Virtual Try-On Software Searches for Competitive Advantage as Big Tech Steps In

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology dominated by artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR), numerous solution providers, including industry giant Google, are vying for supremacy. 

Among them, Perfect Corp., an AR company, is making strides to carve out a market share. The driving force behind this endeavor is the realization among brands and retailers of the remarkable benefits these tools can deliver. However, the question remains: How can other players compete with giants like Google? 

In an interview with PYMNTS, Wayne Liu, chief growth officer and president of the Americas at Perfect Corp., says, “We’re going very deep to go very broad.” 

What That Means  

One key focus for Perfect Corp. is the advancement of AI technology and the integration of AI GC (artificial intelligence with generative content) capabilities. Some AI GC-related products are expected to be announced during their upcoming event later this month.  

Perfect Corp. also plans to broaden its horizons and extend its presence into the fashion industry. The company is leveraging its expertise to delve into accessories, jewelry and apparel. The objective is to fortify the technological infrastructure by addressing previous constraints and catering to the varied requirements of fashion-savvy customers. 

Their goal is to make the technology accessible to as many people as possible, ensuring that it does not remain a privilege for only a select few. They refer to this approach as “democratizing technology,” where the enjoyment and benefits of technology are available to all. 

Google’s Foray to Make AR Accessible  

With the aim of boosting sales and minimizing return rates, fashion brands are increasingly embracing virtual try-on (VTO) technology. Google, recognizing the growing significance of this space, has made its mark by introducing an AI-powered VTO feature, which was announced June 14. 

Google’s VTO feature uses advanced AI algorithms and incorporates diffusion and cross-attention techniques to merge model and clothing images. The result is a realistic visual representation, as stated in the announcement. 

According to a report from Glossy, in its own bid to democratize technology, Google Product Manager Shyam Sunder stated that the company has no intention of monetizing this feature. Instead, their focus is on promoting the adoption and usage of the service. 

Nevertheless, the information collected through the try-on tool will serve as a crucial factor in elevating the platform. With an increasing number of brands and retailers embracing this feature, the platform will experience accelerated progress and enhancements. Throughout the year, Sunder collaborated with various brands to gain insights into customers’ preferences and aspirations, ultimately leading to the creation of precise sizing for human models. 

Read more: Google Uses Gen AI to Power Virtual Try-On Tool 

How Does Perfect Corp. Stand Out?  

While Google is in the same game with the same mission – making AR accessible to all, Wayne Liu emphasizes that this alone does not define the company’s differentiation from its competitors. Liu says Perfect Corp. is pursuing a unique approach to personalization, setting it apart from others in the industry. 

When Perfect Corp. was founded around eight years ago, its establishment coincided with the rise of the millennial generation. At that time, the majority, about 80%, of its app users were millennials. 

As time progressed, the digital-first generation comprising millennials and Gen Z became more adept at navigating the digital landscape. These users demonstrated a strong affinity for AR technology. However, they were hesitant to pay for AR experiences without adding their own personal touch. Recognizing this trend, Perfect Corp. sought to cater to the evolving preferences of Gen Z, who desired a more personalized and creative approach to virtual trials. 

To meet this demand, Perfect Corp. expanded its offerings beyond traditional virtual trials and introduced smart virtual trials. This new concept combined AR with AI capabilities and the objective was to understand users on a deeper level and work collaboratively to curate the best trial experience based on their individual preferences. Instead of solely providing product trials, Perfect Corp. aimed to engage users in a consultative manner, empowering them to express their opinions and actively participate in the trial process. 

Where AR and AI Have Been 

The evolution of AI and AR has revolutionized the way consumers engage with virtual experiences.  

Since 2017, with initiatives like Google ARCore, Google has provided developers with the tools and frameworks to create augmented reality experiences across a wide range of devices. Google’s AR initiatives have spanned various domains, from gaming and entertainment to navigation and interior design, enabling users to blend virtual content with the real world. 

Meanwhile, Snapchat has played a role in popularizing AR among consumers. The Snapchat app offers a range of AR filters and effects that allow users to transform their appearances, overlay virtual objects in their surroundings, and even play interactive AR games.  

Read also: Snap CEO Firm on Long-Term Plays, AR 

Snapchat’s AR experiences have not only entertained millions of users but have also encouraged other companies to explore the potential of AR in engaging and immersive consumer experiences, which has helped forge partnerships with AR players like Perfect Corp. 

Read more: Retailers Try on AR to Get More Consumers to Buy 

Perfect Corp. has focused on transforming the beauty and fashion industries, has harnessed the power of AI and AR technologies. By employing computer vision and deep learning algorithms, they have created VTO platforms and augmented reality makeup applications. These innovations enable consumers to visualize and experiment with beauty products, accessories and apparel. 

The fusion of AI and AR has also enabled personalized and customized virtual experiences. Through AI-driven algorithms, consumer data analysis, and machine learning, companies can deliver personalized recommendations, tailored content, and interactive experiences based on individual preferences and behaviors.  

How Brands Can Leverage AR Data 

Liu highlights Perfect Corp.’s data-driven approach, enabling brands and retailers to leverage their dashboard console. The tool grants access to trend information, empowering brands to analyze rankings, optimize product promotion, and make informed inventory decisions based on virtual trial trends. 

A key aspect is the promotion of less popular products, such as a green or purple lipstick. Brands can showcase these items, enabling customers to try them and discover that they actually suit them.

Read also: Can AR Reduce Returns for Jewelry Brands?   

Furthermore, the virtual trial technology also assists brands in analyzing global trends. If a particular color is popular in one country but not in another, brands can adjust their inventory accordingly.   

Liu also says Perfect Corp.’s foundation matching tool, Shade Finder, plays a crucial role in reducing returns. Choosing the right foundation shade is vital for customer satisfaction. Their foundation matching tool has been proven to decrease return rates by around 40% for some retailers, according to Liu. 

Liu notes that for brands, designing different activations requires consideration of the customer base on each platform and the desired outcomes. For instance, on websites, the primary goal may be to increase conversions and basket sizes. Brands focus on providing customers with what they need to facilitate conversions and purchases. Return customers are more likely to convert if they find value and purpose in their virtual trial experiences. 

On platforms like Snapchat, the emphasis shifts more towards exploration and discovery. Therefore, while offering engaging and entertaining experiences, the primary goal is user engagement rather than immediate conversions. 

Each platform serves a different purpose, and brands need to tailor their campaigns accordingly, leveraging the virtual trial experience to align with the platform’s objectives.