debuts in-store AR feature
Helzberg Diamonds launched an in-store augmented reality feature called the Helzberg Virtual Ring Experience, which allows shoppers to virtually try on more than 100 different ring styles.
(Author : Dan O'Shea)
The in-store screen uses motion sensors and a palm rest to let shoppers view rings from multiple angles, and also allows customers to take photos of their different ring selections and share them with family and friends through social media and email. The Helzberg Virtual Ring Experience is available along with other in-store technology features in the retailer's seven "next-generation" stores, and the company said it plans to double its number of these modernized stores by late 2019.
Helzberg gradually has been introducing digital technology, such as touchscreens, into a handful of stores over the last couple of years. For example, in late 2017, the retailer remodeled and reopened its long-standing Lee's Summit store in Kansas City, Missouri, complete with a digital Diamond Room experience.
The Virtual Ring Experience builds on that effort by bringing an AR-enabled try-on feature into the mix. Using AR technology in a virtual try-on use case is not a completely new idea, as the sector has witnessed the launch of several web-based and mobile app-based virtual try-on features that use AR. One of the most recent was Warby Parker's glasses try-on feature, which launched earlier this month.
But the retailer is taking more from Warby Parker than just a similar use of augmented reality tech. Warby Parker is also well-known for encouraging shoppers to share photos of themselves trying on its glasses on social media to get feedback from friends and family (and conveniently spread the brand as well).
Still, not many retailers have used augmented reality in stores yet. Although Ulta recently announced plans to use AR in-store as part of a broader strategy for the technology. Others have focused more on virtual reality, as Macy's, for instance, started using VR technology from Marxent in-store as part of the furniture-buying experience.
As more retailers pursue digital transformations of their physical stores, the industry should start to see more of both AR and VR in-store. The more consumers get to use these particular technologies as part of certain in-store experiences, the more they will expect to see them in other stores.