The recently launched retailer is the e-commerce offshoot of hat distributor Dorfman Pacific. Tenth Street Hats hopes AR will increase conversion and shopper engagement.

Tenth Street Hats is trying on augmented reality for size.

The web-only hat retailer this week launched an augmented reality feature on its desktop and mobile site that allows shoppers to virtually try on hats using the camera feature on their device.

Tenth Street Hats is the e-commerce site for hat wholesaler and distributor Dorfman Pacific Inc. The site launched in November 2017.

Right now, the feature is only live with one of its hats—the Scala Dakota Hat, which is one if its best sellers, says Tenth Street Hat CEO Carson Finkle. Tenth Street Hats has about 150 hats on its site, and it is hoping to have augmented reality available with all of them by the end of October, he says.


The tool, which is a button on the product detail page that reads “Try it on in AR,” is available for both mobile and desktop consumers, but shoppers need to have a web camera to use it on desktop. For this reason, Finkle expects more shoppers to try out the feature on mobile devices, as shoppers are already used to accessing their cameras on their smartphones, he says.

The goal for the AR tool is to increase conversion rates, increase social media engagement and increase overall time on the site, Finkle says.

The retailer will encourage consumers to share an image of themselves wearing the 3D hat on social media for a discount code. Because Tenth Street Hats rarely has promotions or discounts, Finkle expects consumers will be motivated to do this, he says.

Augmented reality vendor Vertebrae created the tool for Tenth Street Hats. The retailer already takes about 25 photos of its hats at various angles for its print catalog and online imaging. Tenth Street Hats sends these images to Vertebrae, which then turns it into a 3D product image. This image is used as a 3D model of the hat on its site and for augmented reality. The retailer adds code to its Shopify e-commerce platform to add the feature.


Tenth Street Hats started working with Vertebrae in July 2018. About three Tenth Street Hat employees are working on the augmented reality project day to day, Finkle says. He declined to say how much the new feature costs.

Because the retailer is new to selling online, a large chunk of its marketing effort is around building traffic to its site via its blog and search engine optimization, Finkle says.

“We built out the framework of website to capture all the different nuances for search for hats,” Finkle says.

For example, Tenth Street Hats sells several straw hats. But when a shopper searches for a straw hat on Google she may be looking for a beach hat, a sun hat, a travel hat, a music festival hat or just a straw hat. And so the retailer created several category pages and product collections around these different search terms and populated each with the same hat. That way, the hat could show up in search rankings for whichever term the shopper is looking for, Finkle says.


The retailer’s traffic surged to nearly 29,000 visits in April, up from less than 5,000 visits in March, according to web measurement firm SimilarWeb Ltd. This is likely because of consumers looking for hats for the Kentucky Derby, which was in early May, Finkle says. The retailer’s traffic increased again to nearly 37,000 visits in May for shoppers looking for hats to the Royal Wedding, Finkle says. The retailer also started marketing its site more, which helped increase traffic, he says.