Virtual dressing rooms get a thumbs-up at Demo Spring

by Shalu Pillai

This was long due if you asked me. In a day and age of 3D and mobile technology, it was about time the online clothing retailers brought their shoppers a more pro-active shopping experience. You would think, being able to stand in front of a webcam and virtually try things on, sounds feasible enough? At the Demo Spring 2011 conference, two companies Zugara and FaceCake Marketing Technologies showed their audience forthcoming offerings that will integrate virtual dressing rooms into e-tailers’ sites. Zugara, with its Webcam Social Shopper, and FaceCake, with Swivel, seem intent on building a business around the licensing of these webcam-based changing rooms to retailers. For Zugara, the key selling point of such a system is making it easy for consumers to use. With no downloads required, it interacts directly with a user’s PC- or Mac-based Webcam requiring them to stand in front of the camera while on an e-tailer’s shopping site and simply “try on” an outfit. The software locates the user’s face and then superimposes a garment on his or her body. FaceCake’s Swivel is designed to be used either at home, or placed in brick-and-mortar retailers’ dressing rooms and is likely to utilize Microsoft’s Kinect motion-sensing camera to sense the customer’s body or a Mac webcam if the buyer is at home.

A key feature is the ‘fun’ element allowing shoppers to choose garment and accessories simply by raise their hand in the air. You can also share the image of what they look like in a garment instantly with their friends on Twitter or Facebook. I am convinced this is going to be a hit with men who hate strolling from store to store!

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