“Fashion is a reflection of an era”, the famous Tunisian couturier and fashion designer, Azzedine Alaïa once quoted. It’s so true that fashion has always defined the way of the universe. It is the way we present ourselves to the world. Fashion has become the instant language for the world today. Recently, fashion has made its way into the enchanting world of Virtual and Augmented Reality. With an aim to transform the industry of precious and sophisticated jewelry and iconic apparels into a more fascinating and alluring one, many fashion companies have unleashed their creative best.
StyleDotMe is a fashion tech company that lets its users virtually try-on products along with getting instant fashion advice from experts around the world. Through the platform of this company, users can see themselves in products without actually wearing it through Augmented Reality technology (starting with jewelry, earrings) and get instant fashion advice from industry experts. The experience is quick and in real time for instant advice. StyleDotMe is world’s first real-time AR tech platform for jewelry and working towards expanding in other domains like makeup, eyewear and apparels.
The Graceful Founder
Meghna Saraogi is the Founder & CEO of StyleDotMe. A graphic designer by profession, Meghna had come up with the idea, built the first version of the product, demonstrated traction and even raised a small ticket funding. It is Meghna’s love and desire for great design that inspires the team to craft their timeless products and ornaments.
“Every time I go shopping, I spend a lot of time in trying out different options and asking my friends over WhatsApp on what looks best on me. I realized there is an immense potential for AR/VR, fashion advice and personal styling services aiding an average person through frequent fashion dilemmas. I envision a platform that forms a layer over current e-commerce platforms enabling customers to have a great experience leading to quicker checkouts.” says Meghna.
Overcoming Challenges in the Initial Phase
Being a newbie in the realm of technology, Meghna had to confront many initial challenges. Her well-planned vision and plan for the company could not be executed without technological expertise as her strength lies only in design and planning. It was only after outsourcing the first version of the product; she realized how indispensable the role of a strong team in the growth of a business. Meghna realized the fact that it’s important to have people who believe in the same vision and will be willing to go to any length to make it work. So rather than looking for people who will work for just money she started looking for people who will work for passion, who will work for making a difference in the world. This is how she made a great team.
The Unique Features that Made the Spark
Unlike other platforms in the market where one has to put a credit card on the face for measurement or manually position the jewelry themselves, StyleDotMe’s AR tech works automatically in real-time. This typical instruction based experience is very non-intuitive and cumbersome to use. The company has done an extensive study with customers to make the experience seamless and enjoyable.
The enhanced customer experience is what differentiates the company from its competitors. Moreover, the users are able to try products on themselves in real time using augmented reality and then decide with the help of inputs from fashion experts about how the product looks on them. This enables customers to try out products quickly and make more real-time and well-informed decisions about the product that they are purchasing.
Opportunities and Challenges
An amazing aspect about VR/AR is that it impacts many different sectors. VR and AR technology has become incredibly popular in retail as a way to facilitate online as well as brick and mortar shopping experiences. As the space continues to grow, there will be more and more AR and VR applications for different industries. Everything from real estate and healthcare to even non-profits organizations can benefit from this technology.
However, the industry is facing many challenges in its way of growing. The first and foremost challenge is its higher cost.
Second, Augmented reality tech cannot be compressed enough to be fit in ordinary glasses and virtual reality setups are very bulky to use along with requiring a lot of setup from the user side.
Third, AR/VR applications are heavily scrutinized about collecting data. AR/VR applications contain user’s face data or information about their location, usage behavior, etc.
One of the major bottlenecks of growth in the retail industry (especially in fine jewelry) is inventory. For reference, one of the company’s clients – PC Jeweller – has over a billion dollars in revenue and about half a billion dollars’ worth of inventory sitting across their stores. StyleDotMe’s AR solution allows retailers to digitally showcase their entire collection of products at each store without worrying about the capital and operational cost associated with holding inventory. Besides optimizing inventory, retailers can aggressively expand geographically by opening zero inventory stores to significantly increase offline customer experience touch points.
Peering into the Future
It can be presumed that the augmented reality is going to enhance the shopping experience in near future. The team of StyleDotMe aspires to leverage augmented reality technology and behavioral analytics to build a one-stop fashion platform to discover, try and shop.