Walmart is expanding its support for AI-powered virtual try-on technology that allows online shoppers to better see clothes on models that resemble themselves, both in appearance and body type. In the past, Walmart.com customers could choose from a wide variety of models to find the perfect fit to see how clothes look on their body and on different skin tones. Now the retailer is launching a new technology called “Be Your Own Model”, which allows shoppers to use their own photos to see how their outfits would look, rather than choosing one of the existing fashion models.
Virtual testing technology is the start of Walmart’s 2021 acquisition of Zeykit. A feature powered by computer vision and neural networks can analyze clothing catalog images to create a dressed-up image. The use of neural networks can help determine different variations, including product size, color, and other factors—for example, the hem of a fabric or the length of a sleeve.
According to Walmart, a photo is a more realistic image than some experiences that are simply superimposed on another image. This makes it feel different from other technologies, such as AR-enabled shopping, notes Cheryl Inoa, Walmart’s SVP of New Businesses and Emerging Tech.
“Where we haven’t heard that customers are satisfied is that a lot of AR experiences are basically the equivalent of taking a flat image and placing it on top of a flat image,” she says. “This article of clothing does not allow you to feel what it looks like on me.”
Initially, Walmart offered virtual try-on options on models between 5’2″ and 6’0″ tall and “thousands” of items from XS to XXXL. As of today, this early iteration includes more than 270,000 items from brands such as Champion, Levi’s & Hans, and Walmart’s portfolio of brands, Sofia Active by Sofia Vergara, Love & Sports, ELOQUII Elements, Time & Tru Athletic Works, Terra & Sky, Borderless, Avia and the Pioneer Woman. A small number of items on the Walmart Marketplace support the feature. It has also expanded from 50 models to over 100 now.
With the upcoming expansion, customers don’t just have to choose from the current models.
Instead, desktop shoppers on Walmart.com and users of the Walmart mobile app can use their own photos to create a more personalized shopping experience. This option will first roll out to Walmart app and web users on Android in the coming weeks.
To get started, customers must first take a photo of themselves with the Walmart iOS app to enter their self-image into the system. From there, you can try on any of the supported clothing items and see how it looks exactly. If logged in, the photo will remain associated with the customer’s account for future use, but can be deleted at any time.
The company believes this type of technology will go a long way toward increasing conversions and reducing bounces — issues that still plague online apparel shopping today.
According to Dennis Incandella, Walmart EVP Apparel Division and Private Brands, the original “Pick My Model” feature has really been successful on that front.
“We are very excited about the understanding that has come [the ‘Choose My Model’ feature]”That’s why we’ve gone from 50 models to 120 and we’ll continue to invest in it,” she says.
Walmart declined to share specific metrics on the increase in conversions, however, or the impact on returns, as the technique is still new.
The retailer accepts that not everyone wants to use themselves as a fashion model, which is why it continues to support the “Choose my model” feature with its new addition. Still, the company’s long-term goal is to push more customers to use their own image to help them shop — whether it’s online or in-store, to skip the dressing room.
The retailer also suspects that its previous feature will continue to help drive conversions.
“This will be the first time [customers] They can see themselves. And see themselves in the product details page; They will see themselves on the product landing page. “Honestly, to begin with, that’s why I’m so excited about Zikit’s product – because shopping has never existed before… we think this is the future of shopping,” says Incandella.
Down the road, Walmart wants to expand the technology into men’s and children’s apparel and even accessories, as well as introduce more brand integration.
“Be Your Own Model” had a soft launch earlier today on Walmart’s iOS app, but is rolling out widely starting today.