Augmented reality ring try-ons: jewellers’ key to increasing sales and reducing returns
The Covid-19 pandemic did not stop people from buying jewellery. If anything, it prompted them to spend more on ornamental pieces. In 2020, a typical US household purchased $475 worth of jewellery, almost 10% more than in 2019. And in a recent survey, three-quarters of consumers said they expect to spend the same or more on jewellery within the next 12 months. Ring and engagement ring sales, in particular, are soaring.
However, as the boundaries between fashion jewellery and fine jewellery are starting to blur, many ring retailers may find themselves facing increased competition. To stand out — and convince consumers that the rings they see on an ecommerce store’s site will suit them — more and more brands are embracing new technologies.
As finger tracking improves, we are seeing a growing number of ring retailers turning to 3D and AR experiences to allow customers to visualise rings before purchase. That makes sense; ecommerce companies tend to see a 10% to 200% increase in conversion rates after implementing AR combined with 3D modelling.
With that in mind, here at Poplar Studio we are currently developing virtual try-ons or “try before you buy” solutions for ring retailers to help them increase their online conversions.
Here are the different 3D and AR experiences ring retailers can build today, from virtual try-ons to immersive ad campaigns.
Augmented reality virtual ring try-on
According to some estimates, by 2020, online returns will cost companies a whopping $550 billion annually, with jewellery being among the most frequently returned online product categories.
However, perhaps an even bigger issue is that many consumers choose not to buy jewellery online at all. About a third of digital buyers in the US are apprehensive about purchasing jewellery and other luxury goods due to complex returns processes.
One way ring retailers can solve this problem is by empowering customers to make better choices through virtual ring try-on experiences. Whether they use 2D or 3D assets, with augmented reality, brands can enable customers to try on rings while browsing their ecommerce website or app, thus giving buyers a better idea of how a particular ring would look on them in real life.
2D ring try-on
2D ring try-on experiences involve users taking a picture of their hand and then positioning a 2D ring on the still image. A great solution for retailers with a big collection of rings, 2D ring try-ons can save brands from having to 3D model every single item in their catalogue.
To see a 2D ring try-on experience in action, take a look at Berganza’s “try before you buy” feature that we built, which lets customers digitally “put on” 2,000 pieces of jewellery from the brand’s collection.
The try-on experience is embedded into Berganza’s website. This means that ecommerce users can try on rings before purchase by clicking the “View on hand” CTA on a product page instead of having to download the company’s app from an app store.
3D ring try-on
3D ring try-ons let users place a virtual representation of a ring on their hands in real-time. Although more costly than 2D try-ons, 3D ring try-ons, which require 3D modelling of each of the rings in a retailer’s catalogue, provide the most accurate ring try on experience.
In 2018, the diamond comparison site Diamond Hedge was, according to its founder Mehul Sompura, “the first” jewellery company to give shoppers the option to virtually try on rings live on their own hand.
Crucially, during the try-on, the rings stay on the base of a user’s finger even as they move their hand, creating a more realistic experience. According to Sompura, customers are already asking for more options for augmented reality rings.
We have also developed our own solution to let ring retailers show customers how their rings will look on them live. What’s more, to account for different ring sizes and fingers to try the rings on, we incorporated a feature that allows users to adjust sizing-related elements.
3D ring visualisation
One of the benefits of creating 3D models of rings is that brands can use them in other ways, not just for virtual ring try-ons.
For example, once you have a 3D model of a specific ring, you could also create a 3D ring visualisation experience, thus allowing customers to look at the ring up close. Especially useful for very ornate rings, 3D visualisation enables brands to show off the details of their more intricate pieces.
The conflict-free diamond company Brilliant Earth has 360° experiences embedded on all its product pages. When shoppers view a ring through their online store, they can rotate a 3D model of it to see the ring from all sides and angles.
Google Swirl Ads
Ring retailers that have 3D models of their rings can also launch Google Swirl campaigns. Released in 2019 by Google, Swirl is an immersive display ad format that incorporates 3D objects.
Through these interactive ads, users can engage with 3D products as if they were right in front of them. This capability can create a 3x higher engagement rate, 6.9x greater purchase intent, and 4.7x better brand favorability.
While examples of Google Swirl ads from ring retailers are scarce, a recent campaign we designed for the Swiss-made luxury watch brand RADO Watches may give you an indication of just how powerful these ads can be.
By allowing potential buyers browsing the web to inspect the newly released RADO Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic watch up close, the Google Swirl campaign helped quench shoppers’ doubts as to whether or not they should buy it.
Because shoppers could spin the 3D model of the watch around and zoom in and out to get a better look at it, they were able to know exactly what they would be getting — and if the watch would suit them — if they decided to purchase it.
Ring retailers are not limited to placing virtual ring try-ons on their website or app. With social commerce exploding, many jewellery brands are now incorporating these types of experiences within their social media platforms.
For any retailer that sells on social media, virtual ring try-ons can and should become a step of the social media sales process.
For example, Snapchat offers finger tracking technology, and many brands are now giving their customers the option of trying on rings before they make a purchase directly within the Snapchat app.
Taking advantage of this feature, the personalised jewellery brand Slate & Tell launched a Slate & Tell Snapchat lens that users could unlock by scanning the Slate & Tell Snapcode. After activating the lens, users could hold their hand up to the camera to try on five of the brand’s “Top Rings”, including several custom pieces that featured a user’s name.
Users could also snap a pic of them “wearing” the ring either as a selfie or a world view for future reference.
On Instagram and Facebook, the jewellery brand American Swiss used social AR filters to create hype around their newest engagement ring line.
The AR filters, which could be enabled from both the front and back camera, let customers try on 21 different engagement rings from the comfort of their own homes and encouraged people to share these experiences with their friends and family.
Even though this particular filter did not include finger tracking technology—requiring the user, instead, to place their hand in the exact location of the ring—the experience nevertheless garnered one million impressions, 24,000 captures, and 1,300 shares.
While 3D ring try-ons are arguably more popular on social media, 2D ring try-ons shouldn’t be overlooked, either. The engagement ring brand Abby Sparks Jewelry used an innovative way to let users “try on” 2D rings on Instagram using exclusively stickers.
Getting started with augmented reality rings
Global online jewellery sales through online channels are predicted to grow from just 13% in 2019 to up to 21% by 2025. As individuals change the way they shop, ring retailers need to rethink their online strategy.
Right now, one of the main drawbacks of buying rings online for customers is their inability to try on the rings they’re eyeing on their own hands. Virtual ring try-on technology is quickly changing that.
While augmented reality rings can increase engagement and help brands expose their offerings to more customers through fun experiences and shareable photos and videos, the main advantage of virtual ring try-ons is that they reassure shoppers that the rings they are considering buying will actually suit them.
Not all ring tracking technology is created equal, however. To ensure people have the best possible experience when shopping with you, you need to choose a virtual ring try-on provider that takes into account different ring and finger sizes. Our solution does just that.
Contact the team at Poplar Studio to learn how you can get started with our augmented reality rings solution today.