A growing number of technological solutions are changing the shape of retail in general, with the online experience becoming more significant at a rapid pace. It may have seemed that something as personal as buying clothes would always be a physical experience but, increasingly, technology is allowing consumers to virtually try on clothes before they buy and, in some cases, even before they reach the high street.
The online avatar is a concept that allows a person’s shape and size to be faithfully reproduced in the virtual world and dressed with digital representations of real garments. Mixing and matching, finding the perfect fit and even tailor-made are now all aspects of the purchasing process that have become part of the augmented world.
Made to measure
Technology is at the heart of this retail revolution. In the not so distant past, shops would employ models to parade around in the latest fashions so that ladies (and perhaps gentlemen) could see how the clothes would wear before buying.
Mass production pushed the price of clothing down to a point where it was difficult for most retailers to justify such a lavish expense, instead consumers were invited to try the clothes on there, in the shop. Until relatively recently the private changing room was the pinnacle of purchasing privacy but now you can see the clothes on a 3-dimensional virtual representation of yourself without the need to shed a stitch. Furthermore, you can be measured by technology to ensure you get a perfect fit, every time.
Body scanners are becoming more common. Simple solutions based on phone cameras can be used in the home for online shoppers, while more sophisticated versions are being installed in changing rooms – or perhaps that should be fitting rooms – around the world.