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Walmart Brings Virtual Try-On Experience To Online Shopping For Women’s Apparel

Walmart
WMT
wants to give customers an extra bit of confidence when shopping for apparel. It’s launching a virtual try-on function where consumers can see how clothes look on their own bodies, called Be Your Own Model. “This also creates the gamefication of shopping, which I don’t think has ever existed before, where you see yourself over and over and over again in these different outfits, and it’s actually quite sticky,” said Denise Incandela, executive vice president of apparel and private brands for Walmart U.S.

The retailer in the spring launched Choose My Model, where consumers could choose to try clothes on one of 50 models. The technology was so popular, consumers kept asking for more and more models and Walmart complied. There are now over 120 models.

“People were ultimately looking for a model that looked like themselves, which is why we’re so excited to launch Be Your Own Model and to give customers the option of choosing a model that looks like them or be the model,” Incandela said.

The feature is now available on more than 270,000 items across Walmart’s portfolio of exclusive elevated brands and private brands such as Free Assembly, Scoop, Sofia Jeans and Sofia Active by Sofia Vergara, Love & Sports, ELOQUII Elements, Time & Tru, Athletic Works, Terra & Sky, No Boundaries, Avia and The Pioneer Woman. Select items from some of the company’s national brands such as Champion, Levi’s and Hanes, and even some items on the Walmart Marketplace, are also part of the new experience.

Incandela said the portfolio of participating brands will continue to grow with new items added every month. “My guess is that this is the beginning of a new way of shopping online,” she added. “This is our technology. We bought the company and our Walmart team has spent a year building the machine learning and the algorithms and mapping technology, because it’s not just two flat images on top of each other. It’s leveraging mapping and topography technology so that it actually gives you a better impression of how the fabric would lie on the body. That is truly exclusive to us.”

The goal is to ultimately expand beyond women’s apparel to men’s and kids and accessories. “We’re starting with women’s apparel, but of course, the game plan is to go beyond women’s apparel from a category point of view,” Incandela said. “This is a potential unlock for the future of shopping online where it feels much more personal and relevant than it has been in the past.”

Walmart’s acquisition of Zeekit, a virtual try-on platform is fueling the strategy. Consumers take a full-length photo of themselves and upload it to the Walmart app. “The photo stays in your profile, so you don’t have to constantly upload a new photo every time you use it, unless you want to,” Incandela said. “You take it with your phone. We’re starting with iOS, and then you use it either on the app on your phone or desktop, once the image is in the site.”

The goal of Be Your Own Model is to increase conversion and reduce return rates. “A customer might have said, ‘I’m not sure if this skirt is going to fall above the knee or below the knee’ based on her height,’” Incandela said. Be Your Own Model solves the guess work of how apparel bought online will look.

“I think this will appeal to all ages, but you can really envision a younger customer getting excited and engaged,” said Incandela. “When you think about social media and how much people love to see themselves, this takes it to the next level.”