Ever take ten garments into
a fitting room, just to come
out with only one that fits?
This common occurrence proves that
most clothing-related purchasing decisions
are made inside fitting rooms —
which poses a big problem for clothing
retailers on the Web.
Perhaps the most profitable e-commerce
category, apparel can also be the most challenging for merchants
due to consumer uncertainties of how an online image translates
into the right size, fit and look. However, new technologies are
attempting to remedy this problem by providing e-commerce retailers
with “virtual” fitting rooms.
These solutions allow consumers to virtually “try on” clothing
with a custom model before hitting the checkout — which,
according to one provider, can yield three times as many conversions
and lower return rates by nearly 30 percent. Virtual fitting
rooms also provide customers with an increased lifetime
value by ensuring that they receive the desired look.
“Fashion is one of the most emotional purchases,” says
Heikki Haldre, CEO of Fits.me. “And customers do not want to
purchase the right to return an item. They want to buy clothes
Integrating one of these platforms into an e-commerce site
better allows retailers to be able to meet that need for online
consumers, but they must first understand the specific benefits
that each solution can provide. So, let’s step inside some virtual
fitting rooms and see what these innovative technologies
have to offer.
This virtual fitting room enables consumers to mix and match
clothes, shoes and accessories with a customizable model. The
solution generates a fully digitized 3D garment based on two existing
images — one front view and one back view. It can be seen
in action at www.quizclothing.co.uk and www.menatwork.nl.
This solution can be integrated into any existing website
and all e-commerce platforms. Once it is integrated, the fitting
room is served from a GPU-based infrastructure and runs
on all devices without a plugin, including desktops, mobile
phones and tablets.
One of this solution’s selling points to merchants is that MimicMe
enables consumers to sample large amounts of retailers’ inventories
in a timely fashion. The company says that 20 percent
of online visitors try on more than 25 garments per visit.
“Visualizing how items match together increases desire and
makes people eager to complete a look,” says Xavier Baars,
founder and CEO of MimicMe. “This is the main advantage over
augmented reality solutions, where in the same amount of time
people can hardly view a handful of items.”
My Virtual Model
This virtual fitting room can be integrated into an e-commerce
site through the solution’s Application Programming Interface
(API). Similar to MimicMe, My Virtual Model can use merchants’
existing apparel pictures and only requires two photos
per garment — a front and back view — in order for consumers
to see how they fit from all angles. This solution supplies
the final images of the models wearing each outfit, but the buttons,
images and links around the models are under the control
of the retailer.
The API enables the images of the models to be rendered in
multiple sizes, which can then be placed into any product page, doesn’t recommend what size a customer should buy, it focuses
category page or promotional Web page. While the solution exclusively on the visualization of outfits on different body
shapes. The API also allows for personalization of the model’s
body shape and appearance, as well as allowing for dressing, undressing
and turning of the model, and background changes. The
virtual outfitting tools can also be used for mobile apps.
The company claims that My Virtual Model not only lifts
conversion rates for retailers but that average order values (AOV)
can also be raised by up to 200 percent.
“People using My Virtual Model spend on average 10 minutes
on the site and try on an average of eight items,” says Gregory
Saumier-Finch, general manager of My Virtual Model.
Unlike the previous options, this solution focuses solely on fit
Fits.me uses shape-shifting robotic mannequins to display
how clothes will look on various body types. The solution requires
that retailers send them samples of clothing in various
sizes, and photos are taken of how the clothing appears during
the robot’s permutations.
On average, about 2,000 photos are taken of each garment
and the images are stored and served from cloud servers. When
consumers visit a retailer’s site, they input their measurements
and are shown the corresponding photos that match their clothing
selections and body types — accurately depicting how each
garment will look on individual shoppers.
“It’s hard enough for online shoppers to wait for their items
to arrive in the mail,” says Haldre. “Therefore, it is important for
the brand that customers not need to return them.”
Try it on for size
While there are many other virtual platforms such as Styku,
Zugara and Mipso — some of which are in the augmented reality
or body-scanner realm — it is important for merchants to
review each solution before choosing which solution “fits” best.
But the ability to provide consumers with depictions of how
items will appear on their bodies should ultimately increase
sales, lower return rates and keep customers returning to “try
on” something new.
About the Author: Allison Howen is an associate editor at Website Magazine,
writing primarily about ecommerce and social media.