The quest to combine online shopping and augmented reality took another step forward at the recent DEMO Spring Conference 2011.
Swivel, created by FaceCake, uses Microsoft Kinect’s motion-sensing technology to create a virtual dressing room where users can manipulate their own images and try on and out various products and services.
Tired of being a redhead – become a blonde today! Shed those last ten pounds, redecorate your living room, buy Fido a new collar. Shoppers can pair clothing items and accessories and even select an appropriate background to preview their fashion choices — and share it on Facebook as they're virtually browsing. Still, not everyone's convinced.
Mashable’s Jennifer Van Grove finds it fun but impractical: “Swivel feels more like a game than a shopping tool. Clothes shopping, more than any most areas of commerce, is a matter of precision…Swivel could make online shopping more entertaining, but won’t solve many of your real e-commerce challenges. At least for now.”
Contrast Swivel with another social shopping tool unveiled at DEMO: Zugara's augmented reality e-commerce software, The Webcam Social Shopper, which also posts to Facebook:
“As the shopper moves around within the webcam’s video feed the apparel item automatically moves with them, creating a 'hands free' experience that’s more natural than anything else on the market.”
According to Zugura CEO and co-founder, Matt Szymczyk, “This is really not about buzzwords like Augmented Reality, or Social Media. This is about using technology to create a better online shopping experience for people, and an easy to integrate solution for our clients and partners…With there being more Millennials than Baby Boomers, we think it’s time to create meaningful and engaging online shopping experiences for this digital generation.”
True enough, but Millennials are demanding, and augmented reality must deliver a precise fit if it's going to gain traction with shoppers.
“Swivel’s virtual shopping experience creates a false sense of hope, while Zugara layers items in a way that could discourage sales, not improve them,” concludes Van Grove.