Instagram users can now use augmented reality to try out products when shopping through the app.
Earlier this month, Instagram rolled out a product page feature for select brands who sell directly on the app. Cosmetics companies NARS and MAC, now have an augmented reality ‘Try It On’ option available at checkout, allowing customers to use their phone’s camera to experiment with makeup in real time, while fans of eyewear brand, Ray-Ban can try-on shades before purchasing.
Instagram is hoping users will then share these AR experiences in Stories, with a link back to the product.
“You can share it through Stories with friends, brands can create Stories — that’s definitely one of the primary ways in which we think that people will shop.”
– Srilatha Raghavan, product manager for AR commerce at Facebook.
According to 99 Firms, 1 in 4 Millennials and Gen Z-ers look for Stories of the products and services they want to buy, while 15%–25% of people swipe up on a link in branded Stories.
Instagram’s in-app checkout feature has been available since March, with the latest update another step towards eCommerce. These advanced ad options are essentially an extension of Facebook’s version launched last year.
Though only a limited number of brands are able to use the shopping (and VR) feature through Instagram, the technology certainly isn’t new.
In 2017, Sephora teamed up with AR company ModiFace to create “Sephora Virtual Artist”, that scans the users face, allowing them to try out different looks. Mary Beth Laughton, Sephora’s executive vice president of omni retail told Tech Republic;
“Digital and innovation have always been part of our DNA at Sephora. We are very focused on our customers, and we know that her life is increasingly reliant on digital. So we know to be successful as a retailer, we’ve got to be where our clients are, and give her tools and experiences that meet her needs.”
IKEA was quick to recognise the integral part virtual reality would come to play in people’s lives, launching IKEA Virtual Store in 2016 followed shortly after by IKEA Place.
Brands and small businesses looking to jump on the Instagram AR checkout bandwagon will still need to wait until the eCommerce options become more widely available.
Augmented reality technology within the online retail sector is fast becoming an essential tool for marketing strategies, while Instagram remains an important platform for product discovery and consumer engagement.
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