Walmart is flexing its AR arsenal, introducing a new phase of virtual shopping with a service called Be Your Own Model.
The announcement follows its acquisition of Zeekit last year, and the subsequent introduction of Choose My Model, which let shoppers see apparel on various body types.
This next phase promises to bring online shoppers one step closer to an in-store fitting room experience, simply by using their own photo. And it also adds a level of gamification, which it thinks will make the experience even more appealing.
Virtual try-on is a trick many tech companies, retailers and e-tailers have been trying to perfect for years. Walmart claims it’s the first to offer it for apparel brands at scale, but there’s a virtual stampede of stores and brands trying to get it right.
Amazon, which acquired BodyLab, a 3D scanning company, back in 2017, began offering Virtual Try-On for shoes earlier this year.
Walmart’s technology is based on mapping software, developed to measure geographic topography.
“It’s the most realistic application I have seen,” writes Denise Incandela, Walmart’s executive vice president, apparel and private brands, in the blog announcing the rollout. “Other experiences typically lay a photo of an item on top of another image, making it appear computer-generated. With Be Your Own Model, a customer sees an ultra-realistic simulation with shadows, fabric draping and where clothing falls on their figure in seconds.”
The company says the technology works with 270,000 items in its owned brands line-up, including Free Assembly, Scoop, Sofia Jeans and Sofia Active by Sofia Vergara, Love & Sports, ELOQUII Elements, Time & Tru, Athletic Works and the Pioneer Woman.
And it also works with some of its national brands, including Champion, Levi’s and Hanes.
For now, it works by snapping a photo from within the Walmart iOS app, but will soon function in Android phones, as well.
“We believe the largest and closest store to our customers is the one in their pockets,” Incandela writes. “With both virtual try-on experiences now live, Walmart continues to offer customers an unparalleled experience that makes it easier to shop for clothes online.”