I Want Online Fitting Rooms

When I shop for clothes in a store, I’ll browse the racks and pick up items that catch my eye. When I can’t carry any more items, I’ll make my way to the fitting room. There I’ll compare and contrast the items to decide what to buy.

My experience is completely different online. There is no single page I can go to compare and contrast items that I like. I have to look at one item at a time or open multiple pages or tabs.

Online I wonder: should I buy this dress?

Offline I wonder: which one of these four dresses should I buy?

Using browser features, I’m able to get a better experience. I can open up each item that catches my eye in a different tab or window. Then I can click between the different pages to compare and contrast them and decide what I want to purchase.

Does it make sense that e-commerce sites punt to the browser to form a big part of the user experience?

Imagine instead if e-commerce sites offered a virtual fitting room.

Just like an offline fitting room, I could continually add items I find appealing to it. Once I’m done browsing I could compare and contrast my selected items on a single page.

But I want to do more than just be able to compare and contrast items within a page.

I want to be able to ask my virtual shopping assistant to bring me a few more cocktail dresses with the same silhouette but with long sleeves. Using the items in my fitting room together with items I have bought in the past, the algorithm would be able to give me recommendations that are personal and better than what the product pages currently recommends.

I also want to see the whole outfit. We wear an outfit, not just a single item of clothing. If I am buying a sweater and a pair of pants, I want to see how they look together. I even want to see how the pants look with my blouse I have hanging in my closet.

If I am buying a strapless dress, I want the shopping assistant to tell me what type of bra will work with the dress. I have bought dresses that I couldn’t wear for weeks because I didn’t have the right bra. Same thing is true when buying a suit. You need the right belt, shirt, and shoes to make the outfit.

Stores should partner with other stores to allow customers to buy a complete outfit instead of a single piece of clothing. Amazon partners with other stores to ensure that the customer finds what he or she is looking for on Amazon even if Amazon doesn’t carry it.

I want personal style advice. How do I wear this dress if I work as a consultant or if I work at an ad agency? What day shoes should I wear that are comfortable?

The virtual shopping assistant should constantly be learning about me from what I buy, return, browse, and share. It should know what I like and what I don’t like? It should notify me when the store gets new items that I would love or if they have a sale on the type of pants I like to wear.

I want to walk out of the fitting room to see what other people are trying on and be inspired. I want to be able to give them a compliment if I like what they are wearing and I would like to receive a compliment if people like what I’m wearing.

Fashion ecommerce should make the impossible possible and create a superior online shopping experience. Making online not just more convenient but more fun.

What do you want from your online fashion store?