Why do online retailers keep ignoring virtual fitting rooms?
Stop selling clothes long enough to help me make sure they fit
My favorite brand of jeans are JLo Bootcut jeans. When I was in college, it was Apple Bottoms and Baby Phat. I had a short love affair with Silver. And now, it’s the brand from Jennifer Lopez. And the main reason I love these jeans so much is because I can buy a pile of them and know exactly how they’ll fit without going into a dressing room. Some people love trying on 20 outfits before they find the right one. I don’t. It’s one of the reasons I wish online stores would stop trying to pitch me on apparel return policies and focus more on making sure I can wear the clothes.
The radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in Adidas London fitting rooms is onto something. When you go into this flagship store, you can see what you look like running on treadmills and exercising in their athletic apparel. FXGear Inc.’s Fit’N Shop and Fitle are even better. When you walk up to these augmented reality mirrors, you can get a visual of what you’ll look like wearing a bunch of outfits — without changing in and out of them. But that only works if you happen to be in Paris or shopping at one of the 50 e-shops that allow you to do so.
Recommended Read: “If the Technology Fits, Wear It ~ The Missed Potential of Virtual Fitting Rooms”
While the convenience of online shopping for groceries, electronics and home decor has made life easier for pretty much everyone, online clothing shopping still leaves much to be desired. The W Hotel and Rent the Runway have already figured that out. It’s one of the reasons they’re helping travelers shop lighter by bringing outfits directly to them. Forget saying you have “nothing to wear.” They’ll give you all the options you need and hang them up in your hotel room before you even check-in.
This W Hotel and Rent the Runway partnership is probably annoying to airports, who keep trying to find new ways to overcharge travelers for carry-on luggage and additional bags. But it’s a relief for people who don’t want to get their new outfits all wrinkled. Or worse, lost during the flight. But that still leaves Rent the Runway online members crossing their fingers and hoping that their chosen outfits fit well before their big events.
And now Amazon is biting off of Tmall, in hopes of gaining some of their online luxury fashion customers. For women who are confident in their clothing sizes no matter the brand, these kinds of online shopping options are a dream.
No long lines. No grumpy customers. No cashiers who act like their presence is better than a bag full of diamonds. No disorganized racks. And no aimless searching for retail employees to help them find an item. It makes sense. But if the apparel company and the online retailer aren’t trying to figure out ways to make sure you actually keep the items instead of going back to their nearest department store or shipping company to return them, it’s not helpful for anyone.