No, don’t panic dear readers, Carol Smilie is not returning in some new BBC 3D decorating experience. The ‘Virtual Changing Rooms’ I am referring to is something that seems to be popping up all over online shopping websites. Now, I know that to most people this isn’t ‘ground breaking’ news, or worthy of Sir Trevor McDonald’s airtime, but it is somewhat of a technology trend worth monitoring.
If you haven’t noticed already, any new high-street chain store you walk in to will be equipped with access to computers linked up to it’s slick on-line store. That is because they know that the majority of people now scout out what they want to buy before they try, online. Been the Westfield lately? Notice the ipad bench in Topshop? I read a fascinating article recently on consumer trends in Draper’s Record (The retail Bible, if you will) predicting that by approx. 2014 for young professionals more online shopping will be done on our SMARTPHONES than on computers or in-store. Their findings are only backed up by the Government’s attempts at High Street regeneration and hiring Queen of Shops Mary Portas to spearhead their campaign. And boy, she is going to have her work cut out for her.
Now, I am not saying that people don’t love to shop anymore, but more and more people are doing it online, and any technology which makes this an easier experience is now at the for-front of development for many major online retailers. For internet based companies such as asos.com, boohoo.com and the like, who clearly need no bricks and mortar to see their profits soar (Boohoo’s parent company saw their turnover shoot up by 85% in 2011 to £24.5m) the only logical next step would be developing virtual changing rooms, and cutting edge tools to make your online experience better, and as realistic as physical shopping. They may be biding their time, and only in the development stages, but it would be silly to imagine the future of online retail without virtual changing rooms. Check out Love Rococo and have a play around with their version, known as the Webcam Social Shopper, a great little tool to get to grips with Virtual changing rooms.
The only way is up for this type of technology, and if done well, and done right, it has the potential to revolutionise online shopping further. So how do you feel about this? Do you think it has the potential to seriously catch on, or is it just another gimmick? Would you use it? Let me know your thoughts y’all!