Eoin Cambay, Founder & CEO, Swan

Jun 15, 2023

Three reasons you need an AI Fitting Room

Long-term online hold-out Primark finally launched an ecommerce website in 2022, after years of successfully resisting all calls (by shoppers) to do so. And this moment probably marked the moment when we could reasonably say that – to all intents and purposes – “all fashion retailers are online now”.

Among the myriad reasons that ‘all’ fashion retailers sell online is that they can’t afford to not be. It’s where the majority of people shop at least some of the time – in many cases, all the time. But one of the biggest challenges that fashion retailers still face online is the recreation of the rituals of shopping.

Shopping rituals are important

Some shopping rituals are entertainment and don’t translate online particularly well. For example, the age-old past-time of window shopping – spending an afternoon at the shops with no intention of buying anything but every intention of chatting to a friend over a coffee – doesn’t work online.

But other shopping rituals perform hugely important functions – and the fitting room is firmly in this category. Offline, it is the moment at which the last obstacle to purchase is overcome: when the vital question “Which size do I need?” is answered. Online, the same wholly valid question exists, but it is rarely answered satisfactorily. Size charts are a blunt tool at best: real people rarely fall unambiguously within a single size – and, in any case, different shoppers may want to wear the same garment fitted or loose, according to their personal style.

AI fitting rooms are vital for meeting traditional customer expectations

So the first answer as to why you need a virtual fitting room is: to provide the necessary customer experience. For the shopper, determining their preferred size is part of the ritual, and it’s incumbent on retailers to – in this day and age, after all – do better than a size chart. Shoppers need to be able to ‘ask’, and have you answer, the question: “Which size do I need? 

The second answer is the other side of the same coin: you need to be able to answer that question. And not just answer it, but to do so in such a way that it gives the shopper the same degree of confidence that they get in an in-store changing room. You need to impart the confidence they need to choose their size and complete the purchase – and this is why you need a virtual fitting room.

The result of doing so successfully is increased conversion rates. In turn, that means increased revenue and greater return on your investment in marketing to bring visitors to your site in the first place.

By giving shoppers an accurate answer to their “Which size do I need?” question, you can also expect to see lower rates of garment returns because the shopper chose the wrong size. The result of that is that you get to ‘keep’ a higher proportion of your revenue, avoid the painful additional costs of processing returns, and reduce the proportion of returned garments that cannot be resold for some reason.

AI fitting rooms are vital for meeting newer customer expectations

Now, the reasons for having a AI fitting room described above are the same reasons that high street stores have in-store changing rooms. The benefits are exactly the same. Online, however, a new shopper expectation has emerged, and its name is ‘sustainability’. It’s an issue which, in the era when people habitually shopped in the real world, didn’t really exist.

But, in the last few years, younger shoppers especially have become very aware of the impact of corporate policies and activities on the environment. They are also highly aware of the impact of their own purchasing decisions and actions, and know that any misjudged online purchase necessitating a return will come at an environmental cost. In fact, three-quarters of Gen Z shoppers prefer to buy sustainably rather than to go for brand names.

While this applies to all your environmental credentials, this also means such shoppers need even more confidence regarding the fit of their purchase before they will convert; they will not risk a return. Or, put another way, there is a new barrier to conversion that you, as a retailer, need to help your shoppers overcome. This is, of course, the role of a virtual fitting room and is a third reason why modern fashion retailers need a virtual fitting room.


For all the explanation above, there’s really no debate to be had about whether or not fashion retailers and their shoppers benefit from AI fitting rooms. If there was room for that debate, we might as well debate why changing rooms have always been, and continue to be, a vital part of the shopping experience in the real world! In fact, with sustainability a new concern, there are more reasons than ever to provide a virtual fitting room.

A better question for retailers to ask is “How can I provide a AI fitting room for my shoppers?” To answer that question, you are in the right place. Explore Swan’s website, or read some of other articles answering other questions you might have.

Written by

Eoin Cambay, Founder & CEO, Swan

Eoin Cambay, Founder & CEO, Swan

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