How the Fashion Industry Continues to Develop its User Experience
Lifting the curtain of 2022 fashion week, New York has brought the world’s focus back to fashion. The dazzling catwalks and new collections that set the trends for the coming spring are splashed across the front page of almost every magazine. Here at UX Connections, we are not going to compare which brand has done a better job at fashion week, or which designer has more aesthetic designs, since that’s the role of fashion critics. However, we do have the second part to our FashionXTech series, with an article focused on the user experience of the fashion industry.
As technology advances, fashion brands are finding ways to filter in different aspects of people’s daily lives. Meanwhile user experience has come to the limelight as it helps the industry to broaden its offering, no longer limited to just clothing. In this article we will look at three examples where tech helps fashion to create a richer user experience.
Virtual try-on is becoming an essential element for e-commerce websites and apps. Back in 2017, cosmetics giant L’Oréal saw the potential of AR/VR in improving customers’ shopping experience. The hair colour tester they developed changed users’ hair colours on camera, or in a photo, to allow users to virtually try out the products and visualise the results.
Since then, more players have joined the game, including Vyking who provides virtual try-on solutions, specifically for shoes. Footwear brands such as Adidas and Crocs use Vyking to help consumers find their perfect shoes without physically visiting retail stores. Powered by AR and 3D foot tracking technology, Vyking enables on-foot product visualisation whether users’ are wearing socks, shoes or nothing at all.
Even social media companies noticed virtual try-on. Snapchat has given the green light to brands to create AR filters on the platform for their products. Snapchat is tapping into its famous feature, filters and lenses, to upgrade the in-app store. Considering that users are already familiar with the use of filters on Snapchat, to brands’ benefit, it would be natural for users to try products with filters too. It’s likely to improve the customer journey as consumers are able to try out different items and place orders all within the Snapchat app.
AI in Fashion
AI plays another lead role in fashion-tech. Whilst you might not be aware of it, many e-commerce websites you browse every day have incorporated AI technology. For example, many use AI to give consumers more precise product recommendations. The ‘items you may like’ section at the bottom of product pages are largely fuelled by AI, suggesting to you alternative options with similar designs. Furthermore, AI is used to create personalised experiences. Learning from users’ purchase and browsing history, it knows what products each user would be interested in, and therefore is able to curate items that should be prioritised for different users.
However, AI can do more than just provide recommendations – it can build a digital wardrobe. If you have trouble recalling what clothes you have in your wardrobe whilst shopping, AI is here to help. Apps like Whering allow for a portable wardrobe within your phone. Users can add their pieces of clothing by taking pictures, using retailers’ product images, or searching in the Whering database, all of which would be background-removed by the app. Once clothes have been imported, they are ready to be matched and put into outfits. If users don’t trust their own taste, AI tech can suggest daily outfits for them, even taking the weather forecast into consideration. By scheduling their outfits with the app, users can track how they make use of each item. This gives them an idea of what they really need, versus what could be passed on to someone else’s wardrobe. Shopping sustainably is feasible with AI!
App-Based Fashion Community
The young generation loves sharing online, and they like to be heard. Besides, their understanding of fashion goes into who they are and what they believe in. These behaviours push the boundaries of fashion and give rise to fashion community apps, which extends the experience of fashion from wearing, to sharing, to reselling.
Among numerous fashion communities, Depop and Vinted, two slow fashion apps, stand out. They are not selling their own products to users but rather, offer a platform for users to sell their own, preloved items. Take pictures, upload, ship out – the process is clear and the apps are easy to use. Users can easily declutter their wardrobes and gain money. More importantly, people interact and engage with the community. They follow accounts whose wardrobes are appealing and leave comments under styles they love. These apps give preloved clothes a new life, and at the same time gives fashion a new definition by reinventing the experience.
The fashion industry is undergoing significant changes as new technology is developed. Fashion-tech such as AR/VR and AI have been game changers for many brands in improving their user experience. As a UX agency, we are proud to be part of the force in creating better UX for fashion. Meanwhile, we are excited to see how the user experience in fashion will continue to develop in the future!
The UX Connections View
Over the past decade we have observed consumer purchases moving from in-store to online, making the digital UX of these online retailers vital to their success in the market. Customers expect innovative technology to enhance their experience and deliver personalisation; ultimately increasing the likelihood of them being pleased with the item they receive.
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