When it comes to technology in fashion retail, the word “online shop” would have sprung to mind as it has always been a strategic imperative for companies to expand sales channels and boost profits. However, such instant access to alluring products, regardless of time and place is what brings to the demise of brick-and-mortar outlets. To cater to the fact that human reliance on the internet is ever-growing, lots of brands are trying to introduce cutting-edge high-tech equipments to make the online shopping experience more realistic than ever before.
Although there are product images taken from multiple angles showing on every online shopping site, sometimes the items might look varied in real life. Being dubious about whether a product is worth buying, many customers would just skip the ‘add to cart’ button even if they have spotted something that they are interested in. To eliminate this drawback, some fashion stores begin embedding 3D technology in their online product catalogues. The Australian shoe customisation brand Shoes of Prey is one such pioneer. Its website provides 360-degree view displaying the fabrics, colours, materials and design of their shoes in the most delicate detail, just like the way we see a product in physical stores.
For apparel companies running online shops, it is common to have customers returning products back because they are not satisfied with the size or quality of the items. Hence, a virtual dressing room is obligatory if we want to avoid all those redundant exchange and refund processes. The American clothing retailer GAP has collaborated with Google and startup Avametric to launch a ‘DressingRoom’ application. Shoppers can try on clothes on the website simply by inserting their body measurements. The 3D model will tell whether the selected piece fits on you. Such augmented reality feature offers a more reliable and seamless shopping experience, and therefore customers will be eager to commit themselves to purchase online in the long run.
If customers are struggling on what style of pieces to opt for, they can consider downloading the ‘Data Dress’ application. ‘Data Dress’ is a product of Google and the fashion brand H&M. It archives users’ personal smartphone app data, in order to help customise unique clothing for them based on the analysis of their location, lifestyle and activities. Although the application is still under development, it is expected to be a hit since the connection between dressing and living is creatively fostered.
Digital trend reshapes the way we shop, as well as the way that brands advertise. For example, Instagram Live has gone viral among different fashion houses during this year’s Spring/Summer haute couture week, as it opens a gateway for brands to voice and share their stories in a 20-second video. Another nascent invention with similar functions is the spectacles produced by Snapchat, which users can record what they see through the lens of this pair of chic-looking sunglasses; and all the snapshots will be uploaded to its own application automatically. Blending entertainment and practicality – this might be a great tool for brands to market products towards millennials – a generation who is obsessed with fun-oriented gadgets.
Nowadays, shopping is no longer a mere trading activity, but also an immersive experience which customers are pleased to engage in. Especially when there are countless online platforms available to satisfy the public’s thirst for fast-fading fads, fashion retailers are in need of a more remarkable marketing strategy against their competitors. We are poised to see how the industry evolves with innovative technologies in the near future.
Engadget. 2017. Gap envisions a future with augmented-reality ‘dressing rooms’. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/30/gap-augmented-reality-dressing-rooms/. [Accessed 10 February 2017].