Walmart has launched Choose My Model, a feature that allows shoppers to see what someone’s clothes would look like with a similar size, shape and skin tone. The technology is powered by Zeekit, a startup acquired by Walmart.
Walmart shoppers have a new reason to skip the fitting room.
Instead of trying on a pile of clothes, they can turn to a high-tech tool on the retailer’s website and app to do the heavy lifting.
The new tool, Choose My Model, allows a buyer to choose someone who resembles their height, shape and skin tone. The feature, powered by computer vision and artificial intelligence, shows how a garment would flow and fit on a similar body.
Choose My Model is the first implementation of Zeekit, a startup that Walmart acquired in May for an undisclosed sum. Walmart, the nation’s largest grocer by revenue, has taken a bold step into fashion by launching new private labels, hiring fashion designer Brandon Maxwell and adding more national brands to its website. The technology goes a step further by making it easier for shoppers to imagine what clothes would look like without walking into a store.
“It all comes down to giving the customer the confidence to make that purchase,” said Denise Incandela, executive vice president of apparel and private labels for Walmart US. “We want to have the best in class online shopping experience and we believe it’s shopping of the future and we wanted to lead the way.”
She said the new tool makes customers more likely to click the “buy” button, especially on items with a slightly higher price or an unknown brand. It could also have another benefit for Walmart, she said: a lower rate of return.
Prior to the acquisition, major brands and retailers including Macy’s, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger and Levi used Zeekit’s technology.
Walmart is looking for apparel to drive online sales growth and fend off Amazon as well. Amazon has overthrown Walmart to become the number one clothing retailer in the United States during the pandemic, according to research by Wells Fargo. Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce sales grew 11% in the last fiscal year or 90% over two years.
Walmart began testing the Choose My Model tool on its website and app earlier this year, said Cheryl Ainoa, senior vice president of new businesses and emerging technologies for Walmart Global Tech. The feature, which is in beta, is available on select items from Walmart’s exclusive brands, including Free Assembly, Scoop and Sofia Jeans.
In the coming months, Walmart plans to add items from other brands, including national brands like Hanes and Levi Strauss.
Ainoa said customers who tested the feature gave Walmart positive feedback, but wanted to see even more designs that reflected the diversity of shoppers, regardless of ethnicity and hair color, whether they were small. , large, tall or curvy. Choose My Model launched with 50 female models and Walmart plans to add 70 more in the coming months, she said.
The next phase of the technology’s rollout will be a virtual try-on feature, which will allow customers to upload their own photos to see how the garments fit and even share that photo with friends to get their feedback.
Ainoa said she was excited to see the technology available on more wearable items for another reason. She said she recently spent two hours trying on 10 different pairs of jeans.
With the Choose My Style tool, she said she could have limited herself to two pairs to try on during a store visit — or skip the trip altogether.