Walmart has unveiled plans to acquire Zeekit, an Israeli tech company that has created a virtual fitting room platform for shoppers.
In a blog post, Walmart executive vice president of apparel and private brands Denise Incandela explained that the move intended to solve one of the thorniest problems facing fashion shoppers today: Understanding how something fits from just online photos.
The problem has become more prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic, when buyers flocked to online platforms instead of stores to avoid the virus.
Incandela said that "through Zeekit's technology, customers will soon be able to virtually try on items from our growing assortment of national brands" and private ones.
"When the experience is live on Walmart.com, customers will simply upload their picture or choose from a series of models that best represent their height, shape, and skin tone to instantly see themselves in any item of clothing, mimicking the experience of trying on clothes in a store," Incandela wrote.
"They can even share their virtual outfits with friends for a second opinion. This brings an inclusive and social experience to digital shopping."
Fashion brands, retailers, tech manufacturers, car dealers, and even furniture shops have flocked to the concept of virtual showrooms in recent years as shopping increasingly goes digital.
Other brands and retailers have used Zeekit's technology, which Incandela said: "Uses real-time image processing to map a person's image into thousands of segments."
The platform leverages real-time image processing to "map a person's image into thousands of segments." The platform can map clothing onto the image because it is processed in a similar manner. Incandela also floated the idea of a "virtual closet" where users can mix and match potential ideas for outfits.
Walmart is the biggest retailer in the world but has faced increasing pressure from Amazon, investing heavily in new fashion brands to beef up its offerings.
Wells Fargo reported in March that Amazon is now the biggest apparel seller in the US after bringing in $41.15 billion in 2020, accounting for more than 11% of all clothing sold and up to 35% of all apparel that is sold digitally, according to CNBC. Walmart was number two in 2020 with $33.43 billion made from clothing.