Tenth Street Hats, a Los Angeles-based online retailer of designer hats, was challenged like many online apparel and accessories brands to simulate the in-store experiences shoppers can get from touching and trying on products in real life, and seeing how they look on their bodies before making a purchase. To help address this challenge, Tenth Street Hats has invested in augmented reality (AR) technology. Specifically, the retailer is using the Axis AR platform from Vertebrae to offer its site visitors (the platform is not app-based) the ability to virtually try on its hats, helping them make more confident purchase decisions.
In this interview with Total Retail, Carson Finkle, CEO of Tenth Street Hats, talks about why AR made sense for the brand, the customer data the technology has helped it capture, and the business benefits realized as a result of implementing AR on its website.
Total Retail: How is Tenth Street Hats using AR on its website?
Carson Finkle: Tenth Street Hats is using Vertebrae and the Axis platform to allow our customers to virtually try on hats on our site — up close, at any angle, on their very own head. Shoppers can “Try it on in AR” on web and mobile via the product page (no app required), and the experience is fully integrated within our existing e-commerce environment to optimize engagement and sales.
TR: Why is AR a technology that Tenth Street Hats has decided to invest in?
CF: As a direct-to-consumer brand, Tenth Street Hats is always looking for ways to deliver the best possible experience outside of the physical store. AR allows Tenth Street Hats to bridge the gap between digital and physical product experiences, enabling consumers to literally see products on themselves before committing to a purchase. This increases confidence at the product level, ensuring a better buying experience. The differentiating wow factor that separates Tenth Street Hats from the competition is a memorable experience for the consumer.
TR: What about Vertebrae's Axis platform was attractive to Tenth Street Hats?
CF: Vertebrae does the heavy lifting of creating, managing and integrating high-fidelity 3-D assets into our e-commerce site. This allows us to focus on experience instead of getting mired in complex 3-D content requirements.
Vertebrae's technology solves the friction problem of requiring our customers to download an app in order to have an AR product experience. Furthermore, it handles the hard work of delivering AR to any device or operating system so that we can focus on delighting our customers.
TR: What insights has Tenth Street Hats captured from consumers use of AR on its website?
CF: Since integrating 3-D and AR, we’ve been able to see interaction-based data, such as how much time people spent engaging with a 3-D hat on the product page, the number of people then tapping into a virtual try on with a 3-D hat, whether consumers took photos of the experience, and from there, whether consumers took multiple photos. All of this data relates back to the changes we’re seeing in conversion since implementation.
TR: What business benefits has Tenth Street Hats realized from its use of AR?
CF: AR gives customers the confidence they need to make the right purchase decision. The technology allows customers to “try before they buy” and get a realistic idea of what a new product may look like in their lives — from something to wear to items in a home. For example, Tenth Street Hats is working with Vertebrae to allow customers to virtually try on hats on its site, and has seen a resulting 33 percent conversion increase and 74 percent boost in engagement.
TR: What future plans does Tenth Street Hats have for the use of AR on its website as well as other channels?
CF: The goal is to move all hats on our site to 3-D and AR. We started with top-sellers, and have been prioritizing more hats every week.