Zara Is Changing How We Shop Through Augmented Reality

If you've recently walked past your local Zara, noticed an empty store window, and asked yourself what the hell was going on, well, prepare to grab your smartphone. On Thursday, the fast-fashion retailer announced that it has introduced an augmented reality experience at seven of its United States stores (120 worldwide), which aims to engage its consumers in an entirely new way.
After downloading the Zara AR app (from either iTunes or Google Play), customers can point their phones at the aforementioned shop window, as well as "via in-store podiums, on boxes they receive delivering online purchases and via dedicated images at," and models Léa Julian and Fran Summers are brought to life for seven- to 12-second sequences. In the clips, the two present the current Studio Collection by posing, moving, and even talking, offering up an oddly realistic experience. All looks shown can then be ordered directly at the touch of a button or bought locally in the store. And, according to a release, "the app features a tool for sharing the experience on social media, encouraging users to take and submit photos of the holograms, establishing a virtual connection that appears remarkably real."
Still curious how the technology works? In the video below, you can take a closer look at the augmented reality experience before trying it for yourself.
The AR app is just Zara's latest experiment with innovative technology: In January, the retailer opened its first click-and-collect concept store in London. The 2,152 square foot space offered a dedicated area for collecting online purchases, a selection of menswear and womenswear, sales assistants who held mobile devices to help customers with sizes, stock, and collections, and self-service checkout. The store's dressing rooms were just as high-tech, with information screens embedded into mirrors that allowed customers to scan barcodes on items that then offered up "multiple choices for coordinating and combining the piece with other garments and accessories."
As if we needed another reason to feed our Zara obsession, well, its continued intersection of retail and technology — and not just examining how people shop, but providing them new ways to do so — has us coming for back for more. That, and the 4D models, of course.

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