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Asos trials AR catwalk technology

Online retailer Asos has partnered with HoloMe to trial an augmented reality catwalk for users of its fashion app

Asos is trialling an augmented reality (AR) feature on its app to allow users to view models on their smartphones as if they were in front of them.

The online retailer has launched the experiment, called Virtual Catwalk, in partnership with hologram and AR firm HoloMe to add to the tech-focused features available to its customers.

Labelled a “glimpse into the future of fashion retail”, Asos hopes the trial will give its customers a different way to view and experience products before making the decision to buy.

“By allowing the consumer to bring mobile shopping into their own physical space, we can create a more intimate buying experience,” said Janosch Amstutz, CEO at HoloMe. “We are excited to see how our technology can be used as a new way to communicate to the customer.”

Many retailers that deal with clothes and fashion also have physical spaces where people can try on clothes, as elements such as the fit or feel of clothing are difficult to portray online.

But customers are also becoming used to digital features to better help them do their shopping online, which are more commonly used by consumers in Asos’s target audience of people in their 20s.

The feature is currently available for users of the ASOS app on iOS 11.3 devices, and allows consumers to virtually view 100 of the brand’s new Design-labelled products on models in the app by pointing their device at a flat surface.

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Virtual Catwalk is a way it uses augmented reality to show these products in a way that goes beyond photographs. It’s the latest in a long list of features the brand has added to its app over the last few years to cater to shifting customer demand.

To make it easier for customers to order a product that fits them first time, the online-only retailer introduced its Fit Assistant feature, which uses customer details and machine learning to determine what size of garment a user should order to obtain the right fit.

The brand has also introduced personalisation to its shopping app to improve user experience, such as Your Edit, which shows customers products they might like based on past activity; Style Match, which recommends complimentary or matching products based on customer purchases; and You Might Also Like, a curated carousel aimed at a particular customer’s interests.

Asos has also experimented with alternative ways to shop and navigate its application and website. For example, the brand launched Enki on Facebook Messenger, a natural language chatbot users could use to discover relevant products, and at the tail end of 2018, the brand launched a voice search, allowing customers to use the Google Assistant to search through products using voice, a method of shopping that is growing in popularity.

The brand uses these technology developments to assess how customers react to different methods of shopping and browsing, then making plans on what to develop in the future.

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