Imagine never having to try on another article of clothing at a store again. Sounds crazy right? From online to offline, augmented and virtual reality is transforming the fitting room experience for consumers. Retail leaders are confident that virtual reality will change the way consumers interact with brands. One company in particular is revolutionizing the fitting room both online and in store. Fits.me’s technology helps online shoppers visualize how an item of clothing might look on them by taking into account their personal body measurements.
Shopping online is extremely convenient, but when it comes to trying on clothing and sending an unwanted item back, it can be a hassle. If a consumer knew that the piece of clothing they were buying would be a perfect fit, the more likely they would be to buy it. By allowing shoppers to ‘experience’ an item more personally, research suggests they are more likely to make a purchase. Many consumers are skeptical about the virtual fitting room. They are unsure if it will get the perfect fit.
Virtual fitting rooms requires the user to submit their own measurements to create a representation online. Websites like Fits.me and Metail are creating platforms for consumers to try on and buy clothing online. For example, Acustom Apparel is a US-based startup that offers ‘digital bespoke menswear’. Using an in-store scanner, it creates a digital profile of your entire body shape from 200,000 data points. The resulting 3D body model, combined with the customer’s choice of fit, materials and features, enables the company to produce entirely bespoke items of clothing. The entire process takes roughly 15 minutes.
At the end of 2014, Nordstrom adopted the tech-enabled fitting rooms by rolling out a full length mirror-cum-interactive screen in two of its stores. The “mirror” is designed by eBay, and allows the customer to browse through items and read product reviews, much like being online. It also features a barcode scanner to check in-store availability and lets shoppers request items to be brought to the fitting room. Shoppers don’t even need to go through the hassle of undressing. With the use of augmented reality, virtual clothing can be superimposed onto the shopper.
While the technology for this may seem to fall short of the real-life shopping experience of truly wearing an outfit, it enables faster turnaround times for busy shoppers. The biggest benefit for retailers is an almost limitless inventory, unrestricted by the store’s actual stock. Virtual and augmented reality in fitting rooms still has a long way to go, but more and more retailers are adopting the idea. Soon malls and brick-and-mortar stores may all have VR fitting rooms.