London Dynamics has signed a partnership with Capita Scaling Partner (CSP) today to deliver cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) software to the luxury goods market.

Using the camera on a smartphone, and without the need for other apps or special features, the technology allows online shoppers to view a product from any angle they want, in their own living space.

Together, London Dynamics and CSP – the start-up development arm of the FTSE 250 company Capita – are addressing a clear need in the luxury goods market, as high-end brands and retailers look to overhaul the way they sell products online.

To date, the vast majority of expensive, high-end products such as watches and furniture have been sold in a physical retail setting, as customers tend to prefer seeing what a product looks like in real life when looking to spend significant sums of money. But with the impact of Covid-19 severely limiting in-store retail and the physical retail landscape set to undergo dramatic, irreversible change, luxury brands are having to reconsider how to bring their products to life through their customers’ smartphones and online experience.

London Dynamics’ software allows customers to decide, for example, if the colour of a coffee table matches their living room armchair or see what every part of a luxury watch looks like up close. To create a wholly more engaging and interactive experience with products and brands, online products can be rotated through a full 360 degrees and greatly magnified so that fine detail can be viewed. While there are other products on the market that allow customers to view products using AR, this is the first that replicates the products in a photo-realistic way straight from the browser and uses the customer’s physical environment to make the product appear as truly in their space. The Bremont Watch Company, a luxury British watchmaker based in Henley-on-Thames, has begun using the technology to showcase some of its timepieces.

Importantly, there is a growing demand for AR technology amongst consumers themselves:

  • 66% of customers say augmented reality would improve their shopping experience
  • 48% of shoppers are already using or willing to use AR to assess new products and services

And for businesses:

  • AR is increasing online conversion by up to 250%
  • AR experiences are 200% more engaging as they deliver double the levels of engagement compared to their non AR equivalent

As customers are likely to get a realistic feel for what a product is actually like using advanced AR, research has shown they’re also less likely to return it. This helps cut the hassle, cost and waste associated with returns and also means fewer lost sales for the retailer.

Michael Valdsgaard, founder and CEO of London Dynamics, said: “Luxury brands and retailers have in many cases not been fast enough to adopt the kind of online experience now demanded by customers. However, the way people shop is changing dramatically, which has only been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This partnership with CSP enables us to take our industry-leading AR software to the many brands and retailers in clear need of a high-quality, easy to implement solution to revolutionise their online experience. Put simply, we are giving luxury brands the ability to offer their customers the opportunity to not only view the product in-store but also in their own space, as if it is physically there.”

Chris Reynolds, Managing Director at Bremont Watch Company, said: “For some time we have appreciated the theoretical value that AR can bring to our customers’ online experiences. Pleasingly London Dynamics were able to match the quality and attention to detail that we put into our products to help bring this experience to life.”

Alan Linter, Innovation Director of Customer Management at Capita, said: “Luxury retailers are typically masters of marketing and yet when it comes to online shopping, many continue to use old-fashioned methods that are hurting their sales. We think that with London Dynamics’ ground-breaking technology, combined with our deep knowledge of the retail sector, we can revolutionise the way people buy luxury items.”

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