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Enhancing the Online Shopping Experience with Google’s Virtual Try-On Technology

Online clothing shoppers have faced the common issue of returning items due to differences in how they appear on-screen versus in reality (Google, 2023). Thankfully, Google’s innovative Virtual Try-On (VTO) tool offers a solution.

This AI-powered feature enables users to visualize clothing on various body types and skin tones, eliminating concerns about sizing and return shipping costs.

Starting June 13th, Google Shopping users in the U.S. can virtually try on garments from popular brands like Anthropologie, LOFT, H&M, and Everlane by simply clicking the “Try On” badge.

Currently available for women’s tops, the Men’s version is slated for release later this year.

What Awaits Shoppers?

While virtual try-on technology isn’t entirely new, Google’s rendition sets itself apart by providing realistic views of clothing on diverse body types via 3D models. This advancement promises a more engaging and dependable online shopping experience.

1. View Clothing on Different Skin Tones and Body Types

A significant challenge in online shopping is the uncertainty of how items will look in real life. Google’s generative AI shopping tool showcases real models representing various sizes, skin tones, ethnicities, body shapes, and hair types, allowing users to preview clothing on models who resemble them. 

Moreover, it demonstrates how clothing stretches, clings, folds, drapes, wrinkles, and casts shadows on different body types and poses, closely simulating the in-store try-on experience.

“When you try on clothes in a store, you can immediately tell if they’re right for you,” said Lilian Rincon, senior director of consumer shopping products at Google.

“You should feel just as confident shopping for clothes online,” Rincon said.

2. Refine Your Product Search

Google’s guided refinements feature simplifies online shopping by enabling users to narrow down their choices based on color, style, and pattern through machine learning and visual matching algorithms. This streamlines the shopping process, offering a comprehensive view of items from multiple stores without the need to visit each one individually.

Exploring Virtual Try-On Tools

Virtual try-on technology leverages Augmented Reality (AR) to allow customers to “try on” clothing and accessories virtually, minimizing the risk of purchasing items that don’t meet expectations. Brands like Converse have been testing virtual try-on as early as 2012.

Google has previously experimented with virtual try-on tech in collaboration with cosmetic brands, such as L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, Black Opal, MAC Cosmetics, and Charlotte Tilbury, offering customers the ability to virtually sample makeup shades on models with diverse skin tones.

Unveiling Google’s Virtual Try-On AI (Images)

Google’s virtual try-on technology relies on the diffusion model, a machine-learning algorithm the company developed. This model progressively reduces noise from an initial image filled with noise, bringing it closer to a target image through incremental steps. Google combined this process with AR clothing technology by using images of garments and people in various poses, enhancing the generation of photorealistic images of people wearing clothing.

Comprehending Diffusion-Based AI Models

To grasp this model fully, let’s delve into Diffusion. Diffusion is a progression in which noise or additional pixels gradually alter an image until it loses its recognizability. Following this, the noise is eliminated from the image, restoring the original image to a state of flawless quality. This mechanism finds its application in text-to-image models such as Imagen, generating lifelike images based solely on text input from the user.

Google harnessed the principles of diffusion and integrated them with AR clothing technology. Instead of employing text as the basis for diffusion, they employed a pair of images: one featuring a piece of clothing and the other showcasing a person.

Both images underwent processing within their neural network (referred to as a U-net), and insights from both images were shared through a procedure termed “cross-attention.” This innovative approach facilitated the creation of photorealistic images portraying individuals adorned in garments.

Enhancing Google’s Virtual Try-On Tool

Google refined its VTO AI model through training with the Shopping Graph, an extensive compilation of products, vendors, brands, reviews, and stock information.

As previously noted, the company employed images depicting individuals wearing attire in various stances. The AI shopping model progressively acquired the skill to correlate the contours of the clothing across diverse poses.

This iterative procedure was conducted repeatedly, utilizing millions of images selected at random. Over time, the model acquired the capacity to produce lifelike depictions of garments on diverse individuals, captured from a multitude of perspectives. This enabled users to gain a clear understanding of how virtual clothing would appear on their selected model.

Why Brands Should Embrace VTO in Their ECommerce Strategy

Beyond its convenience, virtual try-on clothing offers several benefits:

Increased Sales and Customer Engagement

Virtual clothing try-on provides customers with a heightened interactive shopping encounter. Through the opportunity to virtually try on products, retailers introduce an enjoyable and captivating method for shoppers to experiment with diverse styles. This, in turn, cultivates greater customer contentment and encourages recurring purchases.

Cost Reduction

Research conducted by Barclaycard revealed that 30% of shoppers engage in the return of items, with an additional 19% opting to order multiple variations of a single product in an attempt to finalize their choice. Virtual clothing trials actively mitigate expenses for both customers and retailers by diminishing the chances of returns and circumventing needless shipping costs.

Furthermore, fashion-oriented eCommerce establishments can capitalize on repurposing fitting rooms as platforms for showcasing a broader array of merchandise.

Competitive Advantage

The augmented reality (AR) market is forecasted to reach a valuation of $198 billion by 2025 (Statista, 2022). Enterprises integrating this technology into their practices stand to secure a distinct competitive advantage, positioning themselves as trailblazers within their respective industries.

Through the adoption of virtual try-on for clothing, customers unlock an intensified shopping encounter that nurtures enduring loyalty. This novel experience additionally spurs patrons to share their acquisitions on social media, establishing an extra avenue for promoting the brand.

Enhanced Customer Experience

Virtual clothing try-on offers customers a more expedient and individualized shopping journey. It enables effortless item viewing and provides personalized suggestions and styling tips specific to virtual apparel.

Sustainability

Virtual try-on technology significantly diminishes shipping and packaging expenses. As the fashion industry has progressively gravitated towards sustainability in recent times, virtual clothing trials facilitate brands and retailers in harmonizing with this environmentally-conscious shift.

Furthermore, it fosters conscientious shopping by affording customers a heightened understanding of an item’s appearance before completing a purchase, promoting thoughtful consumption.

Preparing Your ECommerce Store for AI Shopping

To adapt to AI-assisted shopping, consider the following:

Establish Clear Data Privacy Guidelines

In order to stay abreast of the evolving landscape of AI-supported shopping, an e-commerce store must adjust its approaches. Here’s how to achieve that:

Set Clear Data Privacy Standards

Certain consumers harbor privacy apprehensions regarding virtual try-on applications that collect and retain their images and sensitive measurements. Retailers must opt for dependable technology providers to instill confidence in customers that their data remains safeguarded and protected.

Use High-Quality Product Images

Allocate resources to procure high-quality product images that distinctly depict a garment’s form, fabric, and intricate details. This practice will enable customers to precisely envision their prospective purchases, a crucial element in making well-informed decisions when shopping.

Promote Inclusivity

Customers are more inclined to place their trust in companies that showcase models resembling their own appearance. Retailers ought to actively pursue inclusivity by expanding the range of sizes they offer and by featuring models from diverse backgrounds.

Offer Customer Support

Like with any novel and unfamiliar experience, customers might have inquiries or require assistance while utilizing virtual try-on for clothing. Offering customer support through phone, email, or chat channels is indispensable to ensure customers are well-equipped for a successful encounter.

Leverage Customer Reviews

Virtual Try-On (VTO) technology is in its early stages of development. Encourage users to share their feedback and reviews regarding their virtual shopping experiences. This practice fosters trust, particularly among new customers who may be uncertain, and provides valuable insights for enhancing both AR clothing and related technologies.

Invest in Web Design

E-commerce hosting platforms must possess the capability to accommodate AI-driven virtual shopping technology. It’s essential to guarantee that your website loads swiftly, delivers a seamless checkout process, and furnishes comprehensive product descriptions.

The Future of ECommerce Shopping with VTO

As fashion eCommerce shifts online, VTO promises to revolutionize the shopping experience. It offers quick item previews through smartphone scans, potentially reducing shopping time and increasing customer satisfaction. Data collected from VTO transactions can also help businesses tailor their offerings and promotions.

Google’s AI shopping tool is just the beginning, with more innovations on the horizon, shaping the future of online fashion retail.

Visit Leadshouse today to see how Google’s virtual try-on tool can benefit your business.

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