“Clothes are the ultimate enabler of self-expression,” noted Resh Sidhu, global director at Arcadia Creative Studio, Snapchat — which is why the technology company is using fashion to prolifically propel the “Augmented Reality revolution” forward.
Sidhu’s session during the summit, titled “Shopping Augmented: Your Wardrobe Lives Here,” focused on how “AR is changing the way we interact with the world” and is “transforming the consumer experience.”
Arcadia, Snap Inc.’s full-service creative studio dedicated to “creating Augmented Reality that focuses on delivering next-gen AR with innovative solutions,” allows brands “to push boundaries” through its technologies, according to the company.
For Sidhu, Arcadia is the summation of her early life experiences as a child growing up in inner-city London that involved a love of sci-fi (think “Star Wars” and “Back to the Future”), technology and playing dress-up. The confluence of this trifecta takes form at Arcadia, where Sidhu’s philosophy that “clothes can help us imagine different versions of ourselves” becomes a digital reality.
Snap’s AR technologies have been in development for more than a decade, and at present, through its immersive fashion experiences, users can try on new outfits from the comfort of their own homes, enabling brands to really focus on the consumer experience.
Sidhu says AR is used by 250 million Snapchatters every single day; 75 percent of the global population will be frequent AR users by 2025, and according to a recent study from Shopify, there is a 94 percent higher conversion rate when interacting with AR in retail. And, shockingly, two-thirds of people who try an AR experience before buying a product are less likely to return it, reducing environmental burdens.
“Do you ever remember Cher’s closet? That was 27 years ago,” Sidhu reminds us, of Alicia Silverstone’s character, Cher Horowitz’s closet in the cult-’90s movie “Clueless.”
“Today, innovative fashion brands have understood the power of AR to spark joy and leverage this technology to create tomorrow’s shopping experiences today,” Sidhu said.
Sidhu said “luxury brands that are leading the way” with AR through experiences with try-ons, selection, sizing and fit. Fendi has used AR for sneaker and eyewear try-ons and product launches, and the success of it has encouraged them to incorporate AR strategies into key collections moving forward, Sidhu said.
Christian Dior, which drove successful sales through Snap’s AR by allowing users to try on six different versions of sneakers, was promoted in Snap’s carousel, and through Snap ads shoppers could buy products directly from Snap’s platform. Louis Vuitton leveraged Snap’s scan technology to recognize their logo anywhere in the world, and used it for a launch that allowed shoppers to view their new luggage collection at home.
“AR is immersive,” Sidhu said. “And by immersion, I mean that people are paying full attention — they’re emotionally engaged. And they commit this information to their memory. This type of interaction creates long-lasting memory structures, and it’s because we’re active with it, and not passive with it, and we’re choosing to engage with AR.”
Or take its immersive partnership with Live Nation, which gave Snap an opportunity to solve “real world human problems” with AR, as it created colorful interactive maps to help guide attendees around concert venues and safety features such as “Find Your Friend” that enabled users to locate friends at a show.
All this explains why “democratizing AR” is at the core of Snap’s interest in these technologies. “At Snap, we believe in the power of making the world a better place by augmenting it,” Sidhu said. “Experiences like this shouldn’t be for the few — they should be for everyone.”