The shopping experience may be mostly digital for many shoppers today, but that doesn’t mean those online shoppers should receive a lesser experience.
For online retailers, providing a great experience can be an extra challenge.
But retailers who have successfully built great customer experiences online are all leaning into one important area – technology.
Today, the online shopping experience isn’t always just a simple case of adding items to a bag and checking out. With the rise of virtual try-on options at various retailers, it can become just a little more personal.
To discuss where this technology is headed, the challenges of using it, and why different items are harder to virtually try-on than others, the CEO of WANNA, Sergey Arkhangelskiy, joined our VNTANA Live session.
To hear Sergey’s insights, either watch the full video or keep reading for some top takeaways from our discussion.
What’s next for virtual try-ons?
Virtual try-on technology isn’t exactly new, but not many brands use it for their online stores. However, virtual try-on capabilities are starting to pick up speed in some areas of retail, most notably makeup, footwear, and jewelry.
VTO allows customers to preview what the item would look like on themselves before they purchase it. This can help reduce customer returns and complaints while also providing a more fun, memorable, and interactive experience.
But what’s the next step for the industry?
Sergey believes that we’re still in the early scaling phase. VTO is currently used by makeup brands, jewelry, apparel, footwear, and adoption is steadily growing as the technology becomes more accessible.
But he also believes we’re a few years away from more advanced types of virtual try-ons, for example, with mix-and-match clothing. First, adoption needs to be more widespread, and solutions need to build on what they’ve already created.
The business case for virtual try-ons
When deploying a VTO solution, there are some key metrics that the retailer needs to measure to see if the tool is successful. But according to Sergey, the most important metric is customer opinion – which for the most part, is high when it comes to VTO.
In fact, Sergey says that the primary reason brands use VTO is simply because customers love it and get to benefit from a personalized experience of shopping online.
Shopping in person has all the benefits of seeing the physical product, trying it on, and seeing the material/color/style directly. But VTO, as limited as it may be right now, aims to replicate that experience online so that you don’t miss out.
According to Sergey’s market research, VTO also increases the likelihood of a customer purchasing something they didn’t even plan to – simply because they go to virtually try the item on. However, even if the technology doesn’t translate into greater conversions, VTO is providing an entirely new shopping experience that customers will come back for.
The top challenges of virtual try-on tech
Everyone has their own idea about how virtual try-ons should work – but not everyone has experience working with them. It means that sometimes there can be varying expectations of the technology and what it should look like.
People in marketing and sales tend to want the VTO to look as good as possible – but that doesn’t always translate to realism. So, it can be a challenge to get developers/solutions providers and marketing/sales on the same page.
However, better education can help to close that knowledge gap for people in marketing, sales, and IT teams, who may not understand the limitations and challenges of using VTO on a website.
Will VTO be able to offer fit and sizing help?
A common question around virtual try-ons is whether the technology will ever be able to offer fit and sizing help. This would help customers shop more accurately and reduce returns due to poor fit.
However, Sergey believes we’re a few years away from this becoming a reality. The logistics of creating an interactive 3D model for so many different clothes, shoes, sizes, colors, and styles would be very difficult to pull off.
Instead, a better way to offer sizing help would be to supply a recommendation based on previous purchases, Sergey suggests.
If this technology ever did come to the market, it’d be easier to offer it for something like footwear than general apparel. Apparel is a particular challenge because human bodies come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and rendering clothes accurately so that they respond to size and movement is very complex.
However, that’s not to say that we’ll never get fit and sizing help via virtual try-ons. As more brands adopt this technology to build on their customer experience, the hope is that VTO technology will grow and offer a wider range of capabilities in the future. It’s clear from our discussion with Sergey that VTO is more than just a fad – it can become a key part of the online shopping experience.
To hear more insights and predictions from Sergey, tune in to the full session today.