The Middle East has always been one of the fashion hubs of the world. Placing high regard for brands and luxury items, the region has always valued appearances and class. Since fashion and luxury became an integral part of Middle Eastern culture, fashion distributors all over the world have tried to penetrate the market.
However, penetrating the Middle Eastern market was not easy as consumers in the region tend to change their buying behaviors from time to time. According to McKinsey, they are becoming less brand loyal and more demanding on convenient shopping experiences. This was evident in the results of a survey where 62% of the respondents cited convenience as a top factor in buying products. For these reasons, consumers are shifting to online channels. Now, the Middle East is one of the regions with the fastest growth rate in online shopping.
To keep up with consumer trends and preferences in the region, fashion distributors in the Middle East now engage in online retailing where they have the option of engaging in augmented reality and virtual fitting rooms to optimize the shopping experience of their markets.
Providing an Immersive Online Shopping Experience to Customers Through Augmented Reality Technology
Virtual fitting rooms are based on augmented reality technology where customers can enhance their perception of reality through the combination of physical and virtual elements. Through this, they can try on clothes and accessories without needing to wear them personally. This tool can be used in smartphones through an app by overlaying an image of a product on a photo or live video feed of a customer. This gives an immersive online shopping experience where they can see how any style and size will look on them.
How is This Relevant in the COVID-19 Era?
The COVID-19 pandemic caused governments all over the world to impose restrictions on the access to public spaces in order to minimize the spread of the virus. In Middle Eastern countries, borders were even closed. Significantly, the guidelines of the World Health Organization provided that the COVID-19 virus can remain on surfaces. This implies that personally going to retail stores to try out clothes and shop is simply not safe for anyone.
Fortunately, more fashion distributors engage in online retailing where customers can buy trendy pieces in the comfort of their homes. With the use of augmented reality, they can buy the right piece at the right size without exposing themselves to the virus.
Benefits in the Overall Shopping Experience
According to Roy Lo, Business Director of Creote Studio, “it’s not what technology can do for us that matters, but rather what we can do to the technology.” With the technological advancements today such as augmented reality, customers can have more convenient shopping experiences.
According to a recent study, 97% of consumers “abandoned a purchase because the service wasn’t convenient enough.” In the clothing and fashion industry 61% of consumers even cited that they were willing to pay more for convenience. Through the use of technology, however, customers will no longer need to spend hours picking an outfit or paying a fee just for convenience. With augmented reality technology on virtual fitting rooms at hand, customer experience will, at all times, be valued.