Money20/20: Companies Partner on AR Shopping Prototype

Mastercard, Osterhout Design Group (ODG), and Qualcomm are betting that augmented reality will be a powerhouse for future shopping. To test the waters, they put together an exhibit of a prototype retail experience that is on display, with clothes from Saks Fifth Avenue, at the Money20/20 event in Las Vegas. The prototype combines AR glasses, iris authentication, and integrated mobile payment, and uses photorealistic AR that lets the consumer look at the clothing and view digital details (such as the price) on the AR glasses.

VentureBeat reports that the prototype relies on Mastercard’s digital payment service Masterpass and its Identity Check Mobile, “which enables users making purchases to authenticate through physical traits such as fingerprints and facial and voice recognition software,” ODG’s “expertise and its extra-wide-field-of-view R-9 smartglasses with enhanced iris-tracking cameras,” and Qualcomm’s “Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform running the Snapdragon XR SDK and iris authentication technology with liveliness detection.”


“At Mastercard, we are seeing major shifts in how commerce is conducted, as people lead increasingly connected, digital lifestyles,” said Mastercard executive vice president of digital partnerships Sherri Haymond. “As the physical and digital worlds blend together, we are focused on developing solutions that provide merchants with the ability to accept payments across all technology platforms possible — in-store, in-app, online, and in AR and VR — to help drive how people will experience shopping and payments in the future.”

The three companies “developed the prototype as a proof of concept to help retailers find new ways of enhancing the in-store shopping experience and generating incremental sales by sharing relevant content and information to the shopper while they are shopping.”

The shopper can “visualize a full outfit, access additional clothing in the online inventory, and pay for the items,” which allows retailers to “move to a boutique showroom approach.” Shoppers are already trending towards buying whole outfits, and, according to Salsify, 77 percent of them “already use a mobile device while shopping in a store to research availability and pricing.”

According to ODG vice president Nima Shams, the prototype could be productized by 2020. “Within the next couple of years, glasses and other headworn devices will become more revolutionary,” he said. “Stores will have the potential to create a VIP experience for their best customers.”