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Future of e-Commerce: Virtual Glasses Shopping with the iPad App


E-commerce for online clothes and accessories has always been pretty straightforward. You look at pictures of the product on a model, maybe click here to see if the item could have a discount applied, then decide to purchase it. Though for many out there – especially picky people – not being able to try on the item as you would in a physical store is a big issue. How do you know if the product matches your individual self?

I have seen technologies that have promised to bring the clothes and personal accessory shopping experience into your home through virtual reality for a really long time. First it was trying to launch a AR dressing room, two years later glasses retailer Zoff tried to launch an AR augmented glasses mirror and more recently I have seen a number of uses of Microsoft Kinect to create an augmented fitting room. I never loved any of these because they were just gimmicky executions that weren’t solving any real pain points and they all turn the products into something that looked more like bad clip art pasted on my photo. However, 3d model for ecommerce might change consumers’ expectations about online shopping. By allowing customers to examine the product in detail, it can dramatically improve buying confidence, and reduce return rates. I always felt that for any of these experiences to be successful they needed to be transformed into a more high-touch experience that was better than the traditional shopping experience and making me want to spend hundreds of dollars with confidence. After a lot of years and a lot of searching, I finally found that experience when I tried the new iPad app.

I have worn glasses my entire life and there is no more obvious fashion accessory for my image than my glasses. Even when I’m just sat staring at my smartphone, or working at my computer when I’m usually not around anyone else at all, my blue light glasses just have to complement the rest of my outfit. In fact, I almost make sure that my glasses are the first thing that anyone ever compliments me on, so I definitely take huge pride in the ones that I decide to wear. But every 2 or 3 years when I decide to change up my look and get a new pair it is always a huge pain in the butt – infact, nothing makes me think about getting laser eye surgery from somewhere like SharpeVision more than searching for new glasses. You have to go to lots of different stores in the hopes of finding something unique, interesting and good-looking. With my latest pair, I went to the ridiculous lengths of getting a pair of sunglasses that were only released in Europe, having them imported, and then taking them to my optometrist so he could put my prescription lenses in the new frames.qaZQqs

Once you install the iPad app there is a two-part set-up process that creates the photorealistic 3D model and calibrates the glasses to the new 3D model. You start by holding your iPad app up against a bathroom mirror at eye level and slowly turning your head to the left and right to create the 3D model. You then have to hold the iPad to your chin and lean in until a QR code is the same size as the one on the screen to the app can calibrate the size of the model.

Once this set-up is done then you will see yourself pop-up in the app in a four photo search results grid wearing all kinds of different glasses. You can swipe left and right across the search results to turn your head on all four images to see how the glasses look on you which is really cool and was something that never got old for me. If you see one you like then you can tap on it to make it full screen and continue to explore how it looks on you using different gestures to slide the glasses up and down on your nose or adjust the depth of the sides. I quickly found myself lost in the experience of picking different categories and brands to explore what all the options were for glasses and sunglasses.

I have to admit that the first time you see something like this really working and you realize that would buy products using this type of experience it is one of those magic moments where you know you are seeing the future of an industry. This shopping experience was better and was easier than the traditional experience I was used to. I know that not every online experience will work this easily because people would not be willing to create a 3D model of their body to try on clothing anytime soon but this is a great first step into a true virtual shopping experience. I am fascinated to see how this technology and these experiences evolve from this starting point.

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