FASHION THROUGH A DIGITAL LENS
Shopping prior to Covid-19 included trying on the same shirt as strangers, rummaging through week-old sales racks, and fiddling with unsanitized accessories. Today, amidst a disease-infected world, technology has stepped in to clean-up and mechanize consumer experience.
Although 57% of the world's population needs glasses or contact lenses, customers can no longer try on endless frames to test fashion and function in stores. This huge market of consumers wants to shop in safe and efficient ways, and businesses are adapting accordingly. Many brands are now utilizing artificial intelligence and augmented reality to forever change and better the retail industry. Optical e-commerce giant, Warby Parker, is leading the pack.
Recognized by Forbes for its revolutionary technology and strategy, Warby Parker began its Home Try-On Program in 2015. This initiative is now more applicable than ever, as it enables customers to order several glasses online and have them shipped directly to their house, free of charge. Once they arrive, customers have five days to try the frames on and take time to decide which pair they want to purchase. If a customer does not like any of the glasses, they can still send them back for free. For eldery and immunocompromised individuals who need glasses and feel uncomfortable with the in-store experience, this provides the perfect loophole. In addition to greatly valuing customers, Warby Parker’s direct-to-consumer e-commerce also benefits their brand. Throughout the pandemic, social media platforms have seen a significant increase in Warby Parker related content. There is even a hashtag called #WarbyParkerHomeTryOn that has increased the company's website traffic by 50%. The online nature of the Home Try-On Program has essentially created free marketing for the company, and sales are on the rise.
Warby Parker also recently introduced Virtual Try-On, a feature on their app that allows users to try on digital frames through augmented reality. This advanced technology overlays computer-generated images onto real world images. The app employs Apple’s Face ID technology, taking 30,000 invisible dots and an infrared image to create a virtual map of a customer’s face. With minute details of the face identified, the technology can recommend glasses best suited for specific facial features. No more trying on dozens of styles, shapes, and colors to see what looks best—the app does it all for you.
Warby Parker’s booming online presence and digital foundation elevates their in-person shopping experience as well. Recommendations and product details powered by artificial intelligence can be geared toward specific store locations. As a result, retailers are better equipped to give the modern consumer instant gratification. High-tech machinery now answers all questions customers may have in a matter of seconds.
The eyewear market is dominating the interweb. Technology has begun to infiltrate a number of companies such as LensCrafters, Quay, and Caddis. But beyond the blue light buzz, the sole purpose of wearing glasses is to see clearly what is in front of you. In 2021, we are viewing the world through a digital lens.