In a highly competitive world, retailers are constantly looking for innovative ideas to expand their business. Technology that allows shoppers to virtually try on clothes is revolutionizing the shopping experience and bringing in new avenues for realizing enhanced customer satisfaction.
Poor fit is one of the main reasons clothes bought online are returned. Finding the right size and type that suits the buyer's personality and need without trying these on is quite challenging. Offline shoppers also get tired of trying multiple outfits to check the fitting. The process of waiting, going in and out of fitting rooms to change is time-consuming and frustrating for both, consumers and fashion retail stores.
Virtual clothing is rapidly establishing its place in all sectors of the fashion retail business and leading to transformed customer experience.
Virtual Reality (VR) technology innovations have made inroads into the fashion industry. Following are a few of the tech-focused ideas that retailers can look at to enable the next level of customer experience.
3D avatars - This includes digitization of customer profiles and garments. Digitizing a customer includes generating an avatar of the human body that resembles the customer. A perfect 3D avatar will match the customer in terms of height, face, body size, shape, dimensions etc. This 3D avatar will be saved in the retailer's system and can be viewed on a gadget.
3D sketch of customers are of no use if 3D digitization is not done for all catalogs of clothes. Digitization process is carried out for all garments to make them compatible with 3D customer avatars. After the digitization process is done, apparels are added on 3D structures for visualization.
Virtual fitting mirrors - A fitting room will have a customizable, powerful and easy-to-use technology-based mirror. This innovative mirror will allow shoppers to try on several outfits virtually, and preview them without actually taking the pain of wearing them.
Virtual mannequins - This technique helps create illusion of a real person. A mannequin, based on the body shape of a customer, is created and projected. Clothes are then displayed on the 3D mannequin, which the customer can control and customize with gesture-controlled user interface. These mannequins are computer-controlled and can be rapidly transformed into different shapes and sizes and thereby, the whole process of virtually trying clothes becomes reasonably fast.
Which technique is best should be determined through a combination of financial investment, marketing efforts and most importantly, user experience.
Role of Analytics
An ideal VR solution will leverage the power of analytics and will be able to learn from customer's past selections, shopping history and browsing patterns to promptly select and recommend the right articles for the customers.
Data Collection - The intelligent solution collects the data by closely monitoring the customer's virtual clothing patterns, liking, trends and virtual avatars. Social media integration helps evaluate the feedback on the clothes. Virtual clothing retailers enable customers to rate the outfits on various parameters that can help retailers to understand the shopper's preferences.
Data Analysis - Based on the collected data, a series of analysis are done to mine the data into fruitful information about the customer's behavior. The clothes are categorized based on the fitting, suitability and feedback. Customers are segmented based on their purchase patterns, body structure, price sensitivity and other factors. Categories of clothes are mapped to different customer segments.
Recommendations - Apt recommendations are made to customers as per their preferences and past behaviors. Various offers are tagged to these recommendations to maximize the chances of shoppers buying the recommended outfits and accessories.
Reporting Capability - With the analytics platform, retailers will be able to build dashboards with important KPIs and real time statistics such as conversion rates of shoppers that use virtual clothing platform, how many pictures were taken and shared, customers' feedback and sentiments, etc. These statistics would help retailers make important business decisions.
The virtual future
Social sharing features and integration with Cloud, make virtual clothing technology a highly interactive and customizable framework and brings several benefits to customers and retailers. Customers will save time spent in waiting and physically changing multiple outfits in trial rooms. E-shoppers will enjoy better buying experience, leading to a significant drop in number of returns. As a result, sales volume will go up and profit margins will increase for retailers. Though implementation of the solution calls for investment, virtual clothing is bound to revolutionize the retail industry and enable good ROI for online as well as brick and mortar stores.