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Virtual Fitting Rooms: The Next Big Thing In Ecommerce For Small Businesses

A Shopify ecommerce store showcasing a dynamic collection of DTC fashion items in front of a mirror.

Every now and then, technology comes along to revolutionize the way business is done. For example, consider what call center VoIP solutions did for the omnichannel customer experience. 

Now, new tech is shaking up the world of eCommerce. We’re talking about virtual fitting rooms.

Image sourced from insideretail.asia

The popularity of virtual try-on solutions has boomed over the last few years, and predictions suggest it will continue to rise. 

Although certainly boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic, this growth is primarily due to the fact that virtual fitting rooms solve an age-old issue: they allow customers to enjoy the comfort and convenience of online shopping without the fear of their clothes not fitting.

As well as providing your customers with an easy and intuitive customer experience, virtual fitting rooms can boost sales, reduce return rates (and therefore delivery costs), and help create an omnichannel customer experience. 

In this blog, we’ll run through: 

  • What virtual fitting rooms are 
  • Who should consider investing in them 
  • Why they're beneficial

What is a Virtual Fitting Room?

A virtual fitting room is a type of technology that allows customers to see how clothes, apparel, or make-up might look on them before purchasing from an online retailer.  

Using a combination of video, images, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality, they impose visualizations of a product over a 3D model or image of the customer. They are, essentially, the virtual equivalent of an in-store dressing room. 

Virtual fitting rooms are now widely available and in use by a growing number of major online retailers. The use of an integrated QR Code in e-commerce can further enhance the shopping experience by providing quick access to virtual fitting rooms, product information, or even discounts.

Why Are Virtual Fitting Rooms Significant in eCommerce?

We all know the importance of keeping up to date with consumer trends, and in 2023, the popularity of virtual fitting rooms in eCommerce is on the rise. There's a good reason why.

eCommerce is an ever-growing market, yet people still favor in-store shopping within the fashion and beauty industries. This is for one simple reason: in-person shopping allows them to try things on.

Image sourced from  tidio.com

With virtual fitting rooms, this is no longer such an issue. Customers can try clothes on without ever even touching them. Not only does this improve customer experience, but there are several ways it can streamline business for online shops (we’ll get into those later). 

It’s small businesses that stand to benefit the most from virtual fitting rooms. Fashion and beauty businesses that are just starting out and can’t afford brick-and-mortar stores have long been at a distinct disadvantage compared to larger chains and their high-street outlets. 

Virtual fitting rooms level the playing field and allow smaller online businesses, even those operating exclusively via eCommerce, to compete more fairly with better-known brands. 

B2B ecommerce software can also benefit from virtual fitting rooms, as they provide a more efficient way for retailers to sell to other businesses without needing in-person meetings or samples.

With great eCommerce website development and virtual fitting rooms, they’re far less disadvantaged than previously. 

How Do Virtual Fitting Rooms Work?

With any new technology that appears, different variants tend to flood the market. Just as there are now countless video call alternatives to Zoom, each with its own specialized niche, the market for virtual fitting rooms is becoming equally complex. 

There are a variety of visual try-on solutions available, each working slightly differently and each with its benefits and shortcomings. At current, the main types of virtual fitting rooms you’ll find are: 

  • Customizable 3D models. Some of these virtual fitting rooms simply offer customers a selection of human models in various shapes and sizes. In contrast, others generate a personalized 3D model based on measurements (weight, height, waist size, etc.) entered by the customer.

    As a rule, these are the most widely accessible virtual fitting rooms. They’re quick and easy to use and allow customers a rough idea of how clothes will look on them. However, they don’t produce an exact replica of the customer's body, so they aren’t as precise as other options.
  • Mobile fitting rooms. This solution renders a 2D representation of clothing over the top of a video of the customer in real time. Essentially, this works much like a Snapchat filter.

    While mobile fitting rooms may require users to download software or apps, they’re fun, and interactive. They can be combined with virtual photo booths for an easily accessible source of user-generated content.

    However, they do lack one of the main benefits of virtual fitting room technology: actually reflecting how the garment will fit.
  • Augmented reality. A more advanced version of mobile device virtual fitting rooms is augmented reality. This solution generates photo-realistic visualizations mapped onto unique 3D avatars produced from multiple measurement points. As well as working on mobile devices, this software can be used with smart mirrors.

    This advanced technology tends to be more expensive, and the time-consuming avatar creation process can deter the more casual shopper. Nevertheless, these are the most proficient form of virtual fitting rooms out there, providing a reliable and realistic fitting experience.

Who Should Consider Investing in Virtual Fitting Rooms?

In case we weren’t clear before, small businesses should! If a business doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar store, virtual fitting rooms are the best way to offer customers the chance to try clothes on.

That said, virtual fitting rooms can be advantageous for high-street shops, too, and represent a practical step toward establishing an omnichannel retail experience. They can also streamline in-store operations and are a great draw to get people in the door.

How to Make the Most of Virtual Fitting Rooms

As we said, virtual fitting rooms are increasingly popular, and it's expected that most major eCommerce retailers will be using them in the near future. So, the best advice we can offer is to get ahead of the curve and start investigating them now.

That being said, you want to ensure you're making the most of their benefits. Here are a few tips to help you do that.

Use deep data analysis

Virtual fitting rooms are a great way for eCommerce retailers to collect information from their customers. They can be used to gather reams of data about their body types, measurements, and behavior. This can then be used to keep track of distribution needs, create more targeted marketing campaigns, and tailor new products to customers’ preferences.

So, ensure you track and utilize all the data your virtual fitting rooms provide.

Create an omnichannel experience

Yes, virtual fitting rooms are great for eCommerce, but if your business operates through multiple channels, there’s another use for them too. 

Using the online experience to enhance in-store shopping has been around for a while. BOPIS services, in-store mobile searches, and visual navigation aids are nothing new. 

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