Are internet retailers competing with the brick and mortars by trying to provide the in store experience, namely trying on clothes, online?
It seems that some retailers are trying this. Known as “virtual fitting rooms” several retailers are adopting a virtual way for consumers to try on clothes from the comfort of home.
This article highlights some of the ways this is being integrated, from consumers entering their measurements to create a prototype to try outfits on, complete with alerts that clothes may not fit properly, to the most interesting one of all – the webcam fitting room:
From the company’s website:
The Life-Styler wardrobe stylist makes it easy for you to see which styles of fashion suit you. All the clothes have been categorized by our body shapes – so whether you’re an Audrey ruler body shape, Isabella apple body shape, Sophia hourglass body shape, Eva pear body shape or Grace inverted triangle body shape – we have fashion outfits that will suit you.
- Select allow so that the webcam can connect to you
- Choose to watch the simple video which explains how the virtual wardrobe works
- Then choose clothing based on your body type
- Watch the chosen outfit come up on your screen and re-size to fit you!
- Share to social media and get your friends opinion
So, will this work and become the “next big thing” in e-commerce? While it seems very interesting, and something that might help e-commerce in increased sales, the jury is still out, for several reasons:
1. Webcam security: consumers may be a bit wary yet of having the webcam aspect of the experience, especially when the site reminds you that you have the allow the webcam to control your computer. While it is definitely cool, some of the images on the website showing the virtual fitting room look a bit like the colorform dolls I played with as a child – those paper/plastic dolls with the clothing options with tabs that you can “dress” the doll. It’s a good visual as a starting point though.
2. Time consuming: for those virtual sites that require a consumer to enter their measurements, this may not work. I have no idea what my measurements are, and might think it’s time consuming to try and figure that out. Others might not think so though, so this might be more effective, and less intrusive, than the webcam option.
3. Security/data concerns: consumers may wonder if their measurements are being collected in a CRM database, to be used for personalized promotions, or for other reasons. While this is more widely accepted in online shopping, there are still some consumers that may be concerned about the data they’re entering and what companies will use it for.
4. Accuracy and return rate: I recently tried a virtual site for glasses, as I know the time is coming for me to need them. I thought that uploading a picture of myself to try on various frames was a great idea….unfortunately, the site was clunky (or it could be user related, I’ll admit it) and I had great difficultly making the frames fit my picture. When it worked, the superimposed frames were cartoonish in nature, making it difficult for me to visualize myself wearing the frames. After some attempts, I grew increasingly frustrated and gave up.
Bottom line, online retailers are continually looking for ways to compete against the brick and mortars, or even try to complement their consumer experience by offering these virtual experiences in addition to their in person experiences. As with anything new, I fully expect that, if this trend continues, technology will be enhanced as time goes on, potentially making this a viable option for consumers.