Click for the next dress
It certainly does not take a shopaholic to know that’s its End of Financial Year sale season. With every retail store plastered with huge ‘SALE’ or ‘50% OFF’ signs from wall to wall, and mannequins stripped of their clothes and wrapped in gaudy red tape instead, its that time of year again when the credit card gets a big work out.
A trip down to Pitt Street in Sydney or Chadstone in Melbourne feels like a scene out of looming-disaster movie, where people appear to be scrambling to buy just about anything they can get their hands on before their world turns into chaos. Of course, in these cases, the chaos is already happening, in store.
Any experienced shopper would have experienced shoving past hundreds of other women hunting down that elusive navy blazer in a Size 12, or waiting in line for over an hour only to be told you’re only allowed to try on two pieces on clothing. And of course, what about shoes; where waiting to try on a pair in your size takes almost as long as watching a tree grow!
Thankfully, digital technology is finally here to the rescue, where virtual reality is attempting to lessen the burden and trauma of shopping by cutting down waiting time and making trials easier.
With new inventions like virtual dressing rooms and interactive mirrors, shoppers can now ‘try out’ outfits and accessories by having them imposed onto their reflection, and some devices even allow for social media sharing.
Shoppers can now ‘try on’ multiple outfits, match clothing with accessories, send photos to their Facebook friends to ask for a second opinions, and all that without having to even take a top off in a cramped up coffin-like dressing room!
UK-based fashion label Topshop has launched its first virtual fitting room in its Russian flagship store in Moscow. While the technology is not flawless, with imagery looking awkward, it is without a doubt hinting at what the future of retail will look. Watch the video below.
Australian-based digital media agency Yeahpoint also recently exhibited their MiMirror at a digital exhibition, which is a digital mirror that allows consumers to try on various products and upload photographs of themselves to share on social media platforms.
“MiMirror is a fantastic opportunity for retailers… to give their customers the ability to make more informed decisions while also having a lot of fun,” says John Anderson, CEO of Yeahpoint.
Speaking to Marketing, Anderson explains: "Integrating digital technology dramatically adds to the customer's experience by allowing them to more confidently make purchases and share experiences. For retailer, it is really about a point of difference… which is a very cost effective way for retailers to market to new audiences".
"Another interesting trend," Anderson predicts, "is a lowering of returned items as consumers make better choices upfront, which has a direct flow to the number of returns in store, which often comes at a high cost to the retailer".
"This type of technology takes the less enjoyable parts of shopping eperience and makes them better. In the dressing room, you save time by not having to continue to retry clothes over and over again and you can easily get a second opinion from friends no matter where they may be, not to mention the fact that you can easily see what an outfit looks like from the side and behind".
Anderson also believes that local retailers will be jumping on board this trend in in-store digital technology soon. "The modern retail industry is so competitve that retailers are looking at new ways to make the consumer shopping experience even better while generating tangible return on investment".
Will virtual reality replace the dressing room? Will it take the joy out of shopping? Share your opinions with us by dropping us a tweet @marketingmag or leaving a comment here,