Published: 19 May 2014
Ecommerce is growing fast. Last year in the UK over £38 billion was spent at the click of a mouse, thats a 16.8% growth on last year. You only need to look at the runaway success of brands like ‘Asos’ or ‘Net a Porter’ to see that one of the largest sectors within the ecommerce industry is fashion & accessories retailing. It strikes me as a rather strange success story, when you consider that fashion and garment retail is an incredibly personal purchase, and is so closely tied to self-image and tactile look and feel.

You would expect sectors like electrical and gadget retail to sit easily within the ecommercefamily, as they lend themselves to online browsing and are easily distributed. When it comes to fashion & accessories however, one would think that the consumer would need to see garments in the flesh, experience the tactile sense of the fabric and, dare I say it,.. actually try the garment on before making a purchase.

Clearly this is not the case, and ecommerce outfits (hehe..) have had to think outside the box in presenting their products to the consumer, whilst considering the many constraints that the digital sphere places upon them. Namely things like bandwidth limiting the size of images, and the speed at which images and content can be distributed and downloaded across networks and devices. 

Due to the ever improving speeds and quality of ourdigital infrastructure though, fashion & accessory retailers are going to even greater lengths in order to give the consumer a better idea of what they are getting when they are considering a purchase.

Enter the ‘Virtual Try On’!

Some accessory retailers like Ditto (glasses and sunglasses), Boutique Accessories (Jewellery) are dipping their toe in the water by implementing Augmented Reality (AR) ‘try it on’ services that make use of the consumers webcam and allow them to see what the product will actually look like on the wearer via a ‘virtual mirror’. 

It remains to be seen how successful these approaches will be.. After all, the tech has been around for a number of years, but its only now that internet speeds and browser capabilities have improved to such a degree that the virtual mirror can become viable and possibly even mainstream.

Its still early days, and the big players like Asos, Net a Porter and Burberry still have not adopted this approach on their sites. So the question is: Will the tech improve enough to attract wider adoption or will it remain a gimmicky approach? Only time and google analytics will tell!

I believe that this sort of AR approach will eventually win through, and the ecommerce shopping experience will include a full virtual try on service. However it will take still further leaps in tech and wider adoption of things like ‘google glass’ & ‘oculus rift’ before the experience feels natural and professional enough to go mainstream.

Meanwhile here’s some of the best attempts I have garnered from around the web:

By far the best so far:

Pretty good:

Other Angles:


Sarah Dennis

Marketing Manager


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