Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Sears to offer virtual dressing room

September 18, 2008

Sears, Roebuck, looking to engage shoppers in new ways, is embracing a 3-D Web technology that will allow shoppers to try on clothes virtually from its Web site in an effort to replicate the in-store dressing room experience.

sears1.jpgThe retailer this week said it is partnering with IBM and My Virtual Model , a Montreal creator of virtual identity products, to revamp its Sears.com site so that consumers can search for clothing items by clicking on images and try on garments virtually.

From Sears.com, customers will be able to create an interactive model of themselves by giving info on weight, height and other features. They can then dress that model by clicking on blouses, pants and accessories. The technology enables buyers to mix and match outfits and change garment colors.

“We’re doing this to really drive an interactive experience with our customers,” said Rob Mills, vice president for Sears’ online business unit. “We’re trying to offer a lot of personalization.”

He said the virtual search function will be available on Sears.com in late October.

ibmsmall.jpgSandy Carter, a vice president with IBM, said she expects this technology to eventually become the norm for online shopping.

“Today it’s being applied to apparel,” she said. “Tomorrow we see it being used with appliances and other types of merchandise.”

Photos/Reuters

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