Augmented reality (AR) can significantly reduce the environmental impact of fashion e-commerce. For example, AR has a pivotal role in tackling high return rates. The environmental cost of product returns is substantial, as many of the items end up as waste, contributing to pollution and resource depletion. Additionally, product returns rank among the top business expenses.
"By allowing consumers to try on products virtually and make informed decisions before purchase, we can reduce unnecessary shipping, packaging, and waste," says Junior Researcher Virginie Lavoye from LUT Business School.
According to Lavoye, the current form of purchasing fashion and beauty products online remains complicated. Consumers often struggle to visualize size, texture, and appearance, leading to disappointment upon delivery.
AR bridges the gap between expectations and perceptions by providing consumers with a lifelike representation comparable to a brick-and-mortar store. For instance, AR enables consumers to select a pair of sunglasses, try them on virtually, and inspect the product in a virtual mirror.
“AR simplifies consumer decision-making by fostering a sense of presence from three perspectives. Consumers feel that the product is physically present, that they are immersed in the experience, and that the seller is also part of it,” Lavoye explains.
Growing eco-consciousness, improving brand loyalty
Augmented reality also aligns with the growing trend of eco-consciousness among consumers. As consumers make more informed choices, they are less likely to discard products after purchase, extending the lifecycle of their fashion items.
"Lifelike representation not only enhances the shopping experience but also encourages mindful consumption," emphasizes Lavoye.
Furthermore, AR has the potential to revolutionize how consumers interact with brands online. Lavoye encourages industry players to reimagine their strategies and embrace AR as a potent tool.
"By investing in AR technology and tailoring experiences to consumer needs, brands can strengthen brand loyalty and stay at the forefront of the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape.”