Returns are a major part of every e-commerce business. However, high return rates can keep even the biggest retail business owners awake at night, costing them a lot of money and time. Thankfully, there might be a solution that would help mitigate this challenge.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average return rate in 2021 reached as much as 16.5%, which equals more than $816 billion worth of retail merchandise. As online sales are destined to grow, reaching even 24% of all retail sales by 2026, it is crucial to tackle this problem.
In light of this, our R&D team has been developing a virtual try-on solution for the past few weeks. Its main goal was to allow customers to visualize how products look on them before making a purchase, reducing the likelihood of returns at the same time.
Introducing: the Virtual Dressing Room concept.
Addressing the user’s need with the right technology
From the user's point of view, one of the greatest challenges of the online shopping experience is the lack of a virtual dressing room. Shoppers cannot try on the clothes before the purchase, meaning they can't see how well certain styles will fit their specific body type. Moreover, they cannot see how different pieces of clothing will fit together and whether they would make a good outfit when worn together.
Here's where virtual try-onscome in handy.
Virtual try-ons are an amazing way to enhance the customer experience in online retail. However, most virtual try-ons are still experiencing some weaknesses, including limited try-on options, problems with accurate visualization, inconsistency in product availability, and other usability issues. That's when we decided it was time to research a different approach to trying on items, and that's how we came up with the Virtual Dressing Room concept. – Radosław Szeja, Retail Consulting Director at Netguru.
Our team has spent the last few weeks developing a brand-new approach to virtual try-ons. We focused on solving the problem inside out – starting from discovering the needs of end-users and businesses, creating the user flow, defining the user experience (UX), and checking technological feasibility.
Netguru's Virtual Dressing Room concept connects user and e-commerce business needs with AI
Our Virtual Dressing Room concept allows users to visualize how clothes fit, measure, and combine different pieces together, almost like they would in a physical dressing room.
All it takes for the user to start their dressing room experience online is to choose their height, weight, specific body type, and upload a photo of their face.
Before developing the Virtual Dressing Room project, we had numerous discussions with some retail market leaders who shared their need to reduce return rates while increasing conversions. We aimed to create a project that would best address their business goals. – Michał Szehidewicz, Senior Retail Consultant at Netguru.
We designed the user path of the virtual try-on toolto allow users to see how clothes would look on their specific body type, learn how different pieces of clothing fit together, and share their look on social media.
An answer to real user need
The Virtual Dressing Room project combines the physical dressing experience with the online world, creating a user-serving hybrid of what's best in both worlds. While beneficial to retailers, it also offers numerous advantages to customers, including:
- Increasing purchasing confidence: "Will I look good in that dress?" "Will these pants make me look taller?" Thanks to the VDR project, these and more questions can be answered right in the e-commerce experience. Being able to see how an outfit looks on a specific body type leads to more informed and confident shopping.
- Visualizing how different pieces look together. The ability to see how various pieces of clothing and complete styles look on one's silhouette without having to leave the comfort of one's home is a game-changer. No more buying clothes piece by piece in separate batches or returning half of the order due to a misfit.
- Adding the element of fun and personalization to the online shopping experience. The ability to upload one's photo, instead of simply choosing the size, raises the stakes. This type of personalization adds more reality to the experience and makes the process much more enjoyable. Sharing the chosen outfit is an added bonus. After all, who has never texted their friends for advice from the dressing room? :)
And the winner is… fashion e-commerce
We created the Virtual Dressing Room concept with fashion e-commerce in mind. For years now, retailers have been searching for a better way to address the sizing and fitting issue in online shopping.
Most of them operate using size charts. Some introduce more complex sizing solutions, which include adding weight, height, or the ability to choose the most accurate sizes from different brands as a reference.
Our Virtual Dressing Room concept tool is a leap forward from these. Apart from learning your size, you can also visualize how the outfit would look on your specific body type using AI.
The solution will work great for leading retailers such as H&M but could also be adapted for other types of fashion-related businesses, including marketplaces (e.g. Vinted) or brand aggregators (like Zalando).
The biggest advantages of introducing the tool from a business perspective include:
- Reducing the number of returns: An improved fitting process increases the chances of finding a better fit while reducing the return rate.
- Raising the conversion rate: By reinforcing good choices and raising confidence, stores can expect to increase their conversion rate.
- Increasing sales volume: "Mixing and matching" different pieces of clothing creates a perfect opportunity for upselling, which can raise the sales level even higher.
- Improving brand reach: The ability for people to share their looks and experiences with their communities is an absolute win for the brand's reach and visibility.
Enhance your CX with Netguru
Even though interest in e-commerce grows year after year, online shopping falls short when it comes to the convenience and comfort of fitting clothes in brick-and-mortar stores.
Virtual try-ons can help businesses change that, resolving one of the greatest challenges online retailers face.
We have developed an online purchase path that employs VTO to solve the fitting, sizing, and assembling challenges in creating the perfect look with garments. To improve the shopping experience, we have demonstrated how our virtual try-on process boosts purchase confidence and adds excitement to the overall shopping experience.