As the way consumers shop for diamond rings continues to evolve, jewelers are looking to new forms of technology to keep up.
Among them is Diamond Hedge, an e-commerce ring retailer that developed an AR mobile app to help couples digitally “try on” rings. Mehul Sompura, founder of Diamond Hedge, said the goal is to completely digitize the engagement ring shopping process. While the website already includes features similar to peer services like Say Yes! which allow users to upload a photo of their hand and experiment with styles, this is the first time a diamond company has used a live augmented reality feature. The app, which launched earlier this month, traces the line and movement of the ring finger as it moves on screen, reflecting how it would look like in real life.
“People always want to try on how a ring looks on their hand [while browsing online], but it’s always the same generic, computerized hand with a ring on it,” he said. “I wanted to make it easier for [shoppers] to see what, for example, a halo princess cut would look like on their actual hand.”
Sompura, who has a background in the wholesale diamond industry before he founded the site in 2015, said he was inspired by the rise of AR and VR services among fashion retailers, with features like the virtual fitting room. Though Sompura declined to share numbers, he said sales have increased since debuting the app two weeks ago, and his site makes a percentage of profits from the featured brands on the site.
“It’s giving more exposure to consumers, and it opens up a conversation between the bride and groom,” he said. “Basically what we’re trying to do is make the whole diamond shopping process digital. Most people go from store to store trying to find something.”
This has been particularly valuable, Sompura said, as most brick-and-mortar stores have limited supplies of rings, but shoppers can browse a wide selection on the site. Diamond Hedge regularly posts new styles on its social media accounts, including Instagram, where it has more than 40,000 followers.
“We’re trying to test the limits of technology to see what’s good for the consumer,” he said.