Will upgraded virtual try-on tech get more Walmart shoppers to say yes to the dress?

Discussion
Source: Walmart
Sep 15, 2022

Walmart says it is leveling up its virtual try-on technology in an effort to put its customers in clothing that fits their bodies right off the rack.

The retailer earlier this year launched “Choose My Model,” which enabled shoppers to see how particular pieces of clothing looked on models that resembled them from body size, shape and skin and hair color perspectives. It represented a significant technological step forward for Walmart but was acknowledged to be only the first step in the retailer’s plan to serve its fashion customers.

The upgraded technology, “Be Your Own Model,” according to  Denise Incandela, EVP of apparel and private brands, Walmart U.S., “allows customers to use their own photo to better visualize how clothing will look on them, and creates a gamification of shopping that we believe will be very compelling to the customer. Walmart is the first to offer a virtual try-on experience for apparel brands at scale, and it’s the most realistic application I have seen.”

The retailer said that shoppers will be able to use the try-on tech on more than 270,000 pieces of clothing it sells, including its private labels: 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. National brands such as Champion and Levi’s will also be part of the experience.

Ms. Incandela on a company blog said that shoppers will now have the option of using their own photos or sticking with a model that is similar. The technology uses a scan of the shopper’s body to provide a better sense of how a piece of clothing will look in the real world without ever having to go to one of the chain’s stores.

The app is designed to be easy to use. A “Try It On” button will be positioned by items enabled for virtual try-on. Those shoppers choosing “Be Your Own Model” will be prompted to take a photo of themselves within the Walmart iOS app, which will be saved for later use.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Walmart’s upgraded try-on technology inspire shoppers to purchase more clothing? How big an impact do you expect it to have on product returns?

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Braintrust
"This is an exciting idea, which will undoubtedly give people more comfort with online shopping."
"Yes, Walmart’s upgraded try-on tech that personalizes digital shopping for fashion customers should bump up sales."
"This will help to drive more attention and engagement to shopping apparel products on Walmart."

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18 Comments on "Will upgraded virtual try-on tech get more Walmart shoppers to say yes to the dress?"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

This is useful technology that makes visualizing clothing easier. It will likely stimulate some purchases. However it does not replace the necessity of having great product which is an area where Walmart has quite a lot more work to do in apparel. Nor does it solve all problems of garments that do not fit or which have inconsistent sizing – which is a big driver of returns. So, this is a great addition but only part of the jigsaw puzzle for Walmart as it looks to increase its share of the apparel market.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust
Richard Hernandez
Director of Commerce
19 days 6 hours ago

They are late to the game in regards to this technology when retailers like Warby Parker, etc., have been using for years. I believe Amazon now has a full length mirror in their test clothing store to do the same thing. If it is too cumbersome, I don’t see the acceptance coming quickly.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Why is Walmart different in this case from any other retailer that sells apparel? The technology has to help, even if with a small but naturally growing number of consumers.

Dion Kenney
BrainTrust
19 days 6 hours ago

Walmart has the luxury of trying new technologies and new applications of technologies to create competitive advantage and value for the customer. This is an exciting idea, which will undoubtedly give people more comfort with online shopping. It is also likely to encourage people to go to the Walmart online environment to “play” with the app. It certainly appears to have more utility and value than Snapchat puppy-face filters.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

Returns are the profitability killer in e-commerce sales. With clothing returns hovering at 30 percent or more we need to do something and Walmart has a great idea. This virtual try-on goes beyond suggesting the correct size to match your height and weight. Utilizing AI, virtual try-on helps customers come as close as possible to choosing the correct size. Unparalleled in online shopping. If Walmart can apply this tech to all of their apparel SKUs, expect an increase in sales and reduction in returns.

Lucille DeHart
BrainTrust

3-D and virtual customer engagement is the future of retail, but is still in a low engagement phase. I don’t believe it will encourage more purchasing, however if the technology accurately reflects fit, it could minimize return rates and help with profit.

Tara Kirkpatrick
BrainTrust

This will help to drive more attention and engagement to shopping apparel products on Walmart. That’s a strong first step into more sales, which would then attract better brands.

Heidi Sax
BrainTrust

It does seem that this is an improvement on pre-existing similar tech. That said, unknowns will determine what impact this has on purchases and returns. How many products have the “try it on” button? How well does the tech work – is it accurate? How likely are customers to be their own model and what influence does that have on results? How do shoppers buy Walmart clothes? Are they an impulse purchase? Or is there a long consideration phase? What impact does fabrication have on their decision to return or not? What’s their general basket size and how does that impact how much they use the tech? Certainly Walmart has considered all of the above and it will be interesting to watch what happens here.

Karen S. Herman
BrainTrust

Yes, Walmart’s upgraded try-on tech that personalizes digital shopping for fashion customers should bump up sales. “Be Your Own Model” personalizes discovery of new and innovative brands, has gamification features that offer a fun digital experience for the shopper and appears easy to use. For anyone who has been in a department store fitting room recently, the alternative of a virtual try-on experience is a very attractive choice.

Dave Wendland
BrainTrust

Although they’re not the first to the party, I think Walmart could accelerate adoption of this technology and improve the overall apparel shopping experience.

David Spear
BrainTrust

Virtualized apparel fitting will help tamp down returns, but I’m not sure it will drive significant leaps in sales. Sure, consumers may like the technology, but keys to fashion are look, feel, uniqueness and affordability. Walmart certainly has the affordability nailed, but just because someone can look at themselves or a similar model on their app doesn’t automatically translate into a register ring.

Scott Norris
Guest

Nothing virtual can substitute for the “moment of truth” when the shopper tries on the shipped-from-stock garment. No matter how realistic the photo, it will never convey if the pants are a bit too tight at a critical seam, or if the shoe has just a little too much gap at the heel. Until we can get to full-body scan measurements and tailor-to-order manufacturing, there will always be a baseline level of returns.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

When we last discussed Walmart and this technology, I commented that it would be the future of apparel retail.

The next iteration of what Walmart has now introduced further convinces me. There is no question that this technology will be a driving force in apparel shopping. It will be totally perfected, and then the only question is how long until the shopper embraces it.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

Walmart may not be the first to bring consumers’ virtual try-on technology based on their personal sizing, but this upgrade does bring added legitimacy to the technology. When Walmart puts tech like this in front of their customers, it’s a sign to other apparel retailers that they need to up their game if they want to stay current in the minds of consumers. That said, if Walmart wants to increase apparel market share, this isn’t going to move the needle with their customer base and suddenly cause them to buy more apparel via e-commerce. It may, however, have a positive impact on reducing return rates which will certainly impact the category’s profitability for Walmart. The industry as a whole needs to do more to address the fit issues that drive such a massive proportion of return waste, and Walmart adopting this technology is a move in the right direction to address that.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

I applaud the effort, and think this upgrade is intriguing, but I still don’t think this will move the needle all that much. When it come to apparel, nothing beats the real thing. Heck, I rarely even trust how I see myself in a fitting room mirror, let alone a virtual version of myself on a small screen!

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

For many apparel pieces, it will help the customer become more open to trying out new stuff. It doesn’t mean replacement or an online drive. It may have an impact on returns, but we’ll need to see adoption levels first. The neat thing is moving away from the generic model that doesn’t have any relationship to the average customer’s experience, environment or shape and size. Shoppers are moving away from the inspirational apparel that they’ll never wear to realistic apparel that makes them look good.

Patrick Jacobs
BrainTrust

The try-on feature is a great add to Walmart’s innovative approach to online shopping, other retailers are using this technology and I see the impact in an emerging position for customer adoption. The virtual technology should inspire some, and may contribute to the decline of returns. The experience will enable shoppers to understand every part of the items they are thinking of purchasing, closing the conversion gap.

Roland Gossage
BrainTrust
15 days 44 minutes ago

In today’s digital-first era, investing in technology focused on creating a more personalized customer experience can give retailers a competitive edge. Enhancing the purchase experience for consumers to see how a clothing item looks on them prior to purchase can improve customer loyalty, reduce returns and increase revenue.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"This is an exciting idea, which will undoubtedly give people more comfort with online shopping."
"Yes, Walmart’s upgraded try-on tech that personalizes digital shopping for fashion customers should bump up sales."
"This will help to drive more attention and engagement to shopping apparel products on Walmart."

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