Making a bigger push into selling fashion online in the never-ending struggle with Amazon, Walmart said it is acquiring Israeli virtual dressing room provider Zeekit for an undisclosed sum.
The owner of acquired fashion brands Eloquii, Moosejaw and Bonobos, as well as its own lines like Athletic Works, George and Free Assembly, Walmart is looking to make the online clothing shopping experience more fun, while also cutting down on returns.
It’s a huge problem in ecommerce apparel, ranging up to 40% or more of purchases in some categories, especially as shoppers “bracket” by ordering multiple items and keeping one.
“Virtual try-on is a game-changer and solves what has historically been one of the most difficult things to replicate online: Understanding fit and how an item will actually look on you,” said Denise Incandela, EVP of Apparel and Private Brands, Walmart U.S. in a blog post. “Zeekit will help us deliver an inclusive, immersive and personalized experience for our diverse customer base.”
Shoppers can upload their picture, or choose from a series of models best representing their height, shape and skin tone, and see themselves in any item of clothing they want to try on. Real-time image processing maps a shopper’s image into thousands of segments. A clothing item is similarly processed, and the equivalent points are mapped into a final simulation.
“Given its scalability, 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,” Incandela said.
In recent years a number of virtual try-on solutions have emerged to help address the issue of matching style, fit, size and color in online fashion, and the returns dilemma. Companies like Fit Analytics, MySizeID and 3DLOOK use different aspects of digital images, data capture and analysis to replicate the changing room and give shoppers a better idea of what works. Fit:Match actually works in physical retail, taking a body scan and recommending products for purchase from different retails in a mall.