If you ever shopped for fashion online, you know how it feels.
The images on the website are amazing, but the frustration of receiving online purchases that look vastly different on oneself than they did on the model pictured on the website is a common problem faced by shoppers.
It is so big that 59% of consumers have experienced dissatisfaction due to un-fitting clothes, according to an Ipsos survey.
The problem doesn’t end with consumer frustration though. This problem also costs retailers a staggering $35B per year, according to Coresight Research, not to mention the 92 Million tonnes of textile waste produced by the fashion industry each year, which would take up to 100 years to decompose. And the numbers just keep growing.
In response to this challenge, multiple startups and tech companies are working to leverage technologies such as computer vision and deep algorithms – and Israel is not falling behind with quite a few startups working on solutions, some of which have even been acquired by retail giants such as Walmart and Nike.
But sometimes it takes more than a few dozen startups to educate the market about the new technology that’s readily available to help consumers solve their frustration.
Google’s generative AI try-on tool announced last month is set to redefine the way people shop for clothes online. The feature, accessible through a “try-on” button on specific products, allows customers to visualize how the garments would look on models with appearances similar to their own.
By covering a wide range of sizes, body shapes, and skin tones, this tool aims to promote inclusivity and body positivity in the world of fashion. With plans to expand the feature to other types of women’s clothing and eventually men’s apparel, Google is continuously pushing the boundaries of e-commerce and enhancing the customer experience.
The emergence of Google’s virtual try-on feature is indeed an exciting development in the world of online fashion shopping.
While many startups including Israeli ones have been working on similar solutions for years, Google’s widespread influence and market presence are essential in helping to educate the masses about the benefits of virtual try-on technology.
This move not only improves the online shopping experience for consumers but also opens doors for smaller tech companies to attract retailers and contribute to the future of this innovative industry.
One of the pioneering Israeli startups in the virtual try-on space is Zeekit. Founded in 2013, Zeekit employs augmented reality to allow users to virtually try on clothes from various retailers. By using a single full-length photo, Zeekit’s algorithm can map the clothing onto the user’s body accurately. The platform provides users with a representation of how the outfit would fit and look on them, enhancing the online shopping experience. As a first step, they introduced the option for retailers to use this technology to virtually dress their own models – this not only helps retailers save costs on expensive photoshoots, but also enables a wider variety of models for consumers to choose from. Zeekit had been acquired in 2021 by Walmart which is already implementing its solution on selected items on the walmart.com website.
Hexa, another innovative Israeli startup, focuses on creating realistic and detailed 3D avatars of customers for virtual try-ons. The company uses a combination of body scanning and image processing technologies to generate precise 3D models that can try on clothing virtually. Hexa’s approach ensures a more personalized and accurate representation of the user’s body, leading to better-informed purchasing decisions and an improved overall shopping experience. The company’s technology is sought after by fashion retailers looking to implement advanced virtual fitting rooms on their platforms. Hexa is already partnering with the likes of Snap and Amazon to enable virtual try on experiences on their websites.
Botika is an Israeli startup that leverages artificial intelligence and computer vision to create synthetic models – pictures of models that look exactly like real human models, but are less expensive and can be created to match different audiences in terms of size, gender, ethnicity etc. The technology then virtually dresses these models and the idea is that in the future consumers will be able to create their own models based on their own personal body measurements and other physical characteristics which will enable them to see the clothes on a model that looks exactly like them.
Invertex was an Israeli startup that focused on creating virtual try-on solutions for footwear retailers. The platform uses augmented reality to overlay virtual 3D shoe models on the user’s feet, providing an accurate representation of how the shoes would fit when worn. Invertex was acquired by Nike in 2018 and became the company’s R&D center in Israel, overseeing size and fit across the entire organization. Nile has recently decided to shut down operations of the R&D center, but the technology developed by Invertex is already implemented across different products and processes within the leading sports retailer.
Memomi Labs is the creator of the Memory Mirror, an augmented reality and artificial intelligence platform that enables customers to try products virtually and get recommendations based on profile, style, and preference. Using a physics and pixel-based algorithm, Memomi provides a realistic and personalized augmented reality experience not only online but also in-store with the help of digital screens that were customized by the company for this specific purpose. Memomi was recently acquired by Walmart after working with Walmart’s Sams Club for 2 years and being implemented in their stores, bringing immense value to the loyalty chain’s customers.
The list above contains only a few of the solutions developed by Israeli companies. In the last 2 weeks alone I had the pleasure of meeting 2 more early-stage startups leveraging the next generation technology to offer even smarter and more user-friendly experiences.
An early-stage startup that developed AI-powered technology that swiftly turns 2D images into highly detailed 3D models, enabling Virtual Try-On for SMBs. Implemented by leading VTO companies in the eyewear category, VRee AI is planning to expand its reach to cover more verticals in the future such as shoes, jewelry, bags, and more, ensuring businesses can leverage VTO experiences on websites, social media, and e-commerce platforms.
The rise of virtual try-on technology is transforming the online shopping experience, addressing the challenges of fit and appearance that many shoppers face. Google’s generative AI try-on tool is a significant step forward in promoting inclusivity and body positivity in the fashion industry. Moreover, the contributions of Israeli startups like Zeekit, Hexa, Botika, and ohersl have paved the way for the integration of virtual try-on solutions by fashion retailers worldwide. As this technology continues to evolve, online fashion shopping is bound to become more personalized, efficient, and enjoyable for consumers everywhere.