Revolutionising retail: Smart mirrors provide a glimpse of future shopping

Zero10's AR mirror technology allows customers to try on clothes virtually

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A new wave of augmented reality mirrors are set to transform fashion and retail by offering people the opportunity to virtually try on clothing in real-world scenarios.

These mirrors provide an immersive experience by overlaying computer-generated 3D content on to the physical environment.

Zero10's AR Mirror concept represents a retail innovation that shows how conventional digital screens in physical stores can be transformed with AR software.

Speaking with The National at the Seamless Middle East 2024 event in Dubai, George Yashin, founder and chief executive of Zero10, emphasised how this pioneering solution heralds a new era in retail engagement, providing virtual try-on features that elevate customer interaction, increasing foot traffic in stores, enhancing advertising recollection, and collecting invaluable consumer insights.

“When we put our mirror right in the store window, it brings a lot of customers to the store. So, we drive traffic a lot,” he said.

Recently, fashion brands have experimented with technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality to enhance their in-store and online experiences.

Coach, for instance, utilised these AR mirrors and storefronts to enable customers to virtually try on items such as the Tabby bag, effectively bridging the gap between online and offline shopping experiences.

As a fashion brand owner 14 years ago, Mr Yashin realised people were tired of seeing the same things repeatedly when he was at Paris Fashion Week, and as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic hit, he decided to think about how technology could reshape the fashion industry.

Since the launch of the AR mirrors in early 2023, notable brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, UGG, Macy's, and Disney have also embraced Zero10's AR and AI solutions to enhance customer engagement and elevate the retail experience.

Children showed the most enthusiasm for the AR mirrors, expressing excitement and curiosity. This heightened interest among kids contributed significantly to the brand's visibility and ultimately boosted business.

“We saw it in a Macy’s x Disney project, and as a result of a two-month pilot started last year, the activation has been extended twice till the end of this May.”

Zero10 has traditionally operated in the American and European markets, but this year they are targeting entry into the Middle Eastern retail sector.

"In 2024, our primary focus will be on the Dubai market and the entire Middle East because there are many exciting developments happening here," he explained. With numerous fashion retail stores and malls opening in the region, Yashin is confident that Zero10's solutions will align well with the market's needs.

In recent years the retail industry has undergone a significant transformation driven by technological advancements, innovative gadgets and the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The rise of self-checkouts, click-and-collect order processes, and digital apps have reshaped traditional brick-and-mortar stores into dynamic "bricks and clicks" environments.

The global e-commerce market will surpass $6.3 trillion this year, marking a notable increase from $5.8 trillion in 2023, according to eMarketer, a leading market research company.

The forecast indicates a thriving e-commerce landscape, with projections suggesting sustained growth. By 2027, experts predict the industry will exceed $7.9 trillion, highlighting online retail platforms' immense potential.

Despite e-commerce's promising prospects, the industry's rapid expansion has led to retail outlet closures.

PwC UK reported that more than 14,000 outlets owned by multiples and chains, comprising five or more stores, have vacated high streets, shopping centres, and retail parks.

The closure is a trend reflective of shifting consumer preferences towards online shopping.

With the e-commerce sector evolving, businesses face a compelling imperative to embrace digital transformation and capitalise on its potential.

Digital technologies provide such an opportunity, making it possible to enhance operational efficiency and reduce face-to-face interactions.

A recent IBM survey involving nearly 20,000 global consumers highlighted the growing interest in digital integration across both online and in-store shopping experiences.

Findings revealed that three in five consumers express a desire to utilise artificial intelligence during their shopping journey.

Updated: May 17, 2024, 3:47 PM