The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by e-commerce, data analytics, and supply chain management and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual and augmented reality. In the last three years alone, there have been over 156,000 patents filed and granted in the retail industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Virtual and augmented reality in retail: virtual try-ons. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 115,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the retail industry, there are 50+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Virtual try-ons is a key innovation area in virtual and augmented reality
Virtual try-ons refer to the use of augmented and virtual reality technologies to help shoppers visualize the fit, look and appearance of a product without stepping into a store or retail outlet. The technology is primarily used by retailers for apparel, furniture, and accessories which a shopper can try on from the comfort of their home, helping customers make informed decisions and reducing the risk of returns for retailers.
GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 150+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of virtual try-ons.
Key players in virtual try-ons – a disruptive innovation in the retail industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to virtual try-ons
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
eBay, Carl Zeiss Stiftung, Alibaba Group and Levi Strauss are the leading patent filers for this technology in the retail industry. Levi announced that it will introduce AI-based virtual models that are size inclusive for users to try on clothing and accessories based on body type and skin tone. Traditional virtual try-ons make use of the shopper’s smartphone camera, which needs to adjust according to the specific needs of the AI, creating unnecessary hassle for the shopper. In terms of application diversity, Lantmannen is the leader, followed by Magic Leap and Levi Strauss.
By means of geographic reach, Magic Leap held the top position, followed by EcoSense Lighting and Lantmannen.
With the advent of virtual try-ons, retailers can reduce several issues related to e-commerce operations. Customers get to ascertain product fit and look before purchasing, allowing them to make more informed decisions and boost customer trust for e-commerce goods. It also allows customers and retailers to reduce the number of items that may need to be returned as customers have a better understanding of the product’s fit and how it will look on them. To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the retail industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Virtual & Augmented Reality in Retail.