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© H&M, NeXR

“Would you like to try that on? Our fitting rooms are over here.” Friendly advice such as this works well in-store, but not when shopping online. Shoppers are left with only images and sizing information to figure out if their prospective trousers, dress or jumper will fit and be a hit. The plan is for online customers to be able to virtually try on clothing beforehand using their own avatar, with Swedish clothing retailer H&M partnering with NeXR Technologies, a company that provides virtual-reality solutions for remote presentations and seminars, to develop a digital fitting room.

An initial prototype of the “virtual-fitting solution” is slated for summer 2021. If the solution works, customers will be able to have a 3D image of their body scanned at selected H&M stores using a 3D photogrammetry scanner from NeXR. A personal 3D avatar will then be created from it. With the help of an app, customers will be able to try on clothing virtually. Oliver Lange, head of the clothing chain’s “H&M beyond” innovation centre, believes the digital fitting room presents an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, customers can find out visually if a piece of clothing suits and fits them, which helps them decide whether or not to buy it. Secondly, the solution could positively influence the way customers return products, reducing the number of items returned because the clothing did not fit or suit the customer. Currently about 50% of all orders in the clothing industry are returned. Whether a high-tech mirror or 3D avatar, the idea of a virtual fitting room is not entirely new. However, there has not yet been a system that has found success with customers.

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