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Fashion etailers:Virtual changing room is the key to dominate the market

Fashion etailers:Virtual changing room is the key to dominate the market

Fashion etailers:Virtual changing room is the key to dominate the market.

A virtual dressing room (also often referred to as virtual fitting room and virtual changing room although they do, on examination, perform different functions) is the online equivalent of the near-ubiquitous in-store changing room – that is, it enables shoppers to try on clothes to check one or more of size, fit or style, but virtually rather than physically.

Having begun to emerge from 2005, fit technologies started to be widely reported from 2010, but are now available from an increasing variety of providers and are in use by a growing number of prominent retailers in their webstores.

A fit technology may be categorised according to the problem that it resolves (size, fit or styling) or according to the technological approach. There are many different types of technological approach, of which the most established and credible are:

  • Size recommendation services
  • Body scanners
  • 3D solutions
  • 3D customer’s model
  • Fitting room with real 3D simulation
  • Dress-up mannequins/mix-and-match
  • Photo-accurate virtual fitting room
  • Augmented reality
  • Real models
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Let’s talk about a touchy subject for fashion retailers – returns. Ever been online to buy a beautiful dress, or the perfect casual t-shirt, only to find when when the postman pops it through your door that it’s too tight, too short, too long, too shiny? So what do you do? Send it back, obviously, and that’s what hits clothing brands right where it hurts. Last year returns cost UK fashion retailers £90.76 million.

The biggest problem is fit, and it’s a bit of a tricky one to solve. Retailers can and do provide detailed measurements, and sometimes even tell you the size and height of the model so you get an idea of proportion (ASOS do this amongst others). But with sizing varying wildly between different brands, ultimately it’s all a bit of a gamble.

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So no wonder that several companies have come up with innovative solutions to this issue.

 

Fitiquette are one such company. Their model works by guiding you through the creation of a customised virtual mannequin that exactly resembles your own measurements. They can then suggest clothes that would fit, showing you a 360 view of how the garment would move and drape in real life. There are a few interesting things about their idea:

  • They don’t suggest sizing. They just let you ‘try ‘the garment on (like in a real changing room) and you can decide.
  • There’s no attempt to put clothing on a real photo of the customer. It’s all totally virtual.
  • Most importantly, there have been no returns from sales made so far through Fitiquette. That’s zero. Pretty impressive.
Fitiquette red newswire
Fitiquette

 

Fits.me are another company with a similar model, which you can try out on their website. They can reproduce up to 2,000 different body sizes, and the service is already being used by companies including Barbour – have a go here if you like. So far, they seem very focused on menswear, which seems to make sense. Guys who hate shopping are probably also going to hate having to return ill-fitting clothes on a regular basis. The only question is whether they can be bothered to take their own measurements (and whether those measurements will be accurate, which is a whole different issue).

Virtual fitting room
Virtual fitting room online

 

Zugara are another company with a totally different approach. They’ve created the Webcam Social Shopper to let consumers ‘hold’ different items of clothing up against themselves, using augmented reality technology. They want to replicate that moment in a shop where you pick up a dress on a hanger, hold it up against yourself, and holler over to your shopping companion ‘hey, what do you think of this one?’. It doesn’t aim to help with fitting information, but instead lets you visualise what the item will look like on (similar to something like the Boden Outfit Maker, but with your own image instead of a slightly creepy mannequin). There’s an enthusiastic review from a Danish fashion blogger here.
virtual change room
Virtual Change Room Launch at Robina Town Centre. For brick & mortar stores. Image: Youtube
It’ll be interesting to see which approach gains the most popularity amongst fashion consumers, who after all are the deciding market here. Sometimes innovations which appeal to a tech fan base don’t translate all that well to the real world. But whoever cracks this problem will definitely be on to a winner.
virtual changing room
WSS For Kiosks in virtual changing room. Image: Zugara

Webinova, a Bengaluru based startup is one of the pioneers in developing virtual fitting room integrated ecommerce portals for fashion / apparel, jewelry. Many other such softwares are soon to be launched for virtual fitting of shoes, kids wear & other products.

The virtual fitting room is the future and the etailers lacking this tool on their websites, may soon realize the traffic moving to others. A huge investment is being made by fashion etailers into applying thoughts of a better user experience and those who do not may not be able to survive in the long run. There’s been seen a growing use of AI (artificial Intelligence) and social networks as well. Flipkart being one of such out of the box thinkers. And this is all to survive the market in the long run.

The best thing about this virtual technology is that makes your life more easy and more clicks of course!

(With inputs from poqcommerce, zugara, wikipedia).

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