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With its DressingRoom app, The Gap seeks to give consumers a means to anticipate how a particular outfit will look on them, all from the comfort of their own mobile devices. The app combines augmented reality technology with the retailer’s insights into the clothing it sells to present a virtual mannequin with which consumers can interact before they make purchases.

Drawing comparisons to Pokémon Go, the app depicts the virtual mannequin in the consumer’s present surroundings. Users can choose from among five body types to represent themselves. When they add clothing options to the mannequins, the resulting augmented reality representation reveals how the fabric would drape, stretch, or hang on a body similar to their own.

The goal of this innovative app is to leverage a well-known retail tenet: If you can get shoppers to try on the clothing, their likelihood of buying it jumps. For online channels, this rule has long been a limitation, such that shoppers often need a push to move from placing items in their virtual shopping carts to clicking the buy button. The Gap hopes that by re-creating the experience of trying clothing on, it can provide that motivation.

Some other technological tools propose to tell shoppers which items would fit them best, based on information they provide about their height, weight, and other body data. But The Gap has not gone this route, based on the sense that shoppers might not want the retailer to have access to their personal measurements. With this choice, it also creates something of a limitation for its app though, in that the images provided clearly are not actual depictions of the consumer.

Discussion Question:

  1. Describe how The Gap’s augmented reality dressing room app works.
  2. What are its advantages and disadvantages?
  3. Would you use this app? Why or why not?

Source: Tom Ryan, Retail Wire, February 6, 2017