The world’s largest retailer is acquiring Zeekit, a female-founded virtual fitting room platform based in Israel. With more consumers shopping online, Walmart views offering a virtual try-on as a “game-changer,” Denise Incandela, executive vice president of apparel and private brands, wrote in a blog post.
Zeekit technology enables customers to virtually try on items from national brands, including Free People, Champion and Levi’s Strauss, offered on Walmart’s website, as well as Walmart’s own brands. When the technology is live, customers can upload their photo or choose from different models that represent their height, shape and skin tone to see themselves in any item of clothing in Walmart’s inventory.
The acquisition also aligns with Walmart’s push over the last several years to become a trendier and more fashionable outfitter. The retailer recently announced several collaborations with high-profile fashion designers, including Brandon Maxwell, who was hired as creative director for Walmart’s elevated fashion brands in March. Combining fashion and technology may help Walmart gain an edge in an increasingly competitive online marketplace for apparel.
Walmart is the second largest apparel seller in the U.S., behind Amazon CNBC reported.
The virtual try-on aims to mimic the in-store experience of trying on clothes. The virtual outfits can be shared with friends for a second opinion, adding a social component to shopping online. The technology uses real-time image processing to map a person’s image into thousands of segments, Incandela explained. Zeekit has also been trialed by many top brands and retailers in fashion, including ASOS and Rebecca Minkoff.
“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. “These exciting technologies add a social element to the digital experience, allowing our customers to bring their unique personalities and preferences to shopping.”
Incandela also welcomed the three founders and executives of Zeekit – Yael Vizel, CEO, Alon Kristal, chief technology officer and Nir Appleboim, vice president of research and development – to the Walmart team. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.