E-catalog Model Technology
It began on the Lands’ End Web site as a high-tech variant of paper dolls. Now, 3-D models are a popular feature of many online catalogs, including J.C. Penney, Eddie Bauer and The Sharper Image.
The 3-D model enables shoppers to configure an electronic, rotating mannequin that resembles themselves. Everything from face shape to waist measurement to hairstyle is changeable.
The model is designed to help consumers make apparel decisions by showing how a garment fits, falls and flatters. It also shows how a garment will work with particular hair and eye colors. Most of the sites with online models offer a complementary tool that makes clothing suggestions based on body type.
On the Lands’ End site, the basic model is created in a pop-up window called “My Virtual Model.” It allows shoppers to estimate or actually measure their bodies.
Lands’ End has more than 1.5 million customer model variations, both male and female. The cataloger completed a 15-city tour in fall 2000 to present its latest modeling technology, ImageTwin. ImageTwin scans individual bodies and stores a person’s measurements, body shape and posture. The information is then combined with My Virtual Model’s modeling technology to create a highly accurate model. The tour enabled 10,000 people to have their physiques scanned into the system so a model could be built. Scanning stations will be established at more than 50 retail, mall and fitness locations in the United States in 2001.
J.C. Penney has a slightly different spin on the online model. Their model comes in petite, plus and tall. While both Lands’ End and J.C. Penney are My Virtual Model customers, Lands’ End has a more advanced version of the product than J.C. Penney. Eventually a customer will be able to create a single virtual model to use across all sites employing My Virtual Model’s technology. Until the technologies match, a customer must create and store a model at each site.