Growth of the global fashion industry is expected to slow further to 3-4%, McKinsey Global Fashion Index
The virtual trial started as a marketing strategy by cosmetics brands that have incorporated mirror and color trial functionality into their apps.
Virtual trial technology not only provides a good experience to try before you buy virtually, but also solves the mounting problem
The prepandemic shopaholic pastime of seeking out new looks using a variety of clothing, jewelry, eyewear, cosmetics, and accessories has given way to an advanced and more socially distant ritual: trying on clothes and other products through the webcam on a digital mirror phone.
The pandemic is transforming the way people shop. Although stores have reopened, they have reoriented themselves to avoid interactions: product testers have been tidied up and fitting rooms are taped in many places. People would love to try things virtually, whether in stores or online.
According to the McKinsey Global Fashion Index (MGFI) 2020, growth of the global fashion industry is expected to slow further to 3-4%. The pandemic has also put the fashion retail industry under extreme pressure to innovate through their interaction with consumers and also product lines.
Retailers are now taking a digital-centric approach and taking full advantage of new technologies to successfully meet the challenge. And brands have found a new way to continue what is known to be an integral part of the shopping experience – letting customers try the product virtually. All of these fashion products are cosmetics, shoes, clothes, glasses, or even a new hairstyle can be tried on at home on a smartphone or laptop. For the store, there are smart digital mirrors.
Major fashion brands are widely using this virtual testing technology to continue their businesses in these uncertain times.
The power of VTO
Big fashion retailers have been dabbling in tech for years, quietly testing apps designed to replicate or enhance the in-store shopping experience. These apps are on the rise – viewing furniture in your home with brands like IKEA or virtually trying on luxury fashion shoe brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
These efforts have escalated after the coronavirus outbreak led to the closure of hundreds of thousands of stores. From now on, fashion brands subscribe to virtual trial in different ways to drive engagement, increase sales, and fight returns. Once a feature rarely found among luxury brands, VTO has quickly become an important technology for all retailers.
Why does VTO popularize it so much?
Of course, the pandemic is one reason, but it is not the only one. While the pandemic has given a boost to the adoption of VTO, it is not what initiated the adoption of technological advancements by fashion retailers. Let’s see why so much is happening now?
Rising consumer expectations
The virtual trial began as a marketing strategy for cosmetics brands that were incorporating mirror and color try-on functionality into their apps. The idea became popular as consumers were able to try out different shades, match them with their skin tone and dresses before purchasing. Additionally, today’s consumers, especially millennials, are used to using different face filters on their favorite social media apps.
Inspired by this trend, fashion brands began to take advantage of virtual testing and extended it to other areas such as clothing, eyewear, jewelry or other accessories and have managed to speed up their recovery process amid the pandemic. Consumers also love how they can try on clothes and accessories from the comfort of their home or have a touchless experience in stores.
Technology has grown
Another reason is the fact that the technology has evolved to the expected mark. With the advent of ARKit and ARCore from Apple and Google on their phone platforms, it is now more efficient, affordable, smarter and more realistic. A few years ago, the augmented reality and artificial intelligence needed to provide realistic mapping of the human body did not exist and although they did exist, they were not affordable.
Another area is being able to measure the edit, which is the main reason for the returns. In the old days, returns were a bigger issue only online because customers didn’t understand fitment. After the pandemic, this also became a big deal in stores.
Virtual trial technology not only provides a good experience to try before you buy virtually, but also solves the mounting problem. In addition, by integrating business logic, depending on the size, weight, body and face contour, skin color and texture of customers, even style advice can be provided while doing everything shopping independently
Virtual trial as a marketing tool
Brands are not only using virtual fitting to increase sales, but are looking to leverage the creation of brand engagement, by creating a position statement in the minds of customers for their service as a brand. . Now, the virtual fitting goes beyond not only a sales tool, but also a marketing and conviction tool for other purposes. With these use cases, the adoption of VTOs for various categories was increasing day by day.
With rapidly growing adoption by brands around the world, virtual fitting technology is experiencing a moment in fashion retail this year and will become a hygiene factor in the next 2-3 years. The brands that succeed will be the ones that take the first step. Virtual try-on is like a light in the dark right now for all the fashion brands that are not only transforming the shopping experience but removing the fear of a pandemic from customers to try on their pair of glasses, shoes , watch, favorite jewelry, jeans or a t-shirt.
As technology evolves, virtual testing will evolve to an extent that one cannot imagine how we would shop in the future. Have you ever tried on your favorite fashion accessory or item of clothing virtually?
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