Catalyst

Mirror, mirror on the wall ...

Sravanthi Challapalli | Updated on February 22, 2018 Published on February 22, 2018

Stores across the world are testing virtual trial rooms as they promise to raise the possibility of purchases

Last week, Vodafone and fashion retailer Mango announced they would roll out digital fitting rooms at the label’s top stores worldwide. The fitting room has been designed around an Internet of Things (IoT) mirror designed by Mango, developed by Vodafone in collaboration with Madrid-based IT company JogoTech. It allows the shopper to scan the clothes tags in the fitting room and then contact shop floor staff directly from the mirror, through a digital watch, to request different sizes or colours. The mirror will also suggest additional clothes to complement the original choice.

Digital trial rooms are not all that new, though, and some Indian retail firms too use them. The chances of a customer making a purchase once they try on a garment is much higher than when they don’t. Coimbatore-based Coitor IT Tech has two such products, WearIT, a 2D virtual dressing room, and a 3D mirror (in picture) which shows how the outfit can look from various angles. Coitor, which describes itself as an augmented reality company, has installed WearIT in stores of Chennai Silks, Palam Silks and Jealous 21, among other clients’, in some cities. The experience at Jealous 21 bears out the belief that those who try on clothes are more likely to buy than those who do not, says Mahendra Vellingiri, co-founder, Coitor. Textronics is the other firm of note in the business in India. Shoppers Stop uses its product TryON (but calls it the Magic Mirror) in one of its Mumbai stores.

Many stores let customers try on only 3-4 garments at a time in the trial room. Using this device can help them narrow down the choices, Vellingiri adds.

These products have many advantages, claim their websites: They work by a swipe of the hand, the customer can browse several designs in seconds, and the trial images are shareable on social media. For retailers, it means greater visibility for their merchandise, better customer engagement, saves space as not all the clothes have to be stocked but can be ordered, prevents their wear and tear, saves time for staff who have to tidy up after the shoppers, and the mirrors generate much curiosity and word of mouth. No dressing room scandals, either, says Coitor’s website.

A global two-wheeler manufacturer will soon use Coitor’s 3D mirror for its line of apparel and accessories. Coitor is also launching a subscription model where users can pay ₹10,000 per month to use the device and get it maintained and updated regularly with new inventory. It has around 20-25 retail clients.

These memory mirrors capture valuable data on the customer and her preferences. Abroad, some of the virtual fitting rooms are MemoryMirror, from MemoMi, which lets customers compare garments and see 360-degree views. US-based retailer Neiman Marcus uses it to help customers try on clothes, eyewear and make-up. Ralph Lauren is using a similar product by Oak Labs that, among other things, allows the customer to change the lights to assess how a garment would look in each setting.

Published on February 22, 2018
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