This New Technology Lets Shoppers Try on Clothing Virtually

Deep fashion is turning heads.

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People have greatly benefited from breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. Digital assistants, AI medical diagnostics, and AI internet search algorithms are just a few examples of how this technology is transforming society. In almost every industry, AI saves time, reduces costs, and makes work easier. Now, Walmart is turning to this futuristic tool to help consumers shop for clothing, Digital Commerce 360 reports.

Be Your Own Model
The retail giant has been experimenting for a while on ways to facilitate the at-home, clothing-selection process. At first, they introduced the “Choose Your Model” feature, which allowed shoppers to select a clothing model that most closely resembled them. Now, in partnership with Zeekit, a virtual dressing-room vendor, shoppers can, themselves, become the model.

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How does it work? With Walmart’s “Be Your Own Model” feature, customers snap a photo of themselves. Then, they can select from more than 270,000 items. 

Walmart’s senior vice president of site experience, Brock McKeel, told Digital Commerce 360 that the goal is to reduce the need for inconvenient returns. "What they buy fits appropriately [and] it is what they thought they were buying.”

Smart style
In order to facilitate this, “Be Your Own Model” doesn’t just overlay the clothing on top of the uploaded photo, like a paper doll. According to Fast Company, the feature uses a sophisticated version of artificial intelligence to “dress the photo” in a way that takes into account the size of the model, shadows, and even the way the fabric hangs.

Cheryl Ainoa, Walmart Global Tech senior vice president of new businesses and emerging tech, told Fast Company that underlying "Be Your Own Model'' is similar to topographic maps. “When you look at the technology that’s used to derive topographic maps and then look at features that you would overlay onto them, it’s very similar and very analogous to creating a map of a customer,” Ainoa explains. “We use some pretty sophisticated machine learning models to create the topographic map of your image.”

The experience is designed to be as user-friendly as in-person shopping. According to Ainoa, “we actually want people to be able to be trying stuff on for hours.” To make this possible, Walmart engineers figured out how to prevent the app from draining user’s phone batteries. 

Augmented reality shopping
“Be Your Own Model” is only the latest step Walmart has taken to help its customers virtually. Previously, Walmart’s Sam’s Club allowed customers to virtually try on glasses. Walmart also created tools allowing shoppers to see how its furniture would look in customers’ homes.

Currently the “Be Your Own Model” feature is only available for women’s clothing, but the chain hopes to roll out virtual dressing rooms for children and men as well, Tech Crunch reports.

Walmart EVP Apparel Division and Private Brands, Denise Incandela told Fast Company that the “Be Your Own Model” app makes online shopping more fun.

She explains, “This will be the first time [customers] can see themselves. And they’re gonna see themselves in the product detail page; they’ll see themselves in the product landing page. Frankly, it’s why I was so excited to acquire the Zeekit product to begin with — because gamification of shopping hasn’t really existed in the past. We think this is the future of shopping.”

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