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Looking to buy a new set of kicks online, but wish you could see what they’d look like on your feet first? Well now you can, using Amazon’s brand new, virtual try-on app. To use Amazon’s Virtual Try-On for Shoes, users open the camera on their mobile phones, scan a QR code, and voila—thousands of sneaker styles are available to “try on,” using the system’s augmented reality (AR) technology. Right now, the app only works on Apple devices, but Amazon says an Android version is coming soon. Amazon, along with other innovative clothing, makeup, eyeglass, and accessories retailers, say that AR try-on applications, even if still in their infancy, already are sophisticated enough to help customers feel more confident about their purchases. These AR apps also can be combined with social media, which 37 percent of fashion executives consider to be an important connection for their markets. There’s also the hope that giving consumers an opportunity to try before they buy will reduce the number of returns, which cut into companies’ bottom lines and fill landfills. It all sounds good, right? The only issue is this: An augmented reality try-on cannot tell you if the shoes actually fit.

Source: George Anderson, “Will AR Try-On Sneaker Tech Put Amazon a Step Ahead of its Rivals?” Retail Wire, June 10, 2022; Maghan McDowell, “Why AR Clothing Try-on Is Nearly Here,” Vogue Business, July 26, 2021; Meghan Gunn, “Augmented Reality Shakes Up Retail with Digital Makeup and Fashion,” Newsweek, March 16, 2022