During our field research, we explored ways in which Wayfair is using 3D scanning and AR to not only transform the way shoppers buy furniture online, but to also give interior design enthusiasts a way to immerse themselves in the virtual design of spaces before committing to new furniture or layouts. AR and 3D scanning technology is innovating quickly, and in a few years we believe that advanced AR sensors will be standard across smartphones, and that AR will become a common tool for brands to market their products.
We set out to apply AR to a new field: online shopping. The problem that online shoppers have always experienced is the inability to try clothes on before they purchase them. In addition, people in general need more ways to explore and try new styles while not taking too much time away from their busy schedules. Exploring new styles is currently time-consuming both in brick-and-mortar stores and through online shopping. The last problem our app tries to solve is to help people find styles that match their body types.
For this challenge, we harnessed the popularity of an existing app that fashion enthusiasts already use: Pinterest. Currently, users use Pinterest to “pin” fashion blogger and celeb styles for inspiration. Sometimes, their pins are linked to websites where they can purchase the look, but not always. Pinterest recently added a new feature to their mobile app that allows users to take photos of objects they find to be desirable, generating a series of pins that are similar to the object. Due to Pinterest’s existing popularity with fashion enthusiasts and its innovative use of machine learning, we decided to build our fashion AR idea off of Pinterest.
PinVision is an augmented reality mobile app that allows you to try on clothes in real time, curated from your personal pins, budget, and approximate body dimensions.
The user is greeted by a welcome screen that asks to access the camera, and then, the journey begins. The phone’s built-in AR sensors measure the dimensions of the user’s body. (We know that this is possible because Wayfair’s AR technology currently allows users to measure the dimensions of furniture using just the phone’s camera). Next, Pinterest suggests pins of looks and styles that are flattering for his her or body type. If the user wants to try on items of clothing in a particular pin, they can click on the camera icon.
On the next screen, the user is asked what their budget is. They can skip this step if they’d like to, but it helps the app generate items that fit within their budget. The user is then able to try on the items of clothing through augmented reality. (Wayfair’s AR technology makes the virtual furniture seem incredibly authentic, while ours is just a rough prototype). Next, the user can indicate whether they liked or disliked the item they tried on. If they like the item, they are given more information about the item, such as what brand it is and where they can purchase the item. If they dislike the item, they are able to provide feedback on why they dislike it, as well as try on the next item that is similar but from a different brand. Though Pinterest currently doesn’t capture data on where an item can be purchased for every photo taken, and neither does it allow users to make purchases directly from the app, we envision that this could become a priority for the company in the future as it would bring in substantial revenue. In addition, since brands would need to invest in 3D scanning technology in order to render their products in AR, they would need a financial incentive to partner with Pinterest to offer their products as 3D objects for users to try on.
Not only does PinVision provide users with a new and immersive way to explore different styles that suit their body types, but it also presents a “wow”-factor for the consumers who use it. Even if the clothes are tried on for fun and not purchased, the experience is fun, fresh, and frictionless. PinVision is our vision for how retail will be transformed in the future by emerging technologies like AR.