The COVID-19 pandemic lured many consumers into online shopping and evoked the industry’s curiosity in augmented reality. In this day and age making the most out of technological advances is essential for delivering the best shopping experience for customers.
Nowadays the average person spends a large portion of their day on the internet, whether it’s making purchases, browsing social networks, or playing games. With our daily activities increasingly transferring online, fashion retailers’ opportunities to offer their products to customers expanded, not only through online stores or ads but also in more interactive ways.
What about fashion’s digitalization?
The industry is already considering implementing more emerging fashion technologies to remain up to date and show better performance. In 2019 Nike surprised everyone with a release of a digital brand-exclusive Fortnite apparel set for Epic Games users. Similarly, Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizon game attracted major fashion brands like Valentino and Marc Jacobs to create their in-game couture lines.
In the meantime, virtual influencers are conquering the social media world, gaining sky-high engagement most human influencers could only dream of. Fictional online personalities of Lil Miquela, Seraphina, and Shudu have captivated the attention of millions of followers and bombarded the digital marketing industry.
These computer-generated models have already been catching the eye of major fashion brands as it was, and the pandemic only amplified that. Plenty of world-renowned luxury fashion houses have collaborated with CGI fashion models for their online advertising campaigns, such as Chanel, Dior, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Balmain just to name a few. Notably, rather than inviting real Bella Hadid to the shoot, the fashion house Mugler chose a virtual version of her to represent the 2021 Spring collection.
Needless to say, that the pandemic has majorly enhanced the fashion industry’s interest in the digital world and, specifically, in augmented reality. However, working with CGI fashion models is only the tip of the iceberg. Going forward, the industry must give special consideration to digital technology, so that it can be utilized for optimizing the customer’s experience.
Virtual fitting solutions: augmented reality in fashion
According to the Salesforce Connected Shoppers Report, even though nowadays the vast majority of garment purchases start on the Internet, nearly a half of them still end up at brick-and-mortar stores, because the consumers feel the need to try everything on first. The new digital technology of body scanning could change this trend by providing a realistic preview of the garment, letting the shoppers see how the clothing is actually going to fit their body when it arrives.
Making online shopping more convenient for shoppers is not even the sole purpose of implementing AR technology, it would also allow fashion retailers to step up the health and safety measures during the pandemic. If shoppers could gather all the necessary information about the garments online, they wouldn’t have to go to a physical store, which would significantly reduce unnecessary contacts.
The future of online dressing rooms
The issue of poor fit not only makes return rates skyrocket, inflicting huge losses on online fashion businesses but also sends billions of pounds of clothes to landfills, causing an environmental catastrophe. This tendency urges fashion stores to resort to modern digital advances to find an effective solution.
Companies like 3DLOOK make it a goal to use the latest technological advances to introduce a mobile body scanning method, which ensures proper sizing and fitting, helps decrease the industry’s environmental impact and allows both designers and retailers to use real customer body data for their projects.
Adopting online 3D fitting technology
A further step up for fashion e-tailers would be to utilize the customer body measurements information to create so-called virtual fitting rooms. Augmented reality technology allows its users to create a preview of a garment on a person’s body or its 3D model, and gives customers an opportunity to try on the clothes from the comfort of their own home, without physically putting them on.
Employing 3D dressing room technology is quite a high-demand task. The challenges not only arise with significant expenses and the fact that it’s still a new developing technology but it also raises fears among customers about data security. While using these kinds of fitting solutions, all kinds of customer data are being collected, such as names, bank information, home address, etc. so the businesses must make it a goal to ensure safety and transparency.
Regardless of all the potential difficulties, the future of 3D virtual fitting technology is extremely promising. It is in the position to make positive changes in all areas of fashion, whether it’s providing accurate data to help designers create properly fitted clothing, helping e-commerce strive by reducing returns or minimizing environmental damage.
The challenging 2020 has given the fashion industry momentum to explore advanced technology of virtual fashion, which is hopefully going to lead to major improvements in the customer shopping experience, whether it’s online or offline.
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