VIRTUAL FITTING ROOMS – A GLIMPSE INTO THE STORE OF THE FUTURE
It is no longer a secret that e-commerce has fundamentally changed the way retailers work. Customers are becoming more demanding and expect more flexibility and comfort. For many customers, the question is whether they still want to wait in a long queue at the checkout when they can easily order products online and have them delivered to their home. This poses a challenge for brick-and-mortar retail. To remain competitive, retailers need to adapt to the digital age and create new customer experiences in order to inspire customers' desire to purchase more in-store again.
What will the store of the future look like?
It is likely that the store of the future will include a virtual dressing tool, also called Virtual Try-On (VTO), and that this will one day be part of the daily shopping experience.
But how do virtual try-ons work?
Retailers can use different technologies such as augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI) or 3D body scanners to create virtual try-ons. Virtual try-on specifically refers to trying on clothes on a smart screen, often using a camera function on a smartphone or tablet. AR technologies allow customers to view clothing items as a digital overlay on a real-time video of themselves.
What are the benefits?
It allows customers to try on clothes virtually. This also allows more hygienic shopping experience, as the items are not tried on by different people. In addition, customers are offered more comfort as they can try on a variety of clothes in quick sequence without having to change the clothes continuously. To improve the customer experience, AI-based algorithms can also be used to make better product recommendations based on the customer's individual style preferences.
What is the level of interest in virtual fittings?
According to a study by Bitkom, 45 percent of online shoppers are interested in trying on products in a virtual environment. In addition, 9 percent of those surveyed have already used virtual try-ons and 36 percent would like to do so in the future. Many customers are also interested in other digital applications. All-round views or 3D models are in demand by 68 percent, 30 percent already use them and 38 percent would like to use them. These views make it possible, for example, to examine a new handbag online from all angles. Some retailers worldwide, such as H&M, have already started testing virtual try-ons. In 2021, H&M introduced virtual fitting rooms in some of its shops in Germany. During the test phase, customers were able to create a personal avatar with their exact body measurements free of charge using the body scanners in the participating H&M shops. The app allowed customers to quickly and digitally try on clothes and immediately see how they fit on their own bodies. The avatar can be rotated 360 degrees so that the clothes can be viewed from all angles. In addition, the app offers size recommendations based on the recorded body measurements.
Conclusion: Better shopping experiences and more sustainability
The measurement of exact body sizes offers numerous benefits to customers, such as the assurance that clothes will fit, eliminating the need to order multiple sizes. This is particularly important as custom-fit clothing can help retailers reduce the number of costly returns. In addition, fewer returns lead to less waste, which in turn helps solve the urgent sustainability problem in the fashion industry. In summary, virtual try-ons bring significant benefits to both retailers and customers. They are the next logical evolution of the physical shopping experience in brick-and-mortar retail and it won't be long before they become commonplace.
Sources: K3, Bitkom, Fashion Network, Fashion United