Reality Show: How to Try On Rings Online

A host of new apps gives online jewelry shoppers a virtual try-on

Getting jewelry onto shoppers is a highly effective sales tactic. But how can retailers capitalize on the try-on factor when their clients are shopping online? It’s a conundrum that Blue Nile and BaubleBar have dealt with by, well, opening brick-and-mortar locations.

But we’re at the door of the mobile shopping revolution. According to Statista, 215 million consumers are expected to shop online by 2018. With those numbers, it makes sense to search for a solution.

A cadre of mobile apps and website add-ons that harness augmented reality (AR) technology can now give consumers a nifty way to visualize how items might look when worn. Apps such as TryItOn Jewelry and Virtual Try On Jewellery allow shoppers to try on items uploaded by local retailers and major manufacturers.

Augmente TechStudio is behind a handful of slick new try-on jewelry apps commissioned by manufacturers including ­Dabakarov and Jeff Cooper. The Texas- and India-based AR company is currently at work on AR apps for Kay Jewelers and Neiman Marcus.

We asked national sales manager and marketing vice president George Kalergis to dish on the app and AR technology.

On a basic level, what do augmente’s AR apps do?

We convert printed data to its digital form, then we convert it into something else. We scanned an issue of JCK to turn it into a [digital] catalog. So you can take your iPad and scan that cover of JCK, and the whole issue comes up. Then you can page through with your hands, tap on a jewelry item, and a couple of icons come up. You tap “Try On,” and you can try that item on any of the models in the magazine.

You can also try on an item yourself, right?

Yes. You have to get the relative size right. We give users a silhouette that they fit their face into. You take a picture of yourself and upload it. Then you [use your finger] to move your face over the silhouette.

What other features are important in an AR app?

You have social media sharing that’s instant. The most important feature for retailers is the capture of analytic data. Right now we’re doing an app for Kay Jewelers’ Charmed Memories, and they will be able to see what charms are being looked at the most, which ones are being tried on, and how long people are looking at certain things.

How can stores take advantage of AR apps?

In the case of the Dabakarov app, the brand is giving its 200 top stores an iPad that has its proprietary app loaded onto it. Also, have shoppers download the app when they’re in the store. You’re sending them home with 500 pieces of your jewelry to try on.