The Robot in Your Dressing Room Street Fight

The Robot in Your Dressing Room

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Walmart and Amazon are leading the charge in launching new technologies that use AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) to enable prospective shoppers to “try on” everything from cosmetics to eyewear to fashion.┬áCalled “the next step in retail evolution,” virtual try-on technology:

  • May reduce online shopping returns because consumers can better understand how an item will look on them.
  • Can increase sales, especially when the technology recommends additional items that “fit” the consumer’s selections.
  • Has the potential to build more social shopping experiences, as people can get opinions from friends and family before making a purchase. Warby Parker was among the first brands to pioneer this concept with its virtual try-on app.

In addition to facilitating try-ons for clothes and accessories, applications include furniture, enabling consumers to see how chairs, sofas, and knick-knacks will look in their homes.

Virtual try-ons are not just for shopping online. AR mirrors in stores and dressing rooms enable shoppers to see how products will look on them. This can be especially valuable in retailers like cosmetics stores, where color try-ons are possible without opening packages or engaging human staff.

As technology evolves, we can have our own “build-to-size” avatars, so that the try-on process will be even more accurate, as garments can be virtually sized to our real bodies.

Walmart’s virtual try-on page looks even better in many ways than a physical retail store. There are no messy racks or wandering aisles. It features specific brands, too, creating an opportunity for select vendors to showcase their merchandise.

Surprisingly, Amazon’s virtual try-on functionality is somewhat disjointed and focuses primarily on shoes. It enables consumers to see various brands and styles on their own feet, which seems inconsistent with Amazon’s one-stop-shopping philosophy.

New tech companies are emerging to perfect the virtual try-on experience. DeepGears, for example, offers a “plug-and-play” technology for retailers. AR mirrors have become more sophisticated and, when integrated with AI, will one day be able to immediately provide shopping recommendations to consumers based on body shape, features, and previous purchases.

The “personal shopper” of the future may, in fact, not be human!

 

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Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in Inc.com, the New York Times and Forbes.