It’s likely that you have seen the software program that allows you to use a photo of your face to try on different hairstyles. While this may seem a lark, at its essence, this approach is an example of the classic sales truth, “try before you buy.” Consumers today are even more conscious of getting the most for their dollars and especially their time. The traditional consumer path to purchase from at home to the store and in the store can be inefficient. Let’s look at three new technology products -- one at each point along the path -- that are engaging consumers, reducing barriers (with try ons), and getting them to buy.
The company Styku offers technology that facilitates the “try on” at home. Their software solution can scan and pinpoint body measurements in less than five seconds in the privacy of consumers’ homes. Once the scan is complete, consumers can view a 3D image of themselves and try on hundreds and thousands of clothes to judge fit and eventually purchase. In addition, Styku can provide an evaluation and suggestions on sizing. It is helping not only consumers, but retailers, by reducing the number one barrier to online apparel purchase: fit.
In addition, retailers are using this technology to disrupt the path-to-purchase cycle with a “try on” while on the road and going to the store. Recently, one of Bloomingdale’s New York City locations allowed consumers walking by to virtually try on sunglasses without having to go into the store. As consumers paused in front of a store window and stared into an LCD screen, the interactive display determined the position of their eyes -- and seemingly magically, a pair of glasses would materialize. There were several styles and alternate views (head-on and side profile) to help with “trying-on.” To close the deal, with a push of button, consumers could send their favorite selection to the sunglass department in the store for purchase.
In more than 70 malls across the country, high-tech body-scanning equipment, which looks similar to airport security screeners, has been installed. The leading companies providing the technology are Bodymetrics and Unique Solutions Design. Unlike the “at home” and “to the store” examples, where the ability to physically try on is not feasible, the advantage for consumers to being scanned in the retail environment is all about saving time. Shoppers step into a private booth fully clothed, where precise measurements are taken. They are then provided with personalized sizing, SKU, brand and pricing information based on current inventory levels (giving consumers a heads up on what is in stock). Consumers can now efficiently “try on” recommended options and more successfully buy items.
The takeaway for marketers is quite fundamental. Consumers want to get the “right” item with the least amount of hassle. Virtual try on is one innovation that is helping to reduce risk and lower barriers to purchase. Consider how your brand can use technology at different points along the path to purchase to engage your consumer -- give them the opportunity to envision themselves with the product or bring the product experience to life. Get your consumers closer to your products and facilitate the shopping experience to ultimately get them to take action and buy.