Virtual Model Mistakes

A couple days ago I was shopping online, like most busy professionals like myself do all the time, when I stumbled upon what I thought would be a pretty exciting experience. I was on the H&M website looking at a burgundy, velvet blazer (yeah, you heard me correctly) when I noticed a link that read "Try on". Immediately I thought H&M had built the same product that Virtual Fit aims to accomplish. As soon as I clicked the link, I was sadly disappointed but felt almost empowered at the same time. H&M has such a one-dimensional idea of what a virtual model is used for and how to implement the technology. Their "virtual model" looks like a cardboard cut-out of a Ken/Barbie doll with a perfect body and sticker clothing attached. As I'm thinking to myself, "Surely they don't think this is what ALL their customers look like.", I see another link that reads "New model" and assume it allows me to select a different body type. Well...the H&M virtual model misses the mark again. Instead of doing the obvious, selecting a new model only allows you to change the race of the model...WHAT??? In fact, it's not even a differnt model's body, just his face and some artificial skin color. I'm not impressed.

View an article about the H&M virtual model on Yahoo!

So what is the correct way to implement a virtual model. Well, the first way is to take the approach that Virtual Fit takes...allow the user to preview what the garment would like like on "themselves". Why would anyone want to see the clothing on a perfect model, when 33.9% of U.S. adults are obese and 34.4% are overweight?* Even predefined virtual body types don't cover a large percentage of Americans. What Virtual Fit allows online shoppers to do is fine-tune all those tiny details that make up the human body like height, weight, arm and leg length, waist size, etc. to create a 3D virtual model of yourself, not some perfect model who works out for 2 hours a day and runs 30 miles a week. This emerses online shoppers in a rich, personalized, and meaningful experience that helps them find the clothes that look best on themselves and helps the retailer cut down on costs associated with return shipping and restocking.

So what's the moral of the story? Simple, don't follow in the footsteps of H&M. Help Virtual Fit to help yourself.

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