- Diamond Hedge, a price comparison e-commerce platform for diamonds, has implemented an augmented reality feature that enables shoppers to try on a variety of ring styles from their smartphones, according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive. The proprietary AR app uses a phone camera to track the base of the finger and place a ring on it.
- AR upgrades the platform’s original virtual try-on capability where users could take a photo of their hand and then place a virtual ring on the still image. With AR, users see a real-time presentation of their hand movements with a virtual diamond placed automatically at the base of their ring finger.
- The AR feature can now be used on iPhones with iOS 11 to virtually try on engagement rings of various sizes, colors and bands. It will be available for Android in 30-45 days, a spokesperson said in an email.
Augmented reality has the potential to reshape retailing, making it more immersive and efficient. The gradual adoption of artificial intelligence, AR and VR by consumers is enabling retailers to collect a large amount of data and gain a deep understanding of customer behavior. This could translate into long-term benefits for the consumer.
AR isn’t new to retailing, the jewelry business or to the diamond trade. Diamond Hedge’s technology responds to a need to de-stress the diamond ring – and specifically the diamond engagement ring – purchasing process.
The average cost of engagement rings is over $6,000, PYMNTS.com reported. Diamond sales were over $41 billion in the U.S. in 2016, up 4.4% from the previous year, according to Forbes.
"Being in the diamond industry for over 15 years, I saw firsthand the shortcomings between the industry and the consumer," Mehul Sompura, founder and chief executive officer of Diamond Hedge said in a press release. "Especially for men, the process of buying an engagement ring is overwhelming. I wanted Diamond Hedge to bring transparency and convenience to both him and her so that they can find a diamond she’ll love – and for a fair price."
Using the AR feature, shoppers can virtually try on an unlimited combination of engagement rings to find the style they want, sifting through over 1 million diamonds, comparing specs and prices across the industry’s top retailers including Blue Nile, Zales, James Allen and Kay.
Because of Apple’s ARKit development platform for augmented reality, more AR apps are now available for mobile devices running the iOS 11 operating system. Ikea, Williams-Sonoma, and Target have all recently unveiled AR-enabled apps.
Diamond Hedge operates similarly to other services, like Say Yes!, according to Glossy. But these companies ask users to upload a photo of their hand and then experiment with styles, while Diamond Hedge is one of the first to use a live AR feature. The feature also works on a computer, Sompura told PYMNTS.com, but the program is easier to use with the native mobile app, and developers are still working out the best way to program AR for commerce.