There’s been a lot of recent buzz around the concept of the virtual fitting room. With store closures during COVID, e-commerce apparel shopping at record highs, and limited fitting room capacity as stores slowly reopen, traditional and online retailers alike are looking for alternative ways for their shoppers to find the right size and fit.
From an e-commerce brand’s standpoint, the virtual fitting room is the best solution to enhance personalization and engagement throughout the shopper’s journey. While e-commerce players have worked diligently to develop a solution that provides shoppers with a true virtual fitting room experience, the costs, privacy concerns, and required equipment have actively hindered this effort.
If we have learned anything from our years in e-commerce it’s that online shoppers crave a convenient and engaging fitting tool that’s readily available. What is your brand doing to instill size confidence in your shoppers while providing a seamless shopping experience?
Defining the Virtual Fitting Room
With the lack of a consistent definition of what a virtual fitting room truly is, we at WAIR define it as “A tool that leverages virtual technology and data to determine the best size and fit for a garment without a shopper ever trying it on.” Major players in the fashion industry have recognized the importance of providing this experience to their shoppers, and their efforts have not gone unnoticed.
For example, Ralph Lauren integrated virtual mirrors into their physical dressing rooms that provide the shopper with full access to their in-store inventory with the touch of a screen. The features do not end there, shoppers can adjust the room lighting and request different sizes, cuts, or colors all without having to leave the fitting room.
The result? Ralph Lauren states that its virtual mirrors have seen an engagement rate of 90% since their inclusion and the data collected from shoppers has been invaluable in adjusting its retail strategy.
The Current Variations of the Virtual Fitting Room
The question you are likely asking yourself right now is, “What does a virtual fitting room actually look and feel like?” Worry not, we have gathered a couple of examples of solutions that are currently in use:
1. In-Store Solutions – Cameras placed within virtual mirrors stationed in brick and mortar stores are used to scan the bodies of shoppers, determine their body dimensions, and create a personalized avatar that will serve as the fitting model. Shoppers can browse through a store’s inventory and select clothing to place on their avatar. The drawback of this solution is the chance of inaccurate representation as virtual clothing does not conform to real-world sizing scenarios. Additionally, shoppers must visit a physical store to participate.
2. Mobile-based solutions – The mobile-based virtual fitting room uses embedded or 3rd party apps to create a virtual lens that will overlay a digital version of a garment onto the body of the shopper. Other variations of this solution require the shopper to download an app and then upload pictures of their body to obtain a fit recommendation. This virtual lens technology is somewhat restricted to accessories (shoes and glasses for example) at this time due to the limited capabilities of cameras present in most mobile devices. As a general rule, these solutions can be cumbersome and inconvenient for the shopper.
3. Consultation-based solutions – A modern take on the classic fitting room experience, the consultation-based virtual fitting room occurs via the lens of a webcam. A fashion consultant will meet shoppers over video chat to provide a fit recommendation, a process that requires shoppers to know and give the consultant exact measurements. While this solution is useful (especially for specialty clothing), it can hardly be considered a virtual experience and is limited by employee time constraints, resource availability, and a lack of convenience.
4. User interface-based solutions – Likely the most convenient and seamless solution of the four, UI-based virtual fitting rooms typically ask the shopper a series of questions, the answers are run through a dataset that will ultimately recommend a size. The depth of the data set varies based on the provider, with the most in-depth providers accounting for all unique body dimensions, and less in-depth providers relying simply on height and weight averages. The only drawback of this solution is that shoppers cannot physically see the garment on their person/avatar like they can with some of the aforementioned solutions.
With the abundance of tech-heavy solutions, it is tempting to get completely sucked into the idea of the experience. One must not forget the fundamental problem these solutions were created to solve; helping shoppers order the best fitting products when they cannot try them on. At WAIR we prioritize convenience, user experience, and functionality above all, and we are proud to say that we offer one of the finest virtual fitting solutions available.
How WAIR Embraced this Opportunity
It’s no secret that shoppers have become inherently distrustful when it comes to purchasing clothing online. Because traditional sizing methods have (to be frank) failed our shoppers time and again, WAIR CEO Greg Moore saw it fit (no pun intended) to provide brands with a sizing tool they desperately needed.
As shopping habits change, we have to be intentional not to just just re-invent the brick and mortar experience in the e-commerce domain. We’re finding that consumers want clear, simple, accurate direction… not an unending catalog of products or an immersive experience.Greg Moore | CEO, WAIR
WAIR aligns with the UI-based virtual fitting room solution with our Fit Advisor tool seamlessly integrating into the user interface of our brand partners’ e-commerce site. Unlike many of the existing solutions that require shoppers to submit known measurements or photograph themselves, shoppers can receive fit recommendations by simply answering a few easy questions about their body type, no measuring tape required!
Now, just because our fitting process is easy for shoppers to use, does not mean that it is not comprehensive enough to provide accurate recommendations. WAIR’s fit recommendation technology is AI developed atop an exclusive database encompassing over 2 million unique body scans.
Armed with the provided information, WAIR can create a complete 3D view of each unique shopper, thus giving brands the precise size and fit recommendations shoppers require. On the back end, we also factor how a brand’s designer intended a garment to fit, ultimately creating size and fit recommendations that both the shopper and brand can feel confident with.
The icing on the cake? With our new Order Insights feature, brands can finally pair purchase information with an avatar of the predicted body type for the shopper. This leads to brands gaining a better understanding of the bodies of their shoppers. Learn more about the Order Insights Feature by clicking this link!
What are Brands Saying About WAIR?
Brands that put size and fit strategy first, have partnered with WAIR to enrich and empower their shopper’s online experience. Since their integration of Fit Advisor, not only is shopper confidence in size flourishing, but they have also seen increased conversions, keep rates, and reduced size-related returns. To learn more about the successes brands have seen from implementing our Fit Advisor, visit our customer success page!
Embracing the Winds of Change
While the virtual fitting room is still considered an emerging technology, institutional investment and adaptation of alternative solutions are at an all-time high. Whether or not it took a global pandemic for clothing brands to recognize the viability of this technology is yet to be determined, but know that this trend is not stopping anytime soon. Now is the time to enhance your shopper’s experience while simultaneously driving conversions and sustainability efforts, an absolute win-win.