Home Technology Reactive Reality – the augmented reality leader bringing fun to the online shopping experience
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Reactive Reality – the augmented reality leader bringing fun to the online shopping experience

by wrich

Reactive Reality (www.reactivereality.com) is a leading augmented reality (AR) company enhancing the online shopping experience by allowing e-commerce businesses to offer virtual fitting-room solutions to their customers, which drastically increase sales and brand loyalty. The company’s technology converts conventional fashion product photos into highly accurate AR assets, enabling online shoppers to virtually try clothes onto photorealistic avatars that carefully match their measurements. This in turn gives customers greater confidence in their purchases and allows them to have a lot more fun shopping online, increasing their attachment to the brand and boosting sales revenues per user by up to 500%.

Creating realistic digital models has traditionally proved time-consuming and beyond the budget of most companies. To date, this goal required multiple technology providers to complete the process of creating and integrating AR experiences across the entire e-commerce journey (from producing digital replicas of products and people to enabling virtual try-on and sizing recommendations). Reactive Reality has simplified and centralised this process by providing an end-to-end solution that is unrivalled in terms of realism and scalability. This is achieved through a patented combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI), photogrammetry and image-based rendering, with Reactive Reality’s algorithms transforming conventional product images into photorealistic AR assets. The company’s innovative tech also has potential future applications beyond e-commerce, for example in product placement, video conferencing, or animation.

Retailers can integrate Reactive Reality’s core product, PICTOFiT, within their existing e-commerce websites, transforming photos into AR assets. Additionally, shoppers can generate a 3D avatar of themselves in order to mix and match garments, experiment with how the items look against various virtual backgrounds and share this content with friends on social media platforms.

Reactive Reality’s clients include Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, which is part of Richemont, one of the largest luxury companies in the world. The company has also formed significant partnerships with major technology and fashion organisations. In October 2020, Reactive Reality launched a project with Microsoft and the London College of Fashion’s Fashion Innovation Agency, in which Reactive Reality’s 3D technology was deployed to create an avatar of a digital human stylist, which was able to provide personalised fashion advice, show consumers how clothes appear on themselves and ultimately enable better purchase decisions.

Tackling the paradox of booming e-commerce and low customer satisfaction
It has become ever cheaper and faster to order clothes online, and the trend has accelerated rapidly over the past year due to lockdowns and the resulting closure of physical stores. In response, many retailers have removed friction from their buying journey, in order to push customers through the conversion funnel faster, but this appears to have come at the cost of consumer enjoyment. While the fashion e-commerce market has grown and sales are at an all time high, paradoxically many have found themselves feeling dissatisfied with the experience. A global survey by Contentsquare shows that only 15% of online shoppers are happy with the online shopping experience, with almost a third of respondents saying that they associate online shopping with emotions such as boredom, frustration and even anxiety.

Many consumers attempt to overcome the shortcomings of online shopping by ordering more clothes than required, with the intention of returning some (if not all). This shift in consumer behaviour is having huge environmental consequences: approximately 2.3 billion kilos-worth of returns ends up in US landfills alone, resulting in 15 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, according to Optoro. This returns glut is also hitting retailer profits; according to Gartner Research, under half of returned goods are resold at full-price, and most retailers are poorly equipped to deal with the complex logistical challenges involved.

Reactive Reality is tackling the problem of customer dissatisfaction (and resulting high return rates) by providing a useful and engaging virtual fitting experience, bringing excitement to previously monotonous e-commerce websites. In line with their concept of E-Commerce 3.0, which puts a focus on “fit & fun”, the PICTOFIT platform helps brands and retailers differentiate themselves and win in this new era by focusing on the consumer experience. The AR technology creates an immersive online shopping which allows consumers to try clothes on virtually, thus fostering a stronger connection between consumers and brands, leading to purchases being made with a greater intention to wear. This is illustrated by customer data demonstrating that Reactive Reality’s technology increases sales revenue per user by 500% as users spend 441% more time on websites where it is implemented.

Reactive Reality’s technology in detail
The company’s main product, PICTOFiT, uses a unique combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI), photogrammetry and image-based rendering to automate the conversion of conventional fashion product images into AR assets within minutes. The process is user-friendly and does not need expert hands or expensive equipment to capture materials and surfaces. Using the PICTOFiT Content Service, assets can be scaled at ease: items can be captured in only one size and then adapted to the different product sizes available.

Reactive Reality’s technology offers three distinct use cases, which includes:
Interactive virtual try-on – Shoppers can experience photorealistic 3D viewing, see products from all sides and zoom into the finer details. They can also mix and match outfits to create their favorite looks, as well as generate their own avatars for a fully personalised experience.
Accurate size and fitting – Online shoppers can create photorealistic avatars within minutes. Avatars reflect the shoppers’ body shapes accurately and enable them to get accurate size recommendations, find the perfect fit and buy with confidence. Size recommendations are based on size charts or garment tech packs, giving them an unmatched level of accuracy.
Scalable fashion image generation – Reactive Reality’s technology transforms garment shots to lifelike, on- model images. Retailers need only capture an image of a garment or human model once and, from this, can create millions of outfit combinations in seconds, as well as a large variety of poses and body shapes. This enables the generation of unlimited outfit and model combinations, and can also stretch to accessories.

Stefan Hauswiesner, CEO and co-founder of Reactive Reality, comments: “Accelerated by the global pandemic, the fashion retail market has rapidly shifted towards e-commerce. However, despite its great convenience when compared with physical shopping, current webshops’ flat and static images make it hard for online shoppers to get an accurate sense of what a garment will look like in reality. It also does very little to add to the overall excitement of the online shopping experience when compared to visiting a brick-and-mortar store.

At Reactive Reality, we are revolutionising e-commerce websites by enabling consumers to virtually try clothes on photo-realistic avatars of themselves, a fun experience that leads to better purchasing decisions and improved brand loyalty. In providing an end-to-end solution, and cutting out the need to engage multiple technology vendors, we are empowering brands of all sizes to enhance their webshops, so that they are viewed as more than just a place to complete transactions as quickly as possible and leave.”

Reactive Reality – Senior Team + Spokespeople

Reactive Reality was founded in 2014 by Austrians Stefan Hauswiesner, Philipp Grasmug, Philipp Pani and Professor Dieter Schmalstieg, who met at Graz University of Technology through their joint research into visual computing and augmented reality.

Stefan Hauswiesner – CEO and co-founder
Stefan has over 12 years of experience in augmented reality with a focus on image-based methods. He obtained his PhD
in Computer Science from the Graz University of Technology. Making a name for himself as an expert in the field of mobile augmented reality, Stefan has also worked on a 3D head reconstruction project in collaboration with Intel Research.
Philipp Grasmug – CTO and co-founder
Philipp is an experienced software engineer with a strong research background from the Graz University of Technology. His academic work focuses on human body tracking and image-based rendering. Before founding Reactive Reality, his main field of research was 3D reconstruction and tracking in the context of augmented reality.
Company Background
Reactive Reality is the leading augmented reality (AR) provider in e-commerce. Its PICTOFiT platform powers the most realistic, scalable and fun online shopping experiences for brands and retailers around the world. It transforms a brand or retailer’s product photos into smart AR assets which online shoppers can try on their own avatars. PICTOFiT avatars are photorealistic depictions of the user and enable accurate size recommendations across brands. The experience is frictionless for users, and fun! Avatars can be dressed interactively, including unlimited outfit combinations and virtual background scenes. The company’s customers report a 6x sales uplift of online shoppers who use PICTOFiT.

In e-commerce, scalability is essential. PICTOFiT transforms existing product photos into AR assets using Artificial Intelligence (AI). The process is quick and easy to integrate, enabling retailers to capture millions of garments and accessories, shoes and bags in a matter of minutes.

Headquartered in Graz, Austria with offices in Milpitas, California and Tokyo, Japan, the team is 60 people strong and growing quickly. The team consists of world-class engineers and scientists with extensive experience in AR, VR and AI. Reactive Reality’s clients include global fashion retailers such as Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, and it is an active partner of Microsoft and the London College of Fashion.

The company’s board is made up of business and scientific advisors that are assisting in growing the company and making it profitable. These include: John Heugle, the CEO of ams AG, and a director at Google X, the innovation arm of  Google; Stefan Thomke, an authority on the management of innovation and the William Barclay Harding Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School; and Christian Ramsauer, a former McKinsey consultant turned Head of the Institute of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Research as well as Head of the Institute of Production Science and Management at the Graz University of Technology.

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