Virtual Clothing Try-On: How It Works, Benefits & Challenges

Consumers’ buying habits have changed as a result of online shopping. People are increasingly resorting to online retail stores for their shopping experiences. 

However, this change in customer behavior is producing a slew of issues for retailers and manufacturers alike. There are numerous fundamental challenges with online buying that businesses must overcome to remain competitive in today’s market. 

Virtual try-on technology lets customers see how clothes fit themselves or an avatar, allowing them to virtually “try on” clothing before purchasing them. This method helps avoid challenges connected with conventional e-commerce sales channels, such as fit issues and environmental and financial returns costs.

This article explores the different types of virtual clothing try on, the advantages and challenges, and which companies apply the technology to their supply chain. Keep reading to find out!

What exactly is a virtual try-on?

Virtual try-on refers to trying on digitally created garments or accessories in a virtual environment. That means that you can see how those items look on you or an avatar, allowing you to know if something is a good fit without physically trying it on. Hence, virtual try-on technology could let you try on clothing without having it shipped or even leaving your house.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why I Buy Clothes That Don’t Exist: Is Digital Fashion Worth It?

Virtual try-on for apparel combines computer vision, artificial intelligence, recommendation algorithms, augmented reality (AR), or virtual reality (VR) to provide an immersive user experience.

The AR industry will reach $198 billion by 2025, up from $3.5 billion in 2017. When combined with 3D body scanning, AR technology will enable breakthroughs to revolutionize the fashion store experience.

With evolving technology and customer needs, the future shop will seem quite different from what we are used to.

How does virtual try-on work?

Virtual garment try-ons occur in a variety of formats. In general, there are two options: trying virtual apparel at home as part of the e-commerce experience or visiting physical stores. They’re essentially the same thing because they’re both virtual techniques of dressing. Various solutions, however, may suit different needs.

Customers may try on items via the internet at home using 3D virtual fitting technology and a camera-equipped gadget. As the camera-equipped device captures the consumer, underlying AR technology overlays a realistic virtual version of the product over their real-world image to demonstrate how the object would appear on the customer’s body. If you have used Snapchat, then you know how this works.

Dressing an avatar is another alternative for virtual try-on. Customers may use the technology, like body scanners, to swiftly construct precise 3D avatars of themselves, which they can then dress in the clothing they want to purchase. The company Drapr is one of the leaders in this technology. This solution is attractive because putting virtual clothes on avatar results in more accurate fitting than using video.

In the case of stores, customers may virtually try on garments without undressing by using magic mirrors’ scattered across the store floor and within fitting rooms. The shops can provide innovative mirror technology that allows consumers to alter their outfits, colors, and patterns quickly and easily.

FXMirror is an augmented-reality fitting room technology that provides customers with convenience while also providing shops with customer data. Shoppers can virtually try on items without having to get in and out of them. Retailers may collect vital information about their consumers’ interests and purchasing habits.

The benefit of having immersive in-store experiences is that computational processing power can be higher than at home, and there may be access to more modern body scanners, resulting in a more pleasant experience.

The advantages of virtual try-on

Reducing returns

A McKinsey Returns Management Survey found that clothes on e-commerce platforms had a 25% return rate. And, with e-commerce rising by 35% in 2020, the sector’s returns are at an all-time high.

A significant percentage of online buyers confess to buying numerous versions of the same item to get the proper fit, which adds considerably to the $800 million in returns encountered by the e-commerce clothing business each year.

Customers may imagine themselves in a range of styles and sizes before purchasing using AR clothing try-on technology, which helps to minimize expensive return rates dramatically.

Improving personalization

It’s no surprise that consumers may not only address issues about size, fit, and appearance, but they also have the opportunity to explore choices, make adjustments, and try on a broader selection of items in less time, resulting in better conversion and spending.

Firms may provide more personalization possibilities with virtual try-on, which directly influences sales and profitability. Customers may use AR to view many personalization choices to design goods that reflect their personality and flair.

Customers interested in customized items are prepared to pay a premium. Hence, virtual try-on technology provides a chance for companies to enhance their income.

No-contact try on

It’s expected that some people feel uneasy putting on apparel in changing rooms after the COVID-19 outbreak. Even when things return to normal, customers may still want completely redesigned experiences, since once modified, behaviors will not be the same as before.

The challenges of virtual try-on

Customers can’t touch the items.

Fashion is, primarily, a physical experience. According to a survey, 82% of internet customers prefer to see and touch things before purchasing. Using virtual fitting rooms allows consumers to preview how an item will appear on their body, but they can’t experience the material.

Poorly executed experiences

Creating an outstanding virtual experience can be a very challenging task. A poorly executed try-on may discourage a buyer rather than assist them in making a purchasing choice. Therefore, fashion brands attempting to use these new channels must invest in the know-how, expertise, and experience design, which can be a significant investment.

Brands experimenting with virtual try-on

There is no doubt that fashion businesses have invested extensively in embracing AR technology, and to do so, they have partnered with IT behemoths who specialize in it. Snapchat is one of these tech companies that want to differentiate itself with AR technologies that act as a portal for virtual try-ons.

Snapchat users may now try on clothing, glasses, purses, and jewelry virtually with enhanced technology that recognizes and reacts to body motions and face measurements.

Other new features include voice- and gesture-controlled filters (dubbed Lenses by Snap), brand shop and product catalog integrations, virtual storefronts, and the ability for users to search for and purchase photographs or products seen in real life. Farfetch, Prada, and Piaget are among the first to use the new technologies.

Snap is introducing additional virtual try-on and AR buying capabilities a year after it initially experimented with augmented reality shoe try-on as it rushes to entice fashion and beauty firms selling online away from Instagram and Facebook.

Prada is also experimenting with hands-free try-ons with a new gadget that identifies hand motions. People may put down their phones, take a step back, and use a “swiping” hand motion to adjust the colors to see how different Prada bags might appear on them. 

RELATED ARTICLE: What Is Fashion Technology? The Innovation That Shapes The Future Of Fashion

Meanwhile, Piaget is capitalizing on the new capacity for users to try on bracelets and watches, expanding on Snapchat’s current technologies that recognize the face for cosmetics and eyeglasses try-on and the feet for shoe try-on.

Other platforms are also joining the game to enable more and more brands to implement AR as smoothly as possible. E-commerce software systems like Shopify and Woocommerce, for example, have made it simple for new-age firms to use the technology by providing a virtual AR plugin.

On the other hand, some big names in the fashion industry have opted for having the technology in-house. They are doing so by acquiring companies that have been building a particular technology for a few years now.

A great example of the above is Gap. As part of the retailer’s ongoing effort to reinvent itself for the era of online, the apparel company is acquiring Drapr. This platform enables customers to instantly construct 3D models of their bodies to try things on.

Walmart purchased virtual fitting room platform Zeekit, and stores like Macy’s, Nike, and Men’s Wearhouse collaborated with or created their fit room technology. For example, Nike Fit, a scanning app, employs algorithms to determine the best fit by gauging the form of a user’s foot.

Final thoughts

The future of AR and VR technology is bright, but how well it will be accepted remains a question. Some individuals may find this new technology to be nothing more than a fad. The fashion industry will likely spend extensively on these technologies to provide customers with an immersive buying experience as they demand more personalized shopping experiences. 

Have you experimented with cutting-edge technology like AR or VR yet? Get in touch and let us know how it went!