e-Commerce has grown rapidly over the past decade, especially during the pandemic, when physical stores were closed or restricted. However, online shopping also poses some challenges for both consumers and retailers, such as finding the right fit, style, and color of products without the customers being able to see products in person. This can lead to dissatisfaction, low conversion rates, and high return costs.

To overcome these challenges, many e-commerce platforms have started to offer virtual try-on features that allow customers to see how products look on them or an avatar before making a purchase. Virtual try-on uses augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to overlay digital images of products on real-world scenes captured via cameras or sensors. This way, customers can experiment with different products and options in a realistic and immersive way.

How do virtual try-ons work?

There are different types of virtual try-on solutions depending on the product category and the user experience desired. For example, one may use face detection and tracking to enable customers to try on glasses, hats, jewelry, or makeup. Alternatively, one might use body scanning and measurement to enable customers to try on clothing, shoes, or accessories. Other solutions use 3D models or avatars to represent the customer’s body shape and size, while others may use live video or photos of the customer.

The basic steps of virtual try-on are:

  1. The customer selects a product they want to try on from the e-commerce platform.
  2. The customer either uploads a photo or video of themselves or uses their device's camera to capture their image in real-time.
  3. The virtual try-on solution analyses the customer’s image and extracts relevant features such as face shape, skin tone, hair color, eye color, body measurements, etc.
  4. The virtual try-on solution applies the selected product to the customer’s image using AR and AI techniques such as image processing, computer vision, machine learning, etc.
  5. The customer can see how the product looks on them or an avatar on their device’s screen. They can also adjust the product’s position, size, color, etc., and compare different products or options.
  6. The customer can either add the product to their cart or continue browsing other products.

What are the benefits of virtual try-on?

Virtual try-on offers many benefits for both customers and retailers, such as:

Enhancing customer satisfaction and confidence: Virtual try-on allows customers to see how products fit and suit them before buying them. This can reduce uncertainty and hesitation and increase trust and loyalty.

Increasing conversion rates and sales: Virtual try-on can encourage customers to explore more products and options and discover new ones they might not have considered otherwise. This can pique their interest and enhance their intention to buy. Virtual try-on can also create a sense of urgency and scarcity by showing limited availability or discounts for certain products.

Reducing return costs and environmental impact: Virtual try-on can help customers choose the right products and avoid buying things that they might regret later. This helps reduce the number of returns and exchanges thereby saving retailers money and resources. It also helps reduce the environmental impact of shipping and packaging waste. This is one of the major Benefits of Augmented Reality.

What are the challenges of virtual try-on?

Virtual try-on also faces some challenges that need to be addressed, such as:

Ensuring accuracy and realism: Virtual try-on needs to provide accurate and realistic representations of products and customers’ images. This requires high-quality data, advanced algorithms, and powerful devices. Any errors or glitches can affect customer satisfaction and trust.

Protecting privacy and security: Virtual try-on involves collecting and processing customers’ data such as photos, videos, biometrics, preferences, etc. This raises concerns about privacy and security. Retailers need to comply with relevant regulations and standards and implement appropriate safeguards.

Providing accessibility and inclusivity: Virtual try-on is required to cater to diverse customers with varying needs, preferences, abilities, and backgrounds. This requires designing user-friendly interfaces, supporting multiple languages, offering various product categories and options, etc.

Virtual try-on is a game-changer for e-commerce platforms. Incorporating it into an e-commerce business's marketing outreach strategy is a no-brainer.