Yesterday I went to visit the offices of Holition in London to discover more about the 3D software, described as augmented reality, and its application for retail jewellers. Now I’m not an IT geek by any stretch of the imagination, but I was blown away by the creativity and the possibilities that this software can give to retailers.
Holition has worked with the likes of Boucheron, De Beers and Tissot. What they can do is to offer customers the chance to virtually try on a ring or a watch online using Holition’s groundbreaking technology. This can be used on a website, in a shop and even as a window display. The jewellery is displayed with movement and sparkle (a lot of work has gone into making diamonds appear to sparkle and allowing jewellery like earrings to move and swing as they would in the flesh after working with De Beers Forevermark and US diamond brand Tacori).
In the basement of the offices, which are part of a bigger 3D business group, I was shown examples of the technology, from films on standard 3D televisions, through to really high definition 3D technology (you still have to wear glasses and look through a large box like screen, but the resulting images are startling clear – a short fashion clip, filmed by Rankin, makes you want to reach out and touch the fur on the clothes, it is so true to life) and even screens that show 3D films without the need to wear glasses at all.
“These screens are less well-defined that those you wear glasses for, and you have to stand back to get the full 3D experience, but that makes them perfect for shop windows,” explains Jonathan Chippindale, Holition’s chief executive. “The clip you are watching is something we developed for De Beers. They came to us because they were offered the chance to have a window display at Tokyo’s premium department store Isetan – only to discover that the shop windows were not bomb-proof. So they couldn’t put real diamonds in the display. Instead they opted for screens showing 3D jewellery.” The results were stunning and resulted in a huge amount of interest from the Japanese media and a boost in sales.
The potential for using this technology for jewellery retail is really very interesting. It could, for example, reduce the amount of stock needed in a shop – customers can try on virtual jewellery in advance either online or in store, which can then be ordered or even custom-made for them. New technologies are also being developed to give an extra sensory experience, so that customers can ‘feel’ the weight of a piece of jewellery or a watch.
Holition are offering a special ‘toe-in-the-water’ promotional offer of £5,000 for a Christmas package, offering selected retailers to explore the opportunities that 3D technology can bring. This is not just a high-tech gimmick – after watch brand Tissot launched its augmented reality software in store at Selfridges, sales soared by 100%, along with an 85% increase in volume and a mighty 600% increase in PR.
The Christmas-themed online experience can be hosted on a retailer’s own website from November up until Christmas. Customers will be able to print out special paper markers, either for a watch or a ring – the promotion is subject to one single object to be chosen by the retailer – which they then place on their skin where the real product would go, position themselves in front of a web cam and watch the image of a watch or ring appear on screen in place of the marker. Customers can change the size of the product, turn it to view it from alternative angles and post images of themselves wearing it to networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Holition will provide full support for the 10 retailers that get involved and will also help you to maximise marketing opportunities that the experience will create by providing PR support to the national and local press. Professional Jeweller magazine will also be following the stories of the 10 retailers that sign up to the project, from initial sign up to how they roll out the technology, the feedback from customers and impact on festive sales. The project can also be re-skinned with a Valentine’s Day theme to extend its commercial longevity at a small additional price.
If you are interested in being part of this groundbreaking project, you have up until October 28 to apply. The 10 selected will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Those interested should contact Lynne Murray at Holition on 020 7377 9659 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For examples of the kind of 3D experience you can bring to your customers, take a look at the links below.
http://www.holition.com – click on the showreel on the home page for a video taste of augmented reality
FOREVERMARK: DeBeers; http://www.forevermarkdiamond.com/global/virtual-try-on
BOUCHERON: Gucci Group: www.myboucheron.com <http://www.myboucheron.com/>
TISSOT; Swatch Group; www.tissot.ch/reality <http://www.tissot.ch/reality>