Virtual dressing is enjoying a renaissance thanks to new technologies—including augmented reality, 3D modeling and more.
Virtual dressing rooms have been around for a long while, but early technology struggled to meet consumer expectations, and many initial attempts faded. Today, however, virtual dressing is enjoying a renaissance thanks to new technologies—including augmented reality and 3D modeling—and better use of consumer data. The new models go beyond simply building body replicas and follow a “fit and flatter” ethos.
The current wave of virtual dressing adds clothing dimensions, personal preference and crowdsourced data to traditional fit models, as USA Today reports. Banks of data about consumers with similar body types, preferences or personalities can mean more satisfied outcomes, notes Internet Retailer. And Fortune reports that companies like Fitbay (“a clothes discovery service personalized to your unique shape and size”) can offer online retailers data such as which brands are most favored by people with specific body types.
The reimagination of virtual dressing rooms is driven by the ongoing upswing in e-commerce and the expense of returns that retailers must bear. Return rates average 20 to 30 percent for online apparel retailers compared with less than 10 percent on average for hard goods, as Internet Retailer notes.
Expect a continued push for virtual dressing as technology evolves further. EBay recently bought 3D visualization and simulation company PhiSix. Video game technology may also play a role; in Japan, clothing brand Urban Research uses Microsoft Kinect for virtual pop-up dressing rooms. And retailers could adapt the virtual reality headgear Oculus Rift in interesting ways, as an in-store Tesco experiment demonstrates.