The hat retailer deployed its AR try-on tool last September with one hat. Now, shoppers can "try on" about 32 hats, which has helped Tenth Street Hats increase its conversion rate and average order value for shoppers who engage with the AR tool.

Not even a year has passed since Tenth Street Hats added an augmented reality tool to its ecommerce site, but it’s already paying off.

Since implementing its AR hat try-on tool in September 2018, Tenth Street Hats has increased its conversion rate by 52% and increased its revenue per user by 41.8% for those shoppers who engage with the tool, says CEO Carson Finkle.

A consumer who engaged with the AR tool was 2.2 times more likely to complete a purchase of one of the AR-powered hats, Finkle says. And the longer he used the tool, the higher his average order value (AOV) became: if a shopper used the tool for less than 10 seconds, his AOV was about $82; if he used it for 10-30 seconds, his AOV was $96; and if he used it for 30 seconds or longer, the AOV was $115, Tenth Street Hats found.

The baseline of this data was if a shopper did not engage with the AR capability, he says. “The numbers show the waterfall effect of the more the visitor engaged using the virtual try-on to taking a photo [of themselves wearing the hat], the more likely they were to purchase,” Finkle says.

Originally launching the tool with just one hat, Tenth Street Hats now has gradually rolled out about 32 of its 150 hats with the technology. The number varies because of the seasonal nature of some of its hat styles. The AR tool, which is a button on the product detail page that reads “Try it on in AR,” is available for both the mobile web (on iPhone or Android smartphones with a camera) and desktop consumers, but shoppers need to have a web camera to use it on desktop. The web-based tool uses a real-time image of the hat and superimposes it on the shopper.

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The retailer already takes about 25 photos of its hats at various angles for its print catalog and online imaging. Then it started working with augmented reality vendor Vertebrae in July 2018. To create the 3D asset, Tenth Street Hats sends its images to Vertebrae, which then turns it into a 3D product image “and they also take every which angle of the hat possible,” Finkle says.

This image is used as a 3D model of the hat on its site and for augmented reality. “On our end, it’s very little work. We just send them product,” he says. And the new 3D hat is turned around to the retailer in about a week.

But picking the product is an important component to the process because creating the 3D virtual image is “a cost,” Finkle says, declining to reveal how much. “I want to pick hats that I have a good feeling will stay in the line for a while—those evergreen styles that are bought year-round.”

He won’t pick a hat that’s only in season for six weeks, for example. But he plans to continue investing in adding more hats with the feature on TenthStreetHats.com.

20.75% of visitors to its site engaged in the AR tool since it was added last September. Plus, the retailer’s traffic has grown significantly—from nearly 52,000 visits per month in June 2018 to more than 125,000 in June 2019, according to web measurement firm SimilarWeb Ltd. That’s a 142% year-over-year increase in traffic.

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“AR definitely plays a hand in it, but I don’t think it’s the sole reason why we’ve grown since it’s only on 30 of our hats,” Finkle says. “But we’re continually finding a way to create a good experience online, which gives us a good bump.”

Finkle does have long-term goals to better call out its AR feature. “We have it very loud and proud on our homepage,” he says. “But we want to better highlight to new users in our welcome email that we have this feature.”

One of his upcoming plans is to create a mashup video of people using the 3D AR feature for ads.When we were doing user testing and seeing people and their faces while they tried it on was so exciting. You could see how engaged they were with the product,” Finkle says.

Tenth Street Hats also has used the AR tool to dig into behavior consumer data. It can see how shoppers are interacting with the product, such as if they are looking underneath the hat and which parts of the hat they are routinely zooming in on.

“With the technology, we can see what a shopper is really looking at and the parts they’re really interested in,” Finkle says. “We collect that consumer data from a product development standpoint too,” so the retailer can see which hats are also the most popular to “try on.”

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Tenth Street Hats is the ecommerce site for hat wholesaler and distributor Dorfman Pacific Inc. TenthStreetHats.com launched in November 2017.

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