Throughout 2012, we solicited feedback from retailers on how we could improve our virtual dressing room platform, The Webcam Social Shopper (WSS). Well I’m here to share some good news regarding how we’ve made WSS even easier to use in 2013.
We’ve recently built a tool that enables retailers to optimize their apparel assets themselves, and we’re looking for a few people to beta test it before we release it publicly. This tool was engineered to be easy to use, and it will allow you to quickly and easily turn your existing photography assets into assets that are ready to use with our platform. If you’re interested, and selected to be a part of our Beta Program, we’ll waive the WSS licensing fee for 3 months.
If you are a retailer interested in being part of our Beta Program, please shoot a note to info (at) zugara (dot) com telling us a bit about your business, and why you’re interested in beta testing the tool.
Just a quick post to point you in the direction of the latest retailer to integrate our virtual dressing room software, The Webcam Social Shopper (WSS). Malaysian based Zawara just redesigned their entire site, and took that opportunity to integrate WSS into their product detail pages. If you want to see it in action, please click here.
So, what’s unique about Lookz.ru’s WSS integration? As shoppers browse the site, they can save items (via a link right below the “add to cart” button) that they’re interested in off to the side, in one convenient place — similar to a “wish list”. Then when the shopper’s done browsing, and ready to decide what they should/shouldn’t buy, they can use WSS to make more informed decisions on which of those items are truly right for them.
Below is a screenshot of Lookz.ru’s site. On the off chance that you don’t read Russian, we’ve added green arrows to show you the two entry points to WSS from this page.
One of the key selling points of our virtual dressing room platform, The Webcam Social Shopper (WSS), is that it’s flexible. It was developed so that retailers could customize it easily and quickly. And while most clients choose to integrate it right into their product detail pages, there are far more integration possibilities than that. For example, we recently wrote about a client in Denmark, LazyLazy, who integrated WSS right into the main category pages on their site so as to give power users easier access to WSS.
Well, today we have a completely unique integration to tell you about: LoWed’s Facebook Page. LoWed is an Italian bridal boutique with no web site outside of Facebook. So, they integrated WSS into their Facebook presence (note: there is a “like-gate” to use WSS). Now their Facebook fans can browse dresses online and gain a better sense of what they like and don’t like prior to visiting the actual boutique.
Oh, and with this launch in Italy we hit another milestone, WSS is now available in 10 languages.
The patent, USP #8,275,590, relates to the simulation of trying on one or more virtual-wearable items within a video feed, the ability to use gestural controls to navigate through the interfaces and take pictures to share with your friends, all from within the WSS interface.
WSS can be used with a wide variety of “video feeds”, such as via PCs, tablets, smartphones, depth-sensing cameras (e.g. Kinects), connected TVs, kiosks, eyewear (e.g. Google Glass)… you name it. In essence, WSS relates to what is now commonly referred to as a “digital mirror” or a “virtual dressing room”.
Other features of the patent and/or WSS include the following:
ANY VIRTUAL, WEARABLE ITEMS: This isn’t just about trying on virtual clothing. Virtual Jewelry, glasses, watches, purses, and anything else that’s “wearable”.
SIZING & FIT: The method of using body part detection & recognition to determine a wearable item’s size and fit is covered.
SOCIAL SHOPPING: This element is actually covered in two ways.
Taking photos with the virtual, wearable item(s) and sharing them via social networks.
Multiple people trying on virtual, wearable items simultaneously, and having a shared shopping experience within a video-chat or conferencing environment.
GESTURE, MOTION AND VOICE CONTROL: Using gestures, motion and voice control to interact with, manipulate and purchase virtual, wearable items directly within the virtual dressing room interface.
Why is this patent important? Augmented reality powered “virtual dressing rooms” will play a critical role in retail’s multi-channel future, and it should be noted that we’re not alone in our thinking. It’s a vision of the future now shared by companies like Forrester, eMarketer, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft & eBay (note: we’re not claiming that these organizations endorse our platform, just that each of them support the space in general. Please click on the links above to see how).
So what does this “virtual dressing room” of the future look like? Imagine several friends video chatting. Ashley’s in front of her connected TV; Kara’s curled up on her couch, tablet in her hands; and, Christina’s out walking her dog, clutching her smartphone. Nothing too groundbreaking there, but now imagine that instead of simply chatting, they’re actually shopping together too. They’re browsing; trying on dresses, necklaces, glasses and hats; giving each other feedback; and, recommending items to one another. You see, the virtual dressing room of the future makes internet-connected shopping a truly social experience from any device.
Example visual representation of the virtual dressing room of the future.
As we alluded to earlier, cameras are now native in virtually every internet-connected device that people buy. And as hardware (and software) improves, the camera will ultimately function as another input device, right alongside the mouse/keyboard and the touchscreen. The camera (and microphone) though will allow for the most natural interface out of the three, an interface controlled by gestures, motions and one’s voice. In fact, we’re already seeing these types of interfaces in Samsung’s Smart TVs and in Microsoft’s Kinect. And it’s this “natural user interface” (NUI) that will provide the framework for the “virtual dressing room” of the future.
“We’ve been working on our commerce platform for nearly four years. Our first patent protects our current vision for the Webcam Social Shopper and aspects of our future vision for the platform in multi-channel retail.” said Matt Szymczyk, CEO of Zugara. “Our goal has always been to fundamentally change the way people shop. And today we took a huge step towards achieving that goal. It’s incredibly reassuring to know that the innovations we have been making in the retail space are finally recognized through the granting of this patent.”
Zugara is changing the face of multi-channel retail. Since 2009, we’ve been developing the Webcam Social Shopper (WSS), a patented commerce platform and interface that provides retailers with a more social, visual and fun experience for their shoppers.
ABOUT THE WEBCAM SOCIAL SHOPPER (WSS)
The current iteration of WSS utilizes augmented reality to turn a shopper’s webcam into a real-time interactive mirror. So a young woman can actually hold a dress up in front of herself, just like she would at the rack in a store, and immediately validate if an item’s style/color is right for her. No downloads, no plug-ins, no paper markers… it just works. www.webcamsocialshopper.com
If you are interested in licensing our patent or technology, please contact info@zugara(dot)com.
One question we get fairly frequently in new business meetings these days is: “How much time are shoppers spending engaged with The Webcam Social Shopper?” It’s not a suprising question. “Time Spent” is a key performance indicator for most brands, let alone e-commerce ones.
Well, we wanted to share that data with you too, so here it is: 8 minutes and 48 seconds. That is, the average Webcam Social Shopper (WSS) session is nearly 9 minutes long. And that’s an aggregate across our e-commerce clients. For clients that are using WSS for just brand engagement we’re seeing an even higher average, at just under 11 minutes per session.
This means that shoppers using WSS are spending significantly more time interacting with a retailer’s products/brand. How significant? Well, let’s compare our metrics to those found in two recent studies:
A Cyber Monday study by IBM showed that the average online shopping session length for retailers was 7 minutes and 30 seconds.
So, at nearly 9 minutes it becomes clear that shoppers using our augmented reality e-commerce software are more actively engaged with a product/brand than they would have been otherwise. Of course WSS not only improves a retailer’s engagement, it help’s with conversion rates too.
Easy To Integrate And Affordable For Retailers Of All Sizes, Over 140 Retailers Have Already Downloaded The Module
Contact: Press (at) Zugara (dot) com
Los Angeles – July 10, 2012 – Zugara’s award winning online merchandising software, The Webcam Social Shopper (WSS), is now available as an official module for PrestaShop’s apparel merchants worldwide. PrestaShop is one of the fastest growing ecommerce platforms in the world (with over 127,000 stores and counting), and the launch of “WSS For PrestaShop” marks the first time any ecommerce platform has offered an augmented reality (AR) module to its e-tailers.
The module provides PrestaShop’s apparel retailers with immediate integration of a piece of software that turns their shopper’s webcams into interactive mirrors, instantaneously providing a more fun, visual and social experience. To do this WSS uses a webcam’s live video feed, a motion capture interface, AR and Facebook/Twitter integration to replicate that offline moment at the rack where a young shopper holds a dress or blouse up to herself, turns to a friend (or the mirror) and asks “what do you think, is this me?” (video demo below)
“Retailers are finally realizing that the bulk of their revenue, be it online or offline, is tied directly to the experience that they provide online” said Matt Szymczyk, CEO of Zugara. “WSS was developed to give retailers an actual online shopping experience right ‘out of the box’. It’s fun and engaging; It’s proven to help sell clothes; and, it’s a word of mouth marketing platform. In sharing their looks, and asking friends what they should and shouldn’t buy, shoppers are also sharing the retailer’s content as well as their tacit approval of the site.”
“WSS for PrestaShop” also marks a substantial leap forward in affordability and ease of integration for augmented reality retail applications. Its integration wizard was developed to give “average people”, not developers, the ability to install WSS into their store(s) quickly and easily. And with a 30 day free trial, as well as a low “pay only for what your shoppers use” CPC (cost per click) pricing model, retailers both large and small can benefit from WSS.
“Last time I checked over 140 retailers had already downloaded our module,” said Matt. ”Today’s a day for Zugara that’s been three years in the making. To see this sort of immediate response from retailers is incredibly validating. And this is just the beginning, our new ecommerce platform API was developed so any platform can easily offer WSS to their retailers.”
For a better sense of how the technology works, here’s a quick “How To Use WSS” Video:
“WSS For PrestaShop” has been localized for the following languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Chinese, Turkish, Dutch and Russian.
WSS has a history of helping retailers improve conversions, engage shoppers and drive word of mouth marketing. (LINK #1) (LINK #2)
“WSS For PrestaShop” was developed in conjunction with French IT services company Nemesis-Technologies.
Want to know what “real shoppers” think? A young blogger recently took WSS for a “test-drive”. (LINK)
Since 2009 Zugara has been developing the Webcam Social Shopper (WSS), a piece of merchandising software that helps apparel retailers to provide a more social, visual and fun shopping experience for their online shoppers. WSS utilizes augmented reality to turn a shopper’s webcam into a real-time interactive mirror. So a young woman can actually hold a dress up in front of herself, just like she would at the rack in a store, and immediately validate if an item’s style/color is right for her. No downloads, no plug-ins, no paper markers… it just works. www.webcamsocialshopper.com
Headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in Singapore, Zugara supplies WSS to e-commerce platforms, retailers, resellers, brands and agency partners all over the world.
Nemesis Technologies is a French IT services company offering services internationally. Well known for its reactivity, its dynamism and collaborative work, Nemesis Technologies is a leader in the field of computer science. www.nemesis-tech.com
THE SHOPPER’S WSS EXPERIENCE:
1) The shopper is interested in an item, but not sure she wants to buy it yet. So she clicks on a call to action on the retailer’s product detail page.
2) An overlay is launched, her webcam is activated and the she takes a few steps away from her computer.
3) The dress she was looking at is instantly placed right in front of her. Now she can have that “at the rack moment” and better judge if the color and style are right for her.
4) Using just her motions, she can now snap photos and see additional colors of the dress.
5) Finally, sharing her photos (so she can find out what her friends think) is incredibly easy.
This will be a quick post, as we just wanted to share a creative way that one of our clients chose to integrate our augmented reality ecommerce software, The Webcam Social Shopper (WSS).
Typically, WSS is integrated into a retailer’s product detail pages, but as you can see below LazyLazy has also decided to give shoppers access to WSS at the category level as well (you can access it by clicking on the image of the webcam, to the right of the “view on model” button). A creative way to give the shopper an additional way to access WSS.
Last week, we shared a video that contained candid reactions of young women using our online augmented reality merchandising software, the Webcam Social Shopper (WSS). Today, we’re going to share another candid reaction to our product, this time in the form of a blog post.
A young Danish blogger shopping on LazyLazy gave WSS a try. If you want to read the whole post, you can read it here. If you don’t have much time, let me quickly share two key quotes with you:
“You feel really stupid, but it’s just so brilliant. One should almost just go onto the website, just to try their virtual fitting rooms. I got a full break to go with my girlfriends, we just tried various dresses with webcam. It really is the future, I definitely recommend that you try it.”
“I think it works really well because you can see if the colors match. I will definitely try it a second time.”
Of course, we’re not fans of calling solutions like ours a “fitting room”, but it’s incredibly rewarding to see our product in the marketplace improving people’s experiences.
Below are two photos from the post. On the right is the photo the blogger took with WSS, on the left is a photo of the blogger with her purchase.
The latest company to license our augmented reality merchandising software, the Webcam Social Shopper (WSS), is one of the world’s most iconic brands: Barbie.
Partnering with Mattel, AttentionUSA and several other amazing companies we let fans of all ages step inside Barbie’s Dream Closet and actually see what they would look like in some of her most famous outfits. It was just over a week ago that the Dream Closet came to life as both a New York Fashion Week event and a website, but I’ll let Mattel’s press release provide more context, rather than recreate the wheel:
The Barbie® Dream Closet New York Fashion Week Experience
Debuting at the famed Lincoln Center, Barbie® will unveil a larger-than-life installation of her ultimate Dream Closet complete with 24-foot tall, jewel encrusted doors leading into a two-story, 9,000 square-foot set with multiple dressing vignettes. The New York Fashion Week installation will transport fashionistas and fans in the area inside Barbie’s fantastical wardrobe complete with augmented reality technology “mirrors” that allow users to literally doll themselves up in Barbie’s most iconic, playful and glamorous outfits from the past five decades. Live models also will “dress the set” adorned in high-luxe looks on loan from the Albright Fashion Library, an exclusive couture library that includes styles from Oscar de la Renta, Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Moschino, Chloe, and Burberry.
BarbieWow.com: A Global Fashion Destination for Fans of All Ages
BarbieWow.com opens its online doors on February 9th as the brand’s first single, global digital destination. The pink portal will transport fans in more than 30 countries inside Barbie’s Dream Closet with unique brand integrations and new media channels of “sharing and trending” that will turn raiding Barbie’s wardrobe into real-time, globally-shared experiences.
Once inside her Dream Closet, girls of all ages can explore a world of endless fashion, accessories and imaginative play, through interactive activities such as a design studio to dress up Barbie® and augmented-reality “mirrors” to dress up themselves using the doll’s favorite fashions. In partnership with top digital and style destinations Polyvore, Pinterest and Rent the Runway, girls can take inspiration from Barbie to create real-life looks and designs that are all their own. The site also features a section titled “Behind Pink Doors,” where top fashion influencers share stories behind meaningful pieces from their personal closet as an example of the transformative power of fashion.
To date, over 530 stories have been written about the Dream Closet, including pieces by The Wall Street Journal, CNET, PSFK and the Associated Press. And while it feels fantastic to get that sort of coverage, it’s reactions like the ones below that make the late nights worth it. Also included below is a rough cut of some video taken during the Fashion Week event. It documents two young women’s reactions as they use The Webcam Social Shopper for the first time. Just like they would in a store, the young women start to honestly discuss what look works and doesn’t work (for them).
A Young Woman Using The Dream Closet At Fashion Week
A Young Woman Reacts To The Webcam Social Shopper (Credit: WSJ)
We Are Organized Chaos (WAOC) is Zugara’s (www.zugara.com) interactive marketing and advertising blog where we’ll be featuring some great projects and discussing upcoming trends in the digital world. Work — good and bad — will be critiqued. Hope you’ll enjoy reading our insights and thoughts on interactive.