Can augmented reality solve the virtual dressing room problem?
Capitalizing on advances in augmented reality (AR), Gap is piloting an app that lets consumers see how outfits might look on their bodies.
Shoppers select one of five body types and start trying on clothes.
“When seen through the app, the mannequin looks like it is standing in the same room as the shopper, blending a view of the real world with digital enhancements, à la Pokemon Go,” writes Women’s Wear Daily. “The shopper can ‘walk around’ the mannequin and add in an additional mannequin to compare two images.”
In a blog entry, Gap said the app builds on its efforts to better match the way customers are shaped instead of just looking at “fit model” sizes. Made in collaboration with Google and app-developer Avametric, the DressingRoom by Gap app focuses on how fabric stretch, drape and feel affect the sensation of fit.
Gap is the first major retailer to test a virtual dressing room app.
Hyped for about a decade, virtual dressing rooms promise to significantly improve conversion rates for apparel online, a channel that pales in comparison to the conversion rates physical stores see in their dressing rooms. Improving fit accuracy would also significantly reduce the high rate and cost of online returns for retailers.
The DressingRoom by Gap also promises to complement or advance existing online tools that let users input their height, weight and fit preference to improve sizing accuracy.
Yet the app shows the limitations of virtual dressing rooms. Instead of real-life images via virtual reality (VR), it shows a mannequin with a similar-body type using AR. Speaking to Engadget, Avametric CEO Ari Bloom said VR still faces “immediate barriers” while the success of Pokémon Go shows AR is more proven.
3D-body scanning has also been hyped as a way to achieve a more-accurate fit than in-store dressing rooms. Speaking to MarketWatch, Gil Krakowsky, VP of global strategy and business development at Gap, said body scanning would require retailers to keep the user’s measurement data. He added, “I’m not sure all customers want that.”
- Gap Tests New Virtual Dressing Room – Gap
- Gap wants your phone to help you decide if your bottom looks big in that dress – MarketWatch
- Gap’s Approach to Its Augmented Reality App: Wait and See – Women’s Wear Daily
- When Will AR Replace the Fitting Room? – Mashable
- Could 3D body scanning mean never entering another dressing room again? – Quartz
- Gap envisions a future with augmented-reality ‘dressing rooms’ – Engadget
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of the AR-enabled DressingRoom app by Gap? Will VR-enabled real-life images or body scanning be necessary to take the virtual dressing room experience to the next level?