Will virtual fitting room tech help Walmart achieve its fashion ambitions?
Walmart has been on a multiyear journey to up its fashion cred and the latest milestone is last week’s announcement that it is acquiring Zeekit, a virtual fitting room technology firm.
Denise Incandela, EVP of apparel and private brands, who is leading the effort for Walmart’s U.S. business, said the acquisition was an important step as more consumers shop for clothing online and “not only want variety in styles, but also an inspiring and personalized digital experience that makes shopping for apparel easy, fun and social.”
Ms. Incandela, writing on a company blog, called the virtual try-on technology “a game-changer” that addresses one of the biggest challenges when it comes to selling clothes online. The tech will not only provide Walmart’s customers with a sense of how well an item will fit but how it “will actually look” on them.
The technology opens up an opportunity for Walmart to “deliver an inclusive, immersive and personalized experience for our diverse customer base,” she writes.
The virtual fitting room technology is expected to help Walmart grow sales of national brands such as Champion, Free People and Levi’s Strauss, as well as its growing lineup of owned labels, which now include ELOQUII Elements, Free Assembly, George, Scoop, Sofia Jeans by Sofia Vergara, Terry & Sky, Time and Tru, and Wonder Nation. The retailer also has a growing partnership with thredUP to sell second-hand clothing.
Shoppers on Walmart.com will have a choice of uploading a personal photo or choosing from model avatars that approximate their height, shape and skin tone to evaluate how a piece of clothing will look on them. The idea is to come as close as possible to replicating the experience that customers find when trying on clothes at in-store fitting rooms or at home.
The technology also enables shoppers to share their virtual outfits with others to get additional opinions before they make a purchase.
Ms. Incandela writes that Walmart was attracted to Zeekit as a result of its track record working with top clothing brands and retailers.
“Given its scalability,” Ms. Incandela wrote, “we believe Zeekit’s technology can also be used to create other fashion experiences, including the ability to build the world’s largest virtual closet and mix and match clothing seamlessly. These exciting technologies add a social element to the digital experience, allowing our customers to bring their unique personalities and preferences to shopping.”
- Walmart Announces Plans to Acquire Zeekit, a Leading Virtual Fitting Room Platform, to Enable Enhanced and Social Shopping Experience for Customer – Walmart
- Will hiring a celebrity designer turn Walmart into a fashion destination, à la Target? – RetailWire
- Will Walmart’s new private clothing line have ‘staying power’? – RetailWire
- Is Walmart about to become the king of online resale retailing? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will the addition of virtual try-on technology mean for Walmart’s clothing business? What do you think Denise Incandela is envisioning when she talks about “other fashion experiences” that will be created by the technology?