Try clothes online at virtual trial rooms

Try clothes online at virtual trial rooms

In an attempt to bring online shopping a step closer to consumers, e-retailers are taking the virtual trial room route to add customers and credibility alike.

Customers of e-commerce ventures have always found it difficult to understand how buying online can be better when one can easily try out before buying, at a brick-and-mortar store. To get a step closer, some websites had begun giving trials to their customers at home. However, the latest entrant – virtual trial rooms – is increasingly becoming popular.

Last week, fashion retailer Myntra announced the acquisition of San Francisco-based FITIQUETTE, a technology solution which is a one of a kind virtual fitting room. Though the deal terms were not announced, Myntra said that the deal was part cash and part equity.

Myntra believes that the acquisition will strengthen and expand their technology platform and drive transformational change in the online shopping space in India. The company already has 'Style Studio' as a virtual app and this acquisition would add on to that.

Talking to Deccan Herald, Myntra Co-founder and Head (Sales & Marketing) Ashutosh Lawania said, “ Our primary challenge is how to provide an experience where the customer can get to know how a size fits and how it looks on him. After the introduction of virtual trials, we saw 10-15 per cent uptake in convergence ”

The virtual trial rooms run on a technology that allows users to virtually try out clothes, jewellery, eye gear either through a web camera or through pre-modelled mannequins. Whereas some retailers use live video to sync how the customer would look in 3D, others just overlap the product image on the customer with lesser details.

Another online  store, HomeShop18, will soon launch a virtual trial room and is in the process of developing it on its website and mobile apps in association with a company. “There is a need to ensure that their online shopping experience is on par with offline buying of apparels. So, a virtual trial room is an inevitable option. This will help our users in understanding the fit, design and colour of the product better and how it would look on them,” HomeShop18 Founder and CEO Sundeep Malhotra said.

Malhotra added that their internal research has shown that the most common reason for apparel orders getting cancelled is the apprehension of whether the colour and fitting would physically suit the customer or not.

E-commerce investor with Inventus Capital Partners, Rutvik Doshi said, “The fit of a garment online is one of the biggest challenge and that is where virtual fitting rooms can help us.”

Doshi explained that though it cannot be said that the concept brings online retail closer to offline stores; however, it will certainly bridge the gap between the two. However, he added that the technology is in its nascent stage and needs to be developed further.
Last year GKB Opticals Group launched 'Virtual Try-On' application through which one can find out what glasses fit one’s  face profile.

Online fashion store Zovi also has 'Zovi Eye' which offers virtual trials through an interactive web camera application. However, 20 per cent on select categories is available through Zovi Eye.

Virtual trial room along with live chat gives that extra confidence to the customer who wants to put a face against the seller and they have witnessed 20-25 per cent increase in revenues in categories where Zovi eye is available, the company said in an email response.

“However, to make an impact with Indian users, the current applications need to evolve much more. Usually these trial rooms are for a limited set of products and usually work separately from the main checkout process,” the CEO of Ginesys, provider of retail ERP solutions, Prashant Lohia said.

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