September 2018

When Dressing Rooms Meet Digital Ads

Despite the rapid growth of ecommerce, one of the challenges to the growth in fashion and cosmetics is the ability to try an item before buying it. No matter how powerful an ad message, it’s hard to replace the experience of trying something on.

Enter AR and the power of Facebook advertising.

Augmented reality lets marketers provide a more engaging experience to ad-fatigued customers and gives ecommerce businesses something they haven’t been able to offer consumers in the past, the ability to try it before you buy it. 

With social media platforms, especially Facebook, continually on the quest to prove ROI for their brand advertising partners, bringing higher conversions to ecommerce could be a huge win. 

Facebook recently started offering advertisers the ability to show off their products with AR, with Michael Kors being the first advertiser to test the ads. The ad looks like a normal feed ad for sunglasses but offers people a “Tap to try it on” option.  This option opens the AR capability and places the pair of sunglasses directly on to your face, allowing you to see how they look on.  If you like the look you can purchase the sunglasses there on the spot.  Facebook says Sephora, NYX Professional Makeup, Bobbi Brown, Pottery Barn, Wayfair and King will start testing the AR ad format later this summer.

The virtual “try on” is something brands are already trying in app form. Gap’s Dressing Room app allow customers who provide details about their body dimensions to virtually try on clothes in a simulated Gap store. Other apps for furniture retailers such Ikea, Anthropologie and Lowe’s use AR to allow people to see how furniture looks in a room.  Shoppers can virtually place the furniture item in their home checking color, look, size and more. Ikea’s app scales furniture size to 98% accuracy, giving customers confidence in their purchase and saving them from having to visit a store.But the shift to being able to tap to access it right from the newsfeed, takes it from something that a few focused shoppers would leverage as part of their search to something that could impact impulse purchases – realizing something you didn’t even know you were looking for, looks great “on you” (or in your living room). 

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AR usage is growing among people and businesses, with more than 80 million Americans engaging with the tech each month, according to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study. BCG forecasts that that number will continue to surge, growing to more than 120 million U.S. users by 2021. It will be interesting to see how advertisers incorporate AR in their ads going forward and how it may broaden the experience in other marketing channels as well.

As consumers become more used to the virtual “trial”, marketers will begin to expand these types of engagements across their digital touchpoints. And it comes at a time when the industry is questioning the efficiency of digital banners. Giving people a reason to want to click and engage could mean a big shift in ROI if done right.

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By Missy Robinson
Analytics Supervisor