Have you ever wandered around a store and felt intimated by the many options and cringe at the thought of trying on what seems like dozens of outfits before finding the perfect one? Or spent hours browsing clothes online only to decide that it probably won’t fit right anyway and end up purchasing nothing?
Whether you are shopping in-store or online, finding the perfect fit of a cute shirt or pair of pants can be a difficult and frustrating experience. No matter how many times you are measured or how many magazine articles on the best jeans for your body type you read, it can still be hard to determine what works. Fashion brands are finding that technology can help them solve these problems for their customers through the use of virtual assistants and enhanced dressing room mirrors.
A Better Fitting Room Experience
Dressing room mirrors are notorious for negative experiences while shopping. Bad lighting and bizarre mirror angles don’t help customers when deciding what looks best on them. Companies have been working to improve this with technology applications.
At CES 2012, Microsoft presented an electric mirror concept that relies on the Kinect gaming system. People can virtually try on their clothing before actually trying anything on in the dressing room. A TV screen allows the user to scroll through a fashion collection and be dressed on the screen. The clothes even move with the user’s physical movements. This doesn’t erase the need to try on physical clothing, but helps shoppers decide what they really want to take the time to try on.
ComQi will be demoing a new interactive mirror at IES 2012 in Amsterdam. The delayMirror is a video mirror with a continual delayed video feed that allows shoppers to see themselves as they were a few seconds earlier. This lets the user see what they are wearing from all angles while trying on clothing in a dressing room.
Not all digital mirrors have purely practical purposes. Some can be used to create a fun and unexpected experience. DDB Canada recently installed a mirror using augmented reality in a Pennington’s, a plus size women’s fashion retailer. When women step into the center dressing room to model an outfit, two firefighters descend from poles in the mirror’s image. The firefighters check out the woman and fight for her attention before disappearing.
Shopping Online with Ease
Bodymetrics and Primesense revealed a 3D body-mapping product at CES 2012. Bodymetrics scans a user’s height and body shape to create a profile to use when shopping with partner retailers. Users are able to virtually try on clothes to get a better sense of how the clothing will fit them before ordering from an online fashion site.
Virtual dressing rooms that allow users to mock up 3D models of their bodies are helpful when making online clothing purchases. My Virtual Model recently released a Facebook app for OneStopPlus.com where users create a virtual model to dress with items from OneStopPlus brands. Users can share the outfits on Facebook to get votes from friends to help make purchasing decisions.
An Enhanced Shopping Experience
It is important for brands to cater to customers to ensure they have positive experiences on and offline. Customers are more likely to buy clothing with less fitting room frustrations. Knowing that a store has gone out of its way to ensure the customer has the ability to find the perfect fit will increase customer loyalty, word of mouth publicity, and visibility in social.
Taking some frustration out of a shopping experience through enhanced mirrors and virtual models makes shopping fun and easier. You should make use of these emerging technologies to solve problems for your customers and win their loyalty in the process.
Rebecca May, 1.13.12