Will developers of shopping malls cry in 5-10 years?

Every day there is a new wave of technological solutions that can radically change our everyday world. This is the new world of Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Services. The Augmented Reality (AR) keeps a special place. Now it’s not just catching Pokémon, but also a virtual trying on clothes and shoes.

We believe that the appearance of a virtual fitting begins a new era – the mass move to trade clothes and shoes online. It won’t happen tomorrow, but it will happen soon. Already the trend is spreading fast. According to the latest forecasts of the American experts, by 2018, one in four American and European clothing and shoes stores will close its doors forever. Already on the outskirts of cities and towns in US and Germany there is a sharp decline of open shops. They cannot compete with the Internet.

What will happen in ten years? People will begin to dress themselves without leaving home, and the majority of offline stores will become relics, which we will remember with a smile. Forrester Research Inc. says that sales shopping online in the next ten years will grow more than in two times. And this will happen at the expense of offline shopping. The modern level of development of the Internet puts the “traditional” shops of clothes and shoes facing a difficult choice: whether to be transformed by moving online or to continue to be content with the offline format, risking in the near future lose all customers and navigate the pages of history books.

Offline retailers began to hastily implement technological adjustments for offline trading to the changing demands of customers. First of all, the achievements of robotics and electronics are actively used. With this trend the customers will more often face not the real people when shopping but robots that take on almost all of trading functions. This will lead to stores being arranged like showrooms with electronic storefronts, where the customer will be able to obtain adequate visual, and perhaps tactile and olfactory feelings about any product, but the process of the product selection to the cart, payment, packing, shipping of goods from the manufacturer’s warehouse will be taken over by the robotic drones.

Complete removal of the customer from offline selection of the product will help to implement the emerging technology of virtual dressing rooms. This technology is the answer to customer request for customization of the product, which is the complete adaptation of the product to the individual needs of the client. In the broadest sense, a virtual fitting room allows customers to see the screen with a lot of their virtual images in the purchased clothes, so it looks like you try it on yourself. For example http://www.myvirtualmodel.com/ , http://scala.com/, http://memorymirror.com/.

The development of technologies for on-line fitting led to the creation of services that carry out the selection of clothes and shoes not only by style, but also by the suitable size. It is no secret that the restrictions in the on-line sales of clothing and footwear associated with the inability of the physical fitting of the goods, and, consequently, it leads to the frequent mistakes when shopping.

Among the virtual services for clothes fitting by size we can mention the company fits.me (www.fits.me), in which robots are trying on clothes for on-line shoppers from some stores.

The problem of a suitable size selection is faced by on-line customers looking for shoes. This very topical problem of the shoes selection already has several solutions. The most technologically advanced are the services of Mifitto GmbH (mifitto.com) and “Imigize Development Group” Co. Ltd. (imigize.com). Using the latest technology of the direct physical measurements, these services allow you to achieve a certain precision in the selection of shoes purchased remotely. The situation simulates the physical fitting of shoes.

Comprehensive development of such services will create a customer’s personal virtual stylistic and anthropometric offices, which will create a full wardrobe for all family members, and also for some groups with the same professional features. The benefits of using a virtual fitting room for customers are obvious in the truest sense of the word. But for the on-line stores of clothes and shoes benefit of shopping with contactless dressing rooms is also obvious: additional huge consumer traffic due to the transition from off-line trade. And the off-line stores cannot ignore these trends.

What conclusions can we draw? Online shopping soon will be able to win over the offline stores and with virtual fitting room they will be the forefront of network trade. Current functions of shopping malls will be gradually replaced by demonstration, entertainment, cultural and educational functions. Yes, people will go to the malls, meet, watch new products, discuss and inquire the price. But they will buy the products on-line. Shopping will be divided into two parts – observation and commercial.

The development of on-line trading of clothing and footwear will inevitably have negative consequences, especially for commercial real estate. For the showroom you will not need so much space as for the store with even the smallest warehouse. And already the commercial property developers should think about it.

Request for reposts indicate a link to Imigize.com and the author of the article – Valery Chernik. This is a project for 3D contactless shoe fitting. The name is pronounced as [ɪmɪdʒaɪz], Cyrillic – [Имиджайз].

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