By Aimee Chanthadavong

A recent research study conducted by Quantium has shown Australian online sales have grown 29 per cent in the past 12 months. This growth is more than 10 times the growth rate of offline retail illustrating the shift in buyer behaviour.

Taking advantage of this is Sydney-based online fashion expert Miriam Koenig from VitAiL who has launched Bonn, an online add-on application for online retailers.

The add-on technology is an augmented reality mirror application that will allow retailers to offer online shoppers the option to ‘try-on’ clothes and accessories without the need to physically do it.

Speaking to RetailBiz, Koenig says the inspiration for the technology came from recognising her own problems she had as an online retailer.

“The story behind it is that I run a custom-made dress website and I’ve always had the problem of not being able to let my customers try on their dresses before they bought it. So I came up with this virtual mirror idea that would let my customers try on a dress before they bought it. Also, because these dresses are custom-made, customers could try on to see what colour would suit them best,” she said.

The technology, which uses image recognition and tracking software similar to your Xbox Kinetic, has been developed to operate on any computer or tablet with a webcam. The user can stand in front of their computer and use their hands to interact with the software.

Koenig says this form of try before you buy for an online retailer will give customers a richer online shopping experience.

“Online retailing is growing but if you can find a point of difference that makes your shop special then you’re on the right track. This technology also lets customers shiare their experience with friends and family via Facebook or Twitter so it’s that sort of point of difference that makes it a good way to draw customers in,” she said.

“If f you have a bricks and mortar shop and an online retail store then customers can and browse through the website and look through your product category before they go in-store to buy the product.”

The application also has a social media plug-in to give users the opportunity to share their new fashion find, giving online retailers cross platform marketing exposure.

“Technology, especially augmented reality, is becoming more and more sophisticated and it’s therefore changing the way we are shopping.”