- Rugile Uždavinytė
WebAR and Virtual Try-On solutions for the accessories retailer Broni&Bo
Buying accessories no longer requires leaving your home with Virtual Try-On (VTO) technology being as accessible as it becoming for e-Commerce world. Learn how a bowtie and other men-oriented accessory company Broni&Bo utilised our VTO technology to allow their customers try on their bow ties for customers from anywhere in the world.
We all testify how the World is currently significantly changing in every sphere, including eCommerce. Businesses are facing many challenges and have to look for solutions to adapt and survive during this time. One of them is to find ways how to provide a better customer journey while customers are shopping online without leaving their home.
We have been always about finding the best solutions for each and every of our customers according to their product, main problem and business vision. Broni&Bo was the first customer that we have built a unique possibility to experience bow ties in Augmented Reality and also with the Virtual Try-On feature fit them virtually while staying at home and using only a phone.
We’ve talked with Matthew Boulding, the owner of Broni&Bo about the WebAR and Virtual-Try-On integration to their company.
How did you first come up with the idea to add 3D and Augmented Reality features to your products?
We work in a very saturated market and there is no way to get away from that in regards to our products. There are so many businesses out there offering similar products to ours which means competition is tough. Our aim has always been to differentiate ourselves from the competition by becoming a specialist in our area and delivering a higher level of service, from customer support to our bespoke colour matching service. Initially, we saw immersive technology as a great way to enhance our service to customers that went beyond our current proposition. It also allows us to share this service with our retail clients who can easily add these to their own website.
What were the reasons you have decided to add a virtual-try-on feature to some of your knitted bow ties?
The true benefit of augmented reality is the potential to provide an immersive shopping experience that empowers customers to remotely explore every inch, every part, and every angle of a product, without having to purchase it first. At Broni&Bo we launched augmented reality to do just that, offer our customers a closer look at our knitted ties and bow ties, which is impossible to do from traditional product photography. One of our key goals in implementing virtual-try-on was to help make buying our products easier, specifically for the wedding market. We know that choosing a colour scheme for a wedding is one of the first and biggest decisions that is made by a couple and helps set the tone and vibe for the big day. We have worked with a lot of happy couples but we noticed that they would buy 3-4 different colours, try them on and then return the colours they didn’t want and then order the rest. We saw virtual try on’s as an opportunity to meet the needs of the groom and his groomsmen. They could virtually try on our extensive range of colours without the need to actually buy a range of our bow ties to try on and then need to return. It also provides the ability to virtually try the products on in the comfort of their own home, where ever in the world they maybe or, more particularly, in stores that sell suits but not necessary the wide range of the products they need. Another key factor was about overseas customers. Whilst we have sold our accessories in over 36 countries, we felt that that the potential overseas customer may be less willing to buy from us because of the cost of shipping and return just to test the colour. If the colour or style isn’t right, using AR can help avoid the hassle of purchasing, trying and returning or exchanging. Shipping and returns was and still is creating unnecessary costs both for us and the customer, something we want to try and minimise with virtual-try-ons. By helping to reduce the impact of shipping and returns helps us play a small part in reducing the impact to the environment.
Have you worried about anything before deciding to go with 3D & AR?
I know that 3D and AR isn’t universal across all devices and platforms so there was and is a worry that usability isn’t going to be as high as it could be. Shopify, our eCommerce platform of choice has always been forward thinking when it comes to integrating new technology in to it’s platform but at the moment there isn’t anything in regards to reality files that can be easily added to the site as they have done with USDZ files so we have found a work around for now. As a very small business owner and limited in house technology (ie. What I know) we will be limited to what Shopify can offer in regards to integration. Hopefully it’s on their agenda soon. We had no other real issues as of yet but UX will always play a key factor in adoption and usage.
Have you noticed any improvements in your business after implementing 3D & AR to your website?
We didn’t do a large launch with this service simply because of the times that we are in. Whilst this would be a perfect time to launch in regards to people not being able to visit stores we know that our key demographic aren’t purchasing at the moment and business has been tough. We hope that as things start to pick up with the wedding industry we will start to see the impact of this new experience and way of shopping driving our business forward.
How do you see the future of 3D & AR in the eCommerce industry?
I think that people and businesses will be reticent to adopting AR in the coming year but as customer adoption starts to become the norm we will start to see a huge shift in demand for AR. From a fashion point of view, we are lucky that our products can easily be tried on using your phone in your hand which isn’t as easy to say our ties because of the varying length of people and our ties. There will need to be a shift in the technology that we use that will allow other businesses. Who knows, we may see a new Ikea mirror that links directly into a website and you can try on various brands and order at the touch of a button.
Grab your phone and try it out yourself! Important note: Requires Apple’s ARKit and True Depth features Available on the iPhone X and later.
Broni&Bo is an accessories label specialising in knitted ties and knitted bow ties. Since 2011 this brand has worked on a range of carefully selected ties and bow ties in a variety of styles and materials for any occasion. In 2020 Broni&Bo was the first company to launch bow ties using the latest in facial recognition technology. With the Virtual-Try-On implementation Broni&Bo now offers their customers a unique opportunity to try their products without going anywhere.