- As online sales skyrocketed in the past year, Walmart is integrating a new virtual try-on feature to encourage more e-commerce sales in the future. The big-box retailer announced that it plans to acquire Zeekit — a female-founded startup based in Israel. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- The virtual try-on experience will be available at Walmart.com, said Denise Incandela, Walmart U.S.'s executive vice president of apparel and private brands. Consumers can upload their photos or pick a model that represents their body type, height and skin tone, with the option to share their outfits with friends.
- As part of the deal, the company welcomed Zeekit's three founders — CEO Yael Vizel, Chief Technology Officer Alon Kristal and Vice President of Research and Development Nir Appleboim — to Walmart, according to the Thursday announcement.
Having a virtual try-on feature gives consumers a better idea of how a clothing item fits them and whether it matches their features — a solution to what has historically been a problem for many online brands, and for retailers last year when fitting rooms closed.
Acquiring Zeekit allows customers to test out apparel from Walmart's selection of national brands like Free People, Champion and Levi Strauss, along with their private labels and elevated brands, per the announcement.
"Given its scalability, we believe Zeekit's technology can also be used to create other fashion experiences, including the ability to build the world's largest virtual closet and mix and match clothing seamlessly," Incandela wrote in the announcement. "These exciting technologies add a social element to the digital experience, allowing our customers to bring their unique personalities and preferences to shopping."
Walmart's acquisition might mean that it is trying to get a better share of a market that experts project to grow exponentially over the next few years. Adobe's recent report estimated e-commerce spending will grow between $850 billion and $930 billion in 2021 and reach $1 trillion in 2022.
The retailer itself saw tremendous online sales growth in 2020. Walmart's e-commerce sales rose 79% for the fiscal year and 69% year over year in the fourth quarter.
But this technology is nothing new. In fact, both e-commerce and name brands have debuted capabilities that allow consumers to virtually test items before purchase.
MySize and Sweet Fit launched a virtual fitting mirror last year that uses AR to scan a consumer's body to help them choose the right clothing size. Sephora and other beauty companies have released AR try-on technology as far back as 2014 to make product testing more sanitary.
Snapchat has also jumped on the virtual try-on train with its recent acquisition of sizing tech company Fit Analytics and partnership with Gucci. During the company's 2021 Investor Day, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said he sees the potential for this feature to reduce returns in the future.