Virtual fitting rooms meant to bridge the gap between e-commerce channels and physical stores are among the latest entrants that add to the convenience of online shopping. These virtual services available as mobile applications and web services, show online shoppers how certain outfits will look on them without having to try them out for real. Sridhar Tirumala, chief executive officer and co-founder of Trupik, a company that created the 3D trial room Trupik Connect, tells Fibre2Fashion how it works.
What inspired you to develop Trupik Connect?
In spite of huge technological developments like mobile technology and e-commerce, consumers are extremely uncertain and dissatisfied with online shopping. Being technology lovers, our team has recognised the technology needs that enable consumers to have an experience of a 2000 sq ft store on the 4-inch LCD screen of a mobile phone.
This is a vision to create a veritable in-store experience for the shoppers since it has been felt that there is a clear gap in this segment where more and more are drawn towards the online habit but are restricted to just buying the garments of a particular size available and what "they think suits" them. Without any product experience, the sale is surely happening, but the scope for discontent is high. We realised that there is tremendous scope-driven by technology and inspired by the conviction-for a virtual experience to be created. It was a sincere attempt to create, and not imitate by working on the habit of online buying. We wanted to offer a solution where technology solves the need of the hour.
The fashion industry is growing at the rate of 2.1 per cent globally, while fashion retail in India is growing at 11 per cent-which leaves us with a tremendous scope of growth. Also, the fact that only 15 per cent of buyers are shopping online, the scope all the more tremendous.
Trupik Kiosks have been launched in multiple stores in Hyderabad. What kind of response are you getting from them?
Consumers are blown away in seeing the new possibilities. Their expression is very similar to the one when people were able to find all the relevant information when Google was launched. Consumers are able to quickly connect the dots to realise that-now at their convenience-they can do efficient fashion shopping at their favorite brand stores using their smart phones, including trying out clothes in addition to being advised about fashion in real time by the fashion advisors of the stores.
Did you come across any limitations of the product after launching the kiosks? How do you plan to deal with these limitations?
Consumers have limited time at the stores so as to be scanned. Currently, Trupik takes 30 seconds to scan the consumer's body. Consequently, we have improved our solution. Consumers can now download the app and create their avatar with their smartphones even without going to the stores. This avatar will suffice in terms of ensuring the fit and styling. With the kiosks located around the city, consumers can get their face scanned in less than 10 seconds. Upon scanning, consumers will be able to see their entire body, including the face, to get a complete replica of their body draped in various garments.
A number of other companies have launched their own 3D trial rooms. How do you plan to tackle the competition? What is it that sets your product apart from your competitors' products?
Competitor's solution is a stick-on solution. To be more specific, our competitor's stick the image of the garment on the image of the consumers. Typically, these solutions are referred to as magic mirror solutions. These solutions do not solve the primary problem of the consumer-"Does the garment fit me? If so, how do I look in those garments?" Trupik's fundamental approach to the problem is different. We recreate the consumer's body in all three dimensions, which allows us to drape the garment, and be able to show consumers how they look.
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