One more article in our series of “What Does It Cost to Build” describes online fitting rooms types and functionality. It also shows the reasons to build-in a fitting room into your e-commerce website and estimates the costs needed for the simple online fitting room development. This topic would be of interest to fashion retail companies thinking to bring part of their customer journey online.
Clothing Store without a Fitting Room - a Bridge to Nowhere
It is hard to image a brick-and-mortar (B&M) closing store without a fitting room. But what about a furniture shop? Its customer also would like to have “a picture” of an interior item in the room. And what if a dress shop is an online one? Is it possible to improve online customer experience with the fitting room? And how much does it cost to create and to integrate fitting room functionality to your online store? A bunch of questions we are going to answer.
Fitting room is an important part of a customer experience. According to the statistics, customers who visit fitting rooms are 71% more likely to purchase, and those who visit fitting rooms buy two times more items. So, no wonder the majority of clothing stores try to make fitting rooms more comfortable and functional with additional mirrors, shelves, hooks, lamps and music. Even the number of fitting rooms influences the purchase level. Usually, people overestimate the period of time they are made to wait (the New York Times says by about 36 percent). So, dress stores and departments, especially big ones, offer several fitting rooms to their visitors.
A fitting room is not just an opportunity to try a new dress or accessories; it also means involving in the process - a dress store without a fitting room has more returns and fewer purchases. Besides, visit to a fitting room implies interaction with the store staff. Those of shoppers who were serviced in a fitting room are three times more likely to make the purchase.
Traditional furniture stores usually offer designer service to their clients. It means that a designer should visit customer’s home, to get its sizes and make a picture (usually 3D) of the room or the whole house with the interior items from the furniture store. Usually, this process takes some time and efforts. Besides, it is available for local customers only, and those who live far from the store do not have an opportunity to call this store designer home.
Online Shoppers Also Want “Try Before Buy”
Increasing online purchases is the worldwide trend. Eurostat reports about 80 online purchase by an individual for a year in the UK and over 50 in average in the EU countries in 2017. So, no wonder, the number of online stores is growing too. According to statistics, the worldwide revenue of eCommerce fashion industry in 2022 is expecting up to $712.9 billion as opposite to $481.2 billion in 2018. This could be explained by a wide variety of digital opportunities to start available for any kind of merchant. Revenue per user also is going to grow; in figures, it looks like $317 billion in 2018 and $475 billion in 2022.
And the biggest challenge online fashion industry meets is no way for a buyer to try an item on as in a B&M store. Some big retailers give their customers a chance to order a number of items, try them on at home and send back those that do not fit. Such service from Amazon is known as Amazon Prime Wardrobe.
Some retail companies try to help to filter the most matchable clothes item at the very beginning, so they provide online filters like body type, sizes, preferable style, color, material and so on. For instance, Rakuten’s FitsMe provided all of these options.
Achievements of recent years bring B&M fitting room experience to online shoppers almost in full. For sure, online fitting room is not the crucial decision to this problem. But it certainly helps to reduce the number of returns and make the website and the process of purchase more interactive. The more a customer is involved in a process, the higher probability to purchase.
Not only fashion industry has opportunity to improve their customers’ online experience. Online furniture stores also provide virtual possibility to try and set the interior item in customer’s room and find out how it looks there. Contrary to clothes, it is not necessary to try an interior item in motion and for different body types, so online furniture stores provide even better customer experience. Due to it, interior design is not a local business anymore. Since it is not necessary to invite a designer home.
Fitting Rooms Categories According to the Technological Approach
There are several approaches to realize a fitting room functionality:
- The simplest one is an online fitting room as a combination of a customer’s face or room picture with the picture of the chosen item of clothes or furniture. Usually, it does not show a customer’s body sizes or room’s lights and shadows and allows to choose the size of the garment but not the person's special sizes. So, there is no way to create an image that shows any experience close to real, but the result, combined with some good deal of imagination, can help to understand the final view.
- Another kind of a fitting room, like the one presented by MeModel, requires customer’s body measurements to create a 3D or 2D model dressed according to the chosen set of clothing items and/or accessories. The negative point here is the necessity for a shopper to be bothered with body measurements, and it could be the reason for the disappointment with own sizes and no shopping at all. Anyway, such a fitting room is a great way to improve customer experience.
- Virtual mirror with the help of a webcam gives more vivid and interesting experience to online shoppers. It allows to see how the chosen clothing item fits in motion. 3D model of a customer is built based on the picture from a web or phone. Some fitting rooms are provided with face recognition function. So, the shopper may see the new look and change dresses in the virtual fitting room with simple snapping of fingers. N-show from NewTempo is one of such projects. Amazon also is going to add virtual room functionality to the EchoLook.
- Levi’s tried to help its shoppers to find perfect size clothes with Intellifit body scan technology. It gives the exact measurements of the customer body and helps to find the perfect clothes among different brands and measurement systems. But the negative aspect is the necessity to come to the special location to be scanned. Besides, this technology does not show the entire look.
- So, one of the biggest Japanese e-commerce sites has created absolutely new way to get customer’s body measurements. It also scans a customer’s body, but with the help of a special costume ZozoSuit received from the company and a smartphone. The result is a perfect size-fit clothing and no self-made body measurements and possible mistakes for a customer.
- IKEA did a good job by providing augmented reality app with their catalogues to fit IKEA’s couch in a customer’s kitchen. IKEA Place provides an opportunity for shoppers to see the interior item in the room on a smartphone screen in real time with real proportions. As to clothing stores, augmented reality dress also is a good way to see it on a real person body, but, as opposed to virtual fitting room, it is impossible to see the look of the chosen dress in motion.
How Much Does It Cost to Create a Basic Fitting Room
The most basic online fitting room allows to line up a picture of a shopper’s face and clothing item or a picture of a shopper’s room and furniture item to create a general impression of how they look together.
Most likely, online fitting room is a part of an online store. So, it is not a separate project with a dedicated team. And if you need to create it as an additional feature, the team could probably consist of PM (part-time), back-end engineer, front-end engineer, QA engineer(probably part-time), designer(probably part-time).
The minimal set of features for an online fitting room would look as follows:
To create and implement a fitting room, Logicify would offer the following technical stack.
- Python as a main development language. It is a good choice for startups since it is light and dynamic, has big community and lots of libraries and scientific frameworks available.
- Django as a web framework is de-facto standard for web applications written in Python. It has tools for creating web apps.
- PostgreSQL as a database. It has native support from the Django side and good support of the major hosting and cloud service providers. However the main reason is the rich set of advanced features supported - transactions, locks, schemas.
- CSS3 is a style sheet language, that describes the layout of a document written using HTML.
- HTML5 is a standard markup language for creating content, alongside with CSS it creates layouts and visual components of a web app.
- Angular 5 as the main front-end framework for building web app.
An online fitting room is not the only one way to improve your online store visitors experience, but it is for sure one of the most important parts of user experience in an online or B&M store. You are free to choose any other technical stack and functionality for your online store, and Logicify team would be glad to realize your ideas.
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