Walmart announced that it will acquire virtual fitting room startup Zeekit as it makes a push into fashion and caters to customers shopping for clothes online. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. In a post on the company’s website, Walmart U.S. executive vice president of apparel and private brands, Denise Incandela, said customers will be able to use the feature to try on items from Walmart’s private labels as well as the national brands it carries, such as Free People, Champion, and Levi Strauss. Users will be able to upload photos of themselves or choose from different models that represent their height, shape and skin tone. The technology will then show how clothing would fit and resemble the experience they have in-store.
Total Retail's Take: Trying to replicate the in-store shopping experience online is a continual goal for retailers, including industry leaders such as Walmart. This is particularly true when selling apparel online, as shoppers do not have the benefit of touching and trying on the product before making a purchase decision. By implementing virtual fitting room technology on its website, Walmart figures to benefit in two ways: one, conversion rates will increase as users become more assured in their purchase decisions and, two, return rates will decrease as consumers will be able to better identify the right size for them having had the benefit of being able to try the item on before making a purchase decision. Technology investments such as the acquisition of Zeekit figure to better position Walmart to grow its e-commerce business, critical to its future growth strategy.