One downside to shopping for clothes online: there’s no fitting room. In a brick-and-mortar store, you can try on clothes and accessories in the fitting room to see how they look on your body before you buy them.
For many, Walmart may have filled the gap. The discount chain has has improved its online clothing shopping experience (opens in new tab) by launching a feature that lets you see how selected clothing items and accessories look on a virtual replica of you before you add the items to your virtual shopping cart. You can also upload a photo of yourself for the virtual dressing room.
Here’s how it works: Shoppers go to Walmart.com or the Walmart app. For select clothing brands, including Sofia jeans by Sofia Vergara (opens in new tab), a button will appear that says Try on. The buyer can choose to take a photo of themselves or choose a model. With the model option, Walmart aims to offer a selection of about 70 models with different body types that buyers can select that best suits their body type. Options range in height from 5ft 2 to 6ft, with sizes from extra small to triple extra large. The virtual models have different skin tones and hair colors.
Walmart got into AI-driven virtual clothing-trying technology last year by acquiring Zeekit, a virtual clothing-trying startup from Israel. It was merged into Walmart’s technology division. Zeekit had signed American customers including Macy’s, but Walmart’s implementation reflects a huge leap in scale — and will likely be the first place many customers can try the technology.
If you want to know how the sausage is made — or how the clothes get to your virtual self — just know it’s all in the algorithms, as Walmart Global Tech’s neural networks do the work behind the scenes and figure out which ones Products in what are included Colors and sizes are available for your selected image.
In addition to Sofia Jeans, other clothing lines and accessories available for virtual try-on – Walmart calls Be Your Own Model – Free Assembly, Scoop, ELOQUII Elements, Time and Tru, Athletic Works, Terr & Sky, No Boundaries, Avia and The Pioneer . According to Walmart, Levi’s and Hanes will also join the mix.
What’s the benefit for Walmart (and other retailers, including Amazon, who want to use the technology)? For one, it could help curb the returns rate, which the National Retail Federation has set at $761 billion for 2021. Clothing accounted for more than 12% of this, a costly endeavor for retailers who often pay for shipping and returns.
Other retailers using augmented or virtual reality as part of the shopping experience include IKEA, which allows customers to use their phones to visualize furniture in their homes using The Place app. With The Home Depot’s app, customers can use augmented reality to see in a 3D image what, for example, household appliances would look like in their home. And customers of Warby Parker glasses, Revo sunglasses and other eyewear suppliers can virtually try on glasses from anywhere to see how Warby Parker frames look on their faces.