Denise Incandela, EVP of Apparel and Private Brands for Walmart U.S., yesterday posted an announcement saying that the company, following its acquisition last year of Zeekit, creator of a leading dynamic virtual fitting room platform, will now be offering the service to its online shoppers.
"One of the most frustrating aspects of shopping for clothes online is understanding how an item will actually look on you. With Zeekit, our goal is to deliver an inclusive, immersive and personalized digital experience that will better replicate physical shopping.
"We are rolling out Zeekit technology to users of the Walmart app and Walmart.com, starting with the Choose My Model experience. This feature currently offers customers the ability to select from 50 models between 5’2” – 6’0” in height and sizes XS – XXXL. Customers can determine the model who best represents their height, body shape and skin tone to understand how an item will look on them. And we will continue to expand our model selection, with nearly 70 additional model options launching in the weeks ahead to offer an even wider range of sizes, skin tones and hair colors.
"Choose My Model is now available on select items across our portfolio of exclusive, elevated brands and private brands, including Free Assembly, Scoop, Sofia Jeans by Sofia Vergara, ELOQUII Elements, Time and Tru, Athletic Works, Terra & Sky, No Boundaries, Avia and The Pioneer Woman. We are also adding national brands, starting with Levi’s and Hanes, and we’ll continue to expand to new national brands in the coming months on Walmart.com and Walmart Marketplace. If an item is part of the Zeekit experience, customers will see the prompt to select a model on the item page."
Incandela goes on: "Zeekit was built with a vision to provide every person the chance to see themselves in any item of clothing found online, and that is a vision we share. Our new Choose My Model capability is just the beginning. We are also working to launch a virtual try-on experience for women’s apparel, moving with speed to bring this groundbreaking technology to our customers."
CNBC makes the point that the technology appears to have two results - people are more willing to buy products at a higher price point, and the rate of returns goes down.
- KC's View:
It is interesting, I think, that as Amazon tests the idea of fashion-centric physical stores that will combine elements of technology with an in-person shopping experience, Walmart is investing in heightening the online fashion experience.
Different approaches, but the overarching message is clear - fashion is likely to be a one of the main areas of competition between these two behemoths going forward. Expect a relative cascade of innovations and announcements from both sides that seek to gain the upper hand.