Walmart is expanding its support for AI-powered virtual try-on technology, which enables online shoppers to better visualize clothing on models who resemble them in appearance and body type. Previously, customers on Walmart.com could choose from dozens of different models to find one who looked the most like them in order to see how clothing would likely look on their own body and with their own skin tone across a variety of apparel items. Now, the retailer is introducing “Be Your Own Model,” a new technology that allows customers to use their own photos to see how clothing looks on them rather than selecting one of the existing fashion models.
The virtual try-on technology is the result of Walmart’s acquisition of the startup Zeekit in 2021. The computer vision and neural network-powered feature can analyze garment catalog images to create a dressed image. The use of neural networks aids in the determination of product variations such as size, color, and other factors such as fabric draping or sleeve length.
As a result, the imagery is more realistic than in other experiences where a photo is simply superimposed on top of another image.
Walmart initially offered virtual try-on options for models ranging in height from 5’2″ to 6’0″ and in sizes XS through XXXL across “thousands” of items. This earlier iteration is now available on over 270,000 items across national brands such as Champion, Levi’s, and Hanes, as well as Walmart’s portfolio of brands such as Sofia Active by Sofia Vergara, Love & Sports, ELOQUII Elements, Time & Tru, Athletic Works, Terra & Sky, No Boundaries, Avia, and The Pioneer Woman. The feature is also supported by a smaller number of items on the Walmart Marketplace. It has also grown from 50 to over 100 models.
Customers will no longer have to limit themselves to the models that are currently available. Instead, desktop shoppers on Walmart.com and mobile app users will be able to upload their own photos to create a more personalized shopping experience. This option is currently available to iOS users of the Walmart app and on the web, with Android to follow in the coming weeks.
To begin, customers must first take a photo with the Walmart iOS app in order to import their own image into the system. They can then virtually try on any supported clothing item and see how it looks in real life. When signed in, the photo is saved to the customer’s account for future use, but it can be deleted at any time.
The company believes that this type of technology will help to increase conversions and reduce returns, both of which are still issues in online apparel shopping.
Because the retailer recognizes that not everyone will want to use themselves as a fashion model, it will continue to support the “Choose My Model” feature alongside the new addition. Nonetheless, the company’s long-term goal is to encourage more customers to use their own image to help them shop, whether online or in-store, to avoid the dressing room.
The retailer also believes it will continue to drive conversions, as the previous feature did.
Customers will be able to see themselves on the product detail page and the product landing page. It’s gamification of shopping, which hasn’t really existed before.
In the future, Walmart hopes to expand the technology to men’s and children’s apparel, as well as accessories, and to introduce more brand integrations.
“Be Your Own Model” was soft-launched on the Walmart iOS app prior to today, but it is now being rolled out more broadly.