, customers are immersed in a brand story or game to build a unique and interactive experience.
The AR features provide them with additional touchpoints with their customers, especially online. Brands can use interactive AR features such as games to tell the brand story to prospective customers and loyal fans alike.
Some market watchers say what JD.com has developed in the AR field is not really ground-breaking. But its main significance is that the company is leveraging on AR applications to simulate the offline shopping experience and link that with its online shopping platforms.
This also enables JD.com to accumulate data to better understand the shopping habits of consumers in the virtual world. By analyzing this data, the company can offer more useful recommendations to customers and boost sales as a result.
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