Global retail store Walmart is extending its support for AI-driven virtual try-on technology dubbed "Be Your Own Model," which enables customers to use their own images to see how apparel appears on them instead of selecting one of the available fashion models.
Customers of the company site could previously choose from dozens of models to choose the one that most closely resembled them in order to view how clothing would likely seem on their own body and with their own skin tone across a range of apparel products.
The startup Zeekit was purchased by Walmart in 2021, and this is where the virtual try-on technology comes from.
The feature can analyse catalogue photographs of clothing to produce a dressed image using computer vision and neural networks. In order to identify the various product variations, including size, colour, and other elements like cloth drape or sleeve length, neural networks are used.
According to Walmart, the end result is more realistic imagery than some other scenarios in which a photo is merely superimposed over another image.
According to Cheryl Ainoa, SVP of New Businesses and Emerging Tech at Walmart, this distinguishes it from other technology, such as AR-enabled purchasing.
“Where we didn’t feel like customers were satisfied is that a lot of the AR experiences are basically the equivalent of taking and laying a flat image on top of a flat image,” she says.
“That doesn’t let you actually experience what this article of clothing is going to look like on me.”
Walmart initially displayed its virtual try-on options for "thousands" of items on models with sizes XS through XXXL and heights ranging from 5'2" to 6'0".
As of right now, this earlier version is accessible on more than 270,000 products from Walmart's portfolio of brands, such as Sofia Active by Sofia Vergara, Love & Sports, ELOQUII Elements, Time & Tru, Athletic Works, Terra & Sky, No Boundaries, Avia, and The Pioneer Woman, as well as from national brands like Champion, Levi's, and Hanes.
The feature is also supported by a smaller number of items on the Walmart Marketplace.
The number of models has increased from 50 to over 100.
Customers won't be limited to choosing only from the available models with the next expansion.
Instead, customers will be able to upload their own images to create a more customised shopping experience on Walmart's desktop version and the Walmart mobile app.
The Walmart app for iOS and the web are the first to have this option; Android will follow in the coming weeks.
Customers will need to take a picture of themselves using the Walmart iOS app in order to enter their own image into the system.
Following that, consumers may digitally try on any compatible clothing items to see how they actually look.
If the user is logged in, the photo will continue to be connected to their account for usage in the future but can be removed at any time.
The business is confident that this kind of technology will significantly boost conversions and decrease returns—problems that still hamper online clothes shopping today.
In fact, the inaugural "Choose My Model" function has already been a hit on that front, according to Denise Incandela, Walmart EVP Apparel Division and Private Brands.
“We’re very excited about the insights that came from [the ‘Choose My Model’ feature], which is why of course we expanded beyond the 50 models to the 120, and continue to invest in that,” she said.
“We have seen right what we hoped to see in terms of improved conversion.”
Despite the fact that the technology is still in its infancy, Walmart declined to provide detailed data on conversion increases or the effect on returns.
The business will continue to offer the "Choose My Model" function in addition to the new addition because it understands that not everyone will want to utilise themselves as a fashion model.
However, the company's long-term objective is to encourage more customers to purchase online or even in-store, skipping the dressing room, by using their own image to help them.
The retailer also thinks it will keep promoting conversions as the previous feature did.
“This will be the first time [customers] can see themselves.
"And they’re gonna see themselves on the product detail page; they’ll see themselves on the product landing page.
"Frankly, it’s why I was so excited to acquire the Zeekit product, to begin with — because gamification of shopping hasn’t really existed in the past…we think this is the future of shopping,” says Incandela.
In the future, Walmart plans to add more brand partnerships and expand the technology to include men's, children's, and even accessory apparel.
Be Your Own Model” had been soft-launched before today on the Walmart iOS app but is rolling out more broadly, starting today.
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