Google improves AR shopping features

As the holiday shopping season is in full swing, Google has added augmented reality features to make e-commerce even easier.

“There’s something special about in-store shopping: the lights, the scents, the music,” wrote Danielle Buckley, Google product manager, consumer shopping, in a blog post. “While we can’t experience all of these little details when shopping online, we’re making big improvements to augmented reality shopping on Google to bring the most important part of the store to life: the product.”

The online search giant already lets shoppers view furniture in their space using an AR Home Goods feature. But this week, Google expanded the feature to include sneakers. Online shoppers can spin the sneakers, zoom in and see them rendered at home to decide if the shoes, from the laces to the soles, match their personal style. Brands like Saucony, Vans, and Merrell are enabled for AR viewing on Google, and the company says any brand with 3D assets for sneakers or homewares is eligible to participate in the program. “We’re investing in new ways to create 3D shoe spins, a process that is typically time consuming and expensive for brands,” Buckley wrote. “We will start using this technology in the coming months.”

According to Marketing Dive: “The company is training machine learning to be able to assemble interactive virtual assets from just a few images instead of relying on hundreds of photos.” Google research shows that customers use 3D imagery 50% more than still photography.

E-commerce is increasingly turning to AR to improve the shopping experience, both in retail and in the world of promotional products. Pinterest, for example, offers a shopping feature that allows users to try out different pieces of furniture using their smartphones. Earlier this year, Montreal-based Spector & Co. (asi/88660) launched what it called “Spector Vision,” which lets people place a 3D version of certain glasses in their own homes via a smartphone. , as a way to cut down on the need for physical samples. Raphael Menesclou of DataHawk noted in a Q&A this spring that more brands are using AR “because this deeply experiential technology is, in fact, increasing product sales.”

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