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Zara becomes first retailer to use AR in anger in new season roll out

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Fashion retailer Zara is launching its new collection this week and with it comes an augmented reality (AR) add on to its app that will allow shoppers to see the clothes ‘come to life’.

On 12 April, when the collection is unveiled, the new Zara AR app will allow shoppers in store and online to hold the app over certain signs and see models wearing the clothes appear and move about on the screen in front of them. They will even speak, says the company.

And of course, all of the outfits can be purchased by a single tap of the app.

The app and the signage will run for two weeks and marks a bog move in Zara’s attempts to take on fashion powerhouse Asos.

It also marks out Zara as one of the first retailers to actively invest in AR and put it out there. Unilever has tried AR as part of a treasure hunt to find a golden marmite jarand both Heathrow and Gatwick airports have launched new apps that both feature AR. Heathrow is using AR in a game to entertain kidsat the airport while Gatwick will be integrating AR into its app to help passengers find their way around the airport. Zara’s move marks a first for a mainstream retailer in implementing the technology.

And it makes sense. According to a retail report by Manchester mixed reality business DigitalBridge,businesses and brands that make the best use of new technology are more likely to build a loyal customer base, according to new research.

Augmented reality (AR) leads the way as the technology people most want to engage with, as 50% of UK consumers say they would be more likely to be loyal to a brand that offered them access to this type of visualisation experience either in store or online.

AR, which continues to grow in popularity following the release of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, is proving particularly popular among younger people with 69% of 18-24 year olds saying they would be more loyal to a business offering this technology.

Image from Zara

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