Image via Fashion United
Written By Hana El-Sharabasy, Edited by Chantel Ong

Online shopping is upping the prestige with virtual fitting rooms. Computer software created by Zeekit is being sold to independent retailers to make remote try-ons possible. The technology works in 3D rather than 2D to create an interactive virtual reality shopping experience. This tech considered factors such as age, exercise and gender to get an accurate virtual model. Many years ago, eyewear and makeup companies implemented similar systems to try their products on, but Zeekit is the first to create an effective 3D experience. Brands like Walmart, FarFetch and Amazon were the first to purchase the Virtual Try-On.

The Suit, Fit and Match Dilemma

The suit fit and match dilemma is defined by Pachoulakis and Kapetanakis as the consumer’s primary concerns while shopping. We often ask ourselves, “does this suit me?” and “ does it fit my lifestyle/body?” to come to an appropriate decision. These questions are especially difficult to answer while online shopping because of the fact that we can’t try on the clothes or feel the material. Uncertainty while shopping makes customers reluctant to fork over the money before they know they are making a good purchase. 

Image via Vogue

The Role of Virtual Try-ons in a Purchase

Technological advancements continually draw parallels between in-person and online shopping experiences. Zeekits VTO application solves the main fault of online shopping, the inability to do try-on. Studies have shown that virtual try-ons increase the confidence people have in their purchase. Some customers even exhibited increased inquiry about their clothing of interest which might mean more purchases.

Upsides of Virtual Try-Ons

Mindful Purchases

Try-ons create an added level of certainty in a purchase. Shoppers often buy multiple sizes and styles of one item with the intention of returning the majority just to be able to try them on. With the VTO becoming available they can be more sure of their purchase, and just buy what they need. The disappointments faced with online purchases are about the size, style and material. A guaranteed fit provided by retailers will also lessen return rates. Decreased return rates save time, money and decrease the net shipping emissions.

Better for Small Businesses

 Making online shopping comparable to in-person shopping may incline to close in-person shops as a means to save money on employee wages and rent. For a small business, this can be a huge plus and give them added competition to big stores.

Image via Pinterest

Downsides of Virtual Try-Ons

VTO Might Never Be as Good In-Person

The fashion industry tends to latch on to innovative ideas that sound good in theory but bad in practice. This may be one of those that drive lots of traffic initially, but die down after a period of time. Will the hours and money put into VTO technology really pay off in the long run? 

Too Much work?

A virtual try-on may become a hassle for many. More often than not, customers don’t even bother to check the size charts, so who’s to say that they will scan their entire body. In the event that retailers pay upfront for this technology, and it goes unused it will become an unprofitable expense on their part. 

Privacy Risk

The perceived privacy risk that comes with VTO has turned off many users. Some are reluctant to share their body size with companies online. Though these negative perceptions of privacy risk are directly linked with studies on older age groups. 

Systematic Inconsistencies

Though virtual try-ons in theory should decrease return rates, there is a big chance inconsistencies in software programming will present an incorrect vision of the garments. These one-off bumps in the road are hard to foresee. Until VTO is regularly integrated into our shopping it’s hard to say if these will be a rarity or a regular occurrence. 

Image via Pinterest

Will online ever live up to in person?

There are parts of the shopping experience that will never be matched by online technologies. Many of us fashion lovers use a day at the mall as an activity. There is fun in getting dressed up, going out with your friends and stopping for a cheap food court lunch. The instant gratification of purchasing something at the mall can’t be matched by online shopping. But on the other side of the spectrum are people who dread a day at the mall because of crowds and long lines. Nevertheless, advancing the current online shopping technologies will be useful for those who love, and hate shopping.

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