How Virtual Try-on Tech Is Boosting E-commerce

More sophisticated virtual and augmented reality tools are gaining ground as retailers seek to improve and personalize the digital shopping experience.
Elizabeth Christenson
Editor, Retail Leader
Elizabeth Christenson profile picture

Pro Tip: Solving the issue of buying physical products online continues to be a challenge for retailers, but the increased use of virtual try-ons, AI and AR in the shopping process has improved the online experience for consumers — especially in categories that have been traditionally more difficult to shop for online (think beauty or footwear). These solutions also benefit retailers as they look to uncover deeper consumer behavior patterns while shopping.

More retailers are adding virtual try-on technology to their omnichannel shopping experience to show consumers what they would look like in an item of clothing, footwear or an accessory — along with virtually test-driving whiter teeth or new makeup. Without physically trying it on, consumers are now able to test out a host of products thanks to advancements in virtual and augmented reality tools.

JC Penney

Some recent retailers’ and brands’ virtual-try on experiences include:

  • JCPenney: The new JCPenney Skincare Advisor uses Revieve's Skin Diagnostics technology and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered product recommendations to provide consumers with a personalized skincare routine based on a selfie.
  • Colgate: Colgate-Palmolive Co.’s Colgate brand partnered with Perfect Corp. to develop an augmented reality (AR)-powered tool that simulates tooth whitening results that may be achieved after using the Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen after two weeks of use.
  • Walmart: Last year, the mass merchant acquired Zeekit, and this year has released Choose My Model, which allows consumers to view apparel on a section of more than 50 models, and Be Your Own Model, which offers consumer the opportunity to upload full-body images of themselves to the Walmart app and virtually try on more than 270,000 apparel items. 
  • Amazon: This year, the retailer introduced Virtual Try-On for shoes, allowing consumers to see how footwear will look on themselves from every angle accessed via the Amazon shopping app.

AI and AR take the guesswork out of fashion and beauty shopping experiences, while empowering consumers to feel more confident about their purchasing decisions. Through AI technology, consumers can receive personalized recommendations for all of their fashion and beauty needs.

“AI is transforming the consumer experience and increasing customer satisfaction by offering convenient, personalized ways for consumers to experiment with products and find the items best fit for their personal style,” says Perfect Corp.’s CEO and Founder Alice Chang.

Emerging AI Fitting Uses

Different methods of virtual try-on have been around for decades, explains Raghav Sharma, Perfitly’s co-founder. With no AI involved, cross-tabbing across size charts with consumers figuring out if they are size X in one brand than they are size Y in another brand came first. Next, much like a paper doll, technology developed that allowed consumers to take their image and stick it on a model’s picture to give them a sense of color even if it couldn’t be used to see fit.


Then, with the advent of AI, Sharma says four ways have emerged that the technology is being used in virtual try-on:

  1. Photos of consumers — Shoppers take pictures of themselves and then AI is used to gather measurements and compare those to brand size charts to recommend a size.
  2. Photos of fashion — Retailers and brands take pictures of garments and instead of making them flat, images will be curved so the garments look aesthetically appealing.
  3. Digital body avatar —Taking pictures from a few angles and using AI, technology is able to recreate the consumer’s true body shape. 

Digital garments — Retailers and brands are using AI to digitize their garments, which can be used on a consumer’s AI-developed avatar to simulate true fit.

Growing Segments

Retailers from startups to large household names have embraced virtual try-on, but one quickly growing retail segment is the bridal category.


“Some of our earliest adopters have been bridal boutiques who want to adapt to the latest changes in the industry,” says Alex Berend, CEO of Zyler. “The problem many brides face is having too much choice. By allowing them to try on literally hundreds of dresses in minutes, finding that special dress becomes easier and more fun.” 

For example, Froxbox bridal boutique has seen 66% of their online shoppers engage with virtual try-on technology since March 2022, Berend says.

Brands that integrate AR into their user experience often see 3 times increase in digital engagement metrics, such as time spent on the site and as high as 2.5 times increases in sales conversion, Chang says.

Perfitly’s Sharma says virtual try-on usage isn’t being driven by any particular type of retailer or brand, but those retailers and brands that understand the financial and sustainability impact that the large amount of returned items purchased through the online channel causes.

Personalized Shopping Experience

Virtual try-on along with AI and AR technology can transform a retailer’s e-commerce platform by creating an immersive and personalized online shopping experience for customers. 


“Now more than ever, consumers are seeking personalized advice when shopping with their favorite beauty and fashion brands,” Chang says. “When purchasing beauty and fashion products online, many customers eventually feel  buyer's remorse, because they could not visualize how the item would look when worn. Virtual try-on technology provides consumers with a fun way to try the product on, see the product in real-time and make the most informed purchasing decision. This ultimately increases purchasing confidence, and leads to increased brand loyalty, engagement, customer satisfaction and sales.” 

Zyler, for example, offers a virtual try-on experience that changes the model into the user. 

“We start with an image of a model wearing the clothes, and ask the user to enter their measurements and take a selfie,” explains Alex Berend, CEO of Zyler. “Shoppers are then able to instantly see outfits on themselves like never before.”
With the widespread adoption of AI and AR in the beauty industry, JCPenny’s use of Revieve’s technology helps the retailer to stand out by bringing personalized, authentic and unique shopping experiences to customers across different touchpoints, addressing their individual skincare and makeup needs.


“Customers nowadays demand personalization and are willing to pay more for a personalized experience,” says Sampo Parkkinen, Revieve’s CEO and founder. “Moreover, customers are not just looking to engage in a transaction with their favorite brands, but instead want to build a relationship. Thus, the experience that you deliver is to fundamentally strengthen the consumer-brand relationship and to drive brand loyalty.”

Additionally, providing value to the customer with virtual try-on is essential. For instance, consumers are seeking a hyper-realistic approach to virtual try-on to provide a lifelike makeup application, Parkkinen says.

Offering Consumer Insights

With virtual try-on technology, retailers also can access consumer insights and big data trends on consumer preferences in beauty and fashion, as well as the quickly evolving retail landscape. Chang says virtual try-on insights can reveal: 

  • The latest beauty and fashion trends; 
  • What tailored offerings brands should offer to meet the needs of their customer base;
  • A consumer’s perfectly matched product;
  • Products and shades that are most popular; and
  • How consumers prefer to interact and try-on new items. 

“These insights provide a wealth of knowledge that brands can leverage to create more impactful experiences,” Chang adds.

Many brands feature virtual try-on tools on product detail pages, which Chang says is an excellent strategy as it allows customers to try-on products seamlessly and quickly as they are debating a product purchase.

“To drive maximum impact, retailers should offer virtual try-on across all SKU collections to allow consumers the opportunity to discover their full array of offerings,” she explains. “In order to create a truly impactful digital experience, brands should implement a cohesive 360, direct-to-consumer strategy. This would allow consumers access to impactful digital experience across all touchpoints through virtual try-on technology, digital consultations with advisors, livestreaming, and even interactive try-on through social commerce platforms.” 

graphical user interface, text

Revieve’s Parkkinen agrees that virtual try-on is great to understand the most tried-on and purchased products; however, because it is a standalone solution, it needs to be combined with user input and a recommendation engine to deliver valuable data to the retailer. 

“Once you mix the virtual try-on with user input and an AI-powered recommendation engine, brands and retailers can gather zero and first-party data,” he explains. 

For a retailer, it’s also important to recognize what tools are needed to deploy to drive specific business metrics. For example, while a standalone virtual try-on tool might be great to engage and help customers discover new products, it might not be the best option ultimately to drive the most conversions. 

Leveraging these new technologies also will become essential to the modern omnichannel consumer experience. 

“Those who leverage AI and AR will be able to keep a pulse on their clients’ buying habits, allowing them the agility to move with market shifts and make proactive changes to strategies at the right time,” Chang says. “AI and AR technology will also give companies the agency to make impactful marketing moves while catering to consumer demand.”

AR and AI Expectations

As the retail industry evolves, interactive and immersive digital shopping experiences will continue to grow. “Consumers will increasingly begin to expect AR- and AI-powered try-on

technology throughout their online shopping experiences,” Chang says. “Brands will need to consider incorporating these technologies in order to deliver high-touch, personalized recommendations and advice to consumers across touchpoints.”

AI and AR also are proving to be the new standard for the beauty industry as more brands and retailers employ these technologies to personalize how they reach their consumers, meet their expectations and, ultimately, build a stronger relationship. 

“AI/AR are just the beginning of the future of beauty and retail,” Parkkinen says. “We’re seeing more and more industries recognize the potential of new technology developments like the metaverse and NFTs to reach consumers in new ways and foster deeper relationships through virtual community building/engagement, exclusive product offerings and loyalty reward programs.”