Brands retool the virtual shopping experience with AR-enabled tech

The growing adoption of augmented reality (AR) try-on technology couldn’t be more timely as consumers weigh the choice to shop in-person against safety concerns amid the ongoing pandemic. The following brands have launched initiatives that harness this tech (or otherwise facilitate a more frictionless virtual shopping experience), which should be especially helpful as the holiday shopping season looms.


Allure’s latest issue received a “first-of-its-kind” interactive treatment thanks to the publisher’s partnership with augmented reality developer Perfect Corporation. November’s “The Ultimate Guide to Shopping” features QR codes throughout the issue, which readers scan with their phones through Perfect Corporation's YouCam Makeup app. The AI- and AR-powered app allows Allure’s readers to virtually “try on” certain beauty products featured in the guide, taking the guesswork out of color-matching and swatching via the Internet. This was a smart move on Allure’s part, for the publisher is meeting the recent challenges around in-person shopping—especially for cosmetics—with a safe, tech-powered alternative.


Kohl’s teamed up with Snapchat to give Gen Z and Millennial shoppers a thoroughly-modern shopping experience via Kohl’s Augmented Reality (AR) Virtual Closet. This activation allows Snapchat users to sift through the virtual closet and make purchases without ever needing to leave the Snapchat app. Shoppers can browse a curated selection of Kohl’s styles, including comfy activewear and athleisure, as well as an assortment of on-trend Levi’s products that were meant to generate excitement around the recent back-to-school-season (albeit a mostly virtual one).


German fashion e-tailer Zalando recently acquired Fision, a body-scanning startup that designed an app to this end, to help shoppers more easily navigate virtual try-ons. The app affords shoppers a virtual dressing room where they can more accurately judge sizing of items in their cart before making a purchase. Not only will this help shoppers spend their cash more wisely and stress less about their purchases fitting, but it will also mitigate the environmental impact of shipping additional returns.