To get around the problem of shoppers not being able to try on glasses as they would offline, Glasses Direct has introduced a clever new feature called Video Mirror.
If they have a webcam, customers can use Video Mirror to see the glasses on their face, and even move around to see how they look from different angles.
After downloading a piece of software, which takes a few minutes, users can launch the Video Mirror application from their desktop and either see how the glasses look on them, or by trying glasses on one of two models.
According to Glasses Direct founder Jamie Murray Wells:
“Customers prefer it when they can experience our glasses before they buy, especially since we introduced designers like DKNY to our catalogue. The video mirror gives you an immediate feel of how the glasses look in your face, which customers can follow up with a home trial if they want to.”
This is a good way to re-create the in-store experience online, and using video is one way to achieve this, something that KnickerPicker has also done with its online video dressing room. Other examples of this are described in our Innovation Report from earlier this year.
While Glasses Direct can offer users a Virtual Mirror or a home trial, it doesn't beat the immediacy of being able to try the glasses on there and then, and also means that customers can make an instant purchase decision.
This 'Augmented Reality' process, in which 3D objects are superimposed onto photos or videos, was developed for the Video Mirror by Glasses Direct research partner FittingBox, which specialises in facial recognition software and modelling glasses. There is also code available which allows the video to be embedded into any site.
Murray Wells believes that technology can overcome some of these barriers to purchase:
“Ecommerce faces significant consumer purchase barriers to do with try-on, but this can be addressed through technological innovation. The Video Mirror is just one of the innovations that we’ve put in place to address this challenge, and we’ll continue to look at other ways in which we can influence customers to make online purchase decisions over high street options and encourage our ecommerce peers to do the same.”
This kind of technology should be especially relevant for products which customers traditionally try on offline, so as well as glasses, this technology should eventually be very useful for fashion retailers.
Applications like this create a more personalised and interactive experience for shoppers, and this is one way for online retailers to differentiate themselves in an increasing competitive online marketplace.