In a recent A16Z podcast, Marc Andreessen said he believes that VR will be “like 1000 times bigger” than AR. He also recognised that this is a very contrarian view to consensus in the Valley, which puts VR as a niche and AR as a daily use case empowered by our phones.
Whether he’s right, time will tell, but for now, it’s interesting to see various use cases for Augmented Reality in shopping and retail.
Putting the product in context
About to buy fancy basketball sneakers? what if you could see your favourite athlete using the shoes in action. This poster at a Foot Locker shows Lebron James dunking the ball in-store with a great AR ad.
Examine the Product in AR
Staying in the world of sneakers, MimicXR, a London based studio, showed a very realistic demo of an AR shoe. Imagine if you could experience every product this way before you bought it online
Try the product virtually
Buying clothes, online or in-store, always has the friction point on how will the exact product fit. The concept of smart mirrors has been around for a while, but this LG Smart Mirror takes the concept to the next level.
One of the most interesting products in this space is the Zozo Suit, a fabric suit with more than 350 white dots, each of which serves as fiducial markers for measurement. Yusaku Maezawa, the founder of Zozo became famous on his own right. He is a Japanese billionaire, entrepreneur, and art collector, but will also be the first commercial passenger to attempt a flyby around the Moon with SpaceX.
Static mannequins are so 2018. Zara brought it storefronts to life using AR, and took their physically mannequins for a week in 120 branches worldwide. The results are pretty cool.
One of the companies offering virtual mannequins as a service is UK company Headworks.
Virtual stores and pop up shops
I was blown away when I first saw this demo of Tesco trying to compete against the incumbent in Korea 7 years ago. They have less shops than their competitor and real estate is expensive, so they’ve set up an AR supermarket in the the train station, so people can shop while waiting for their train.
Airwalk used a similar concept leveraging geolocation and AR to create a virtual pop up shop. The results are impressive.
We at Remagine Ventures are very excited about the future of retail tech. We’re investors in Syte.ai, a visual search image recognition startup and are looking for more interesting companies in the space to work with inIsrael and the UK.