The market of virtual fitting rooms has seen increased growth and demand in the last few years, reaching a market value of 2.97 billion USD in 2020. This growth has been noticeably accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic which changed our shopping habits and made us turn to e-commerce more than ever before. Now, nearly 35% of this market is owned by virtual dressing room apps.
Implementing an augmented reality dressing room in your business will draw customers’ attention and might positively affect your brand’s image. Most people like new technologies and innovations, which means they are naturally attracted to them. What’s most important, a virtual dressing room app can also lower the return rate and increase sales resulting in higher revenue.
In this article you will find out:
- how virtual fitting rooms work
- what benefits they bring
- how they can help out your business
- what challenges you might face when developing one
- how you can incorporate this solution into your enterprise
How do AR dressing rooms work?
Most virtual fitting rooms are based on augmented reality technology. They allow customers to try on clothes without the need to wear or even touch them physically. Any potential client with a smartphone can take advantage of such a tool. Using a dedicated app, they can see a live image of themselves in any available article. This technology is already used in many popular apps like Snapchat.
How it works is quite simple. An overlaying image of the chosen article is presented on a live video feed of the user. In other words, the customer can see how any given cut, size and style will look once they put it on. When it comes to regular shops, most retailers set up dedicated stands with large displays in front or in place of physical dressing rooms. They work on the same principle as the AR applications.
Significance of virtual try-ons in e-commerce
Having turned to online clothing shopping, many of us found it challenging to decide which clothes and in what sizes would fit us best. After all, you can’t exactly try anything on before ordering and receiving it. Most or all online clothing stores offer a size chart or even size guide, but these are often either imprecise or the products simply don’t match the given dimensions accurately enough.
Furthermore, it’s not always easy to imagine how exactly a piece of clothing will look once you wear it. A solution to this is a free return policy used by most marketplaces. It seems reasonable at first glance, but it creates an excessively high return rate, which can soar to an alarming 70% for some categories. This in turn significantly lowers the actual sales margin on each product and in extreme cases makes the business unprofitable. Especially if you offer free shipping.
That’s where the option to try clothes on virtually can prove to be significantly beneficial. By providing your customers a way to see how each item looks on their body, they can make more informed decisions. Therefore, fewer of them will want to return their orders.
How brick-and-mortar retailers can utilize virtual fitting rooms
Virtual fitting rooms can also be utilized with good results in regular fashion retail. As mentioned above, most stores that use this technology put up a large mirror which is in fact a display screen. These are often referred to as smart mirrors. The customers see a live image of themselves, just like in a regular mirror, except overlaying images can be projected on them.
Modern technology even allows users to have a 360-degree view of themselves while wearing a virtual piece of clothing. It’s worth noting that smart mirrors can also recommend items based on what the shopper is looking for. That’s a way to increase sales volume with almost no effort. And finally, you can present an unlimited range of products to the customers and not just the ones which are currently physically exhibited.
Limitations and solutions
Of course, every technology has its limitations and will not be perfect. Arguably, the most common concern is that the presented products will look different in real life or that the material composition might be different than expected. Here are some examples of the challenges of virtual fitting rooms and ways to overcome them.
The inability to touch the items
Unfortunately, even though customers can have a great representation of how the clothes will look, they still can’t touch them. And getting the feel of the fabric is an essential part of shopping for clothes for some people.
There is no easy solution to this problem, but a few ideas could be implemented. For stores using AR smart mirrors, you can provide samples of the most popular material compositions next to the device. For e-commerce, a detailed description of the used fabrics and how they feel to the touch might prove satisfactory for many consumers. After all, looks matter the most when it comes to fashion, don’t they?
Articles look different in real life
Customers may also be concerned that the virtual items may not represent the product they will receive well. Oftentimes visualizations are indeed slightly inaccurate or the colors on screen vary from the real thing.
Fortunately, thanks to advanced software, knowledge and experience, it is possible to recreate objects with very high accuracy. Moreover, with the correct equipment, you can even use high-definition, 360-degree models, based on images, enabling a photorealistic representation of the product.
Most of the time, it all comes to the quality of the software design and virtual clothes models. We, at 4Experience, put a strong emphasis on quality, functionality and looks whenever we develop a new piece of software. You can find some examples in our portfolio.
The technology and implementation might seem complicated
One concern a business owner might have is the complicity of creating and implementing a virtual dressing room application. It is also crucial for the software itself to be user-friendly and have an intuitive UI. Otherwise, customers might not want to use it.
4Experience offers to develop the software from scratch with all the necessary support to implement the technology. From helping you come up with an idea, through graphic design, all the way to explaining how to use the finished product. Moreover, we always make sure that the UI is simple, yet functional. Here is a good example.
The greatest advantages of virtual fitting rooms
We have already gone through some of the advantages of augmented reality technologies in fashion retail. Here is a quick reminder of why you should consider developing virtual fitting rooms for your business. Important benefits:
- Significantly lower return rate. Reports show that it can drop by as much as 36% which means a larger sales margin and more revenue. This is especially important for e-commerce, where the RR reaches much higher levels.
- Notably greater turnover. AR try-ons have been reported to improve conversion rates and the average order value, which increases the turnover.
- Positive image of your brand. Creating virtual fitting rooms makes consumers view your brand as more innovative and customer-oriented. By combining these efforts with a marketing campaign, your brand can grow exponentially.
- Convenient and faster shopping experience. According to a recent study, 97% of consumers gave up on a purchase, because it wasn’t convenient enough. Physically trying on multiple products is undoubtedly inconvenient and time-consuming. Even more when it comes to online shopping.
- Drawing customers in. Incorporating new technologies makes shopping fun and that’s what attracts many people.
- Virtual shopping assistant. Customers can get a more tailored experience. A virtual assistant can recommend additional products furtherly increasing the order value with little to no effort.
One good example of how you can draw the attention of customers and increase sales through an augmented reality app is what Gucci did in collaboration with Snapchat. They launched a campaign using Snapchat’s shoppable AR technology. Any user could virtually try on a pair of Gucci shoes through a dedicated filter. A “shop now” button was available for easy purchase. Not only was the ROAS positive, but the campaign also dragged media attention and was a great way of promoting the brand.
How can I implement a virtual dressing room app into my business?
AR technology is innovative, fun and practical while remaining easily accessible and intuitive. We can expect all major companies will make use of it in the near future. Now is your chance to get ahead of your competition and stand out from the crowd while simultaneously increasing your revenue. Whether you need a smart mirror for your store or a virtual fitting room for e-commerce, your priority should be choosing the right team of professionals for your project.
As we already discussed, the quality of design and software plays a monumental role in the success of AR solutions. Once you choose a company to partner with, you will need to work out a general concept, agree on the visual and technical design, wait for the program or application to be developed and decide how to properly implement it. Are you uncertain about what you need? Haven’t got a detailed concept yet? No worries, we are here to help.
4Experience offers a comprehensive customer support model – we can assist you in coming up with the ideal solution, suggest ways of implementation and develop all software from scratch. As a client, you are informed about every step of the designing and development process. We are an experienced team of problem solvers who are always proactive as well as open to suggestions and improvements. Your satisfaction with the final result is a top priority.
Still hesitant? We will be more than happy to address any concerns you may have and work together on bringing exciting new solutions to your business. Feel free to contact us by filling out the form available here.
Marketing specialist with four years of experience. Having spent part of his childhood in Ireland, he's fascinated with its culture and language. Loves history, football and any form of writing.