Webcam Social Shopper
v1.1.8 / 2012
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The Webcam Social Shopper, often referred to as virtual dressing room software, debuted online in June 2009 and was created by Los Angeles-based software company, Zugara. Cited initially as an "Augmented Reality Dressing Room", The Webcam Social Shopper allows online shoppers to use a webcam to visualize virtual garments on themselves while shopping online. The software also uses a motion capture system that allows users to use hand motions to navigate the software while standing back from their computer. Social media integration with Facebook and Twitter also allows users of the software to send pictures of themselves with the virtual garments for immediate feedback.
Though the Webcam Social Shopper has also been called virtual fitting room or virtual dressing room software, Zugara has referred to the software as an advanced product visualization tool for retailers.
On September 25, 2012, Zugara was granted US Patent No. 8,275,590 for "Providing a simulation of wearing items such as garments and/or accessories". The patent relates to Zugara's augmented reality social commerce platform, the Webcam Social Shopper.
In November 2009, the Webcam Social Shopper was first deployed as Fashionista by online fashion site, Tobi.com. This initial version of the Webcam Social Shopper, used an augmented reality marker for placement of the virtual garment on the subject.
In February 2011, a new version of the Webcam Social Shopper was debuted publicly for the first time at the DEMO conference in Palm Springs, California. This latest version of the software removed the need for a marker and instead used facial tracking for placement of the virtual garment. Dubbed the "Plug and Play" version of the Webcam Social Shopper, this version of the software was designed for easier integration for retailers and ecommerce sites.
UK Fashion Retailer, Banana Flame, was the first retailer to integrate the Plug and Play version of the virtual dressing room software. According to Matthew Szymczyk, CEO of Zugara, the new version of the Webcam Social Shopper can be integrated by a retailer in less than a day. Banana Flame deployed the software to offer a virtual dressing room for online shoppers to "try on" the clothes virtually on Banana Flame's website.
On July 10, 2012, Zugara released an API for the Webcam Social Shopper for ecommerce platform integration. PrestaShop was the first ecommerce platform to offer the new Webcam Social Shopper module to its 127,000 retailers. In less than a week, over 140 retailers had downloaded the module.
On October 3, 2013, Zugara released a Kinect enabled version of the Webcam Social Shopper software called, "WSS For Kiosks". On December 10, 2013, PayPal debuted a mobile payments enhanced version of WSS For Kiosks at the LeWeb conference in Paris.
Virtual Dressing Room software, such as the Webcam Social Shopper, received early criticism for not helping users determine the fit of a virtual garment.
However, subsequent users of the software have noted its effectiveness when matching colors while trying on dresses. The company has stated that the software simulates the "at the rack" moment found in physical retail stores when shoppers hold items of clothing up to themselves.
The New York Times also addressed the Webcam Social Shopper software in an article entitled, "Brands Embrace An Augmented Reality". In the article, a young woman used the Webcam Social Shopper software on Banana Flame's retail site and ended up buying a dress as it helped her make a purchase decision.
Internet Retailer published a report on Virtual Fitting Rooms and Fit Simulators on February 1, 2012. Danish social shopping comparison site LazyLazy.com deployed the Webcam Social Shopper in late 2011 and saw its conversion rate immediately jump with 17% of shoppers using the software converting 2 to 3 times more than those who did not use the software.
In February 2012, the Mattel brand, Barbie, used a kiosk-enabled version of the Webcam Social Shopper for a Fashion Week event in New York City where attendees could try on virtual Barbie outfits. Data released by Zugara, showed that the web version of the Barbie Dream Closet software showed increased usage over a 3-month period. From February 2012 to April 2012 use of the software increased from 20% to 33% and 50% of those users took an average of 6 photos each.
Online retailers featuring the Webcam Social Shopper on their online stores:
- Barbie's Dream Closet Official Website (United States)
- LazyLazy (Denmark)
- K-Bee Leotards (United States)
- Zawara (Malaysia)
- FRENCH MODE - French Luxury Fashion Designers and Web Agency (Worldwide)
- PrestaShop (Worldwide)
- La Mania (Poland)
- Scrubtastic (United States)
- LoWed (Italy)
- Lookz (Russia)
- "Zugara's Augmented Reality Dressing Is Great If You Don't Care How Your Clothes Fit" TechCrunch, 23 June 2009, retrieved 4 June 2012
- "About The Webcam Social Shopper" Webcam Social Shopper About Page, retrieved 4 July 2012
- "Augmented-reality ‘virtual dressing room’ patent issued", Kurzweil AI, 26 September 2012, retrieved 9 October 2012
- "Augmented Reality Software Development Company, Zugara, Granted Patent on “Virtual Dressing Room” Platform" Third Wave Fashion, 1 October 2012, retrieved 09 October 2012
- "Tobi.com Fashionista: Online Shoppers Get Virtual Fitting Room" Huffington Post, 16 November 2009, retrieved 4 July 2012
- "Zugara Engages Online Shoppers With Dress Up Visualization" VentureBeat, 28 February 2011, retrieved 4 July 2012
- "Retailer Lets Online Shoppers Virtually Try On Clothes Using Augmented Reality" ReadWriteWeb, 4 August 2011, retrieved 4 July 2012
- "The World’s 1st Augmented Reality Ecommerce Platform Module Launches On PrestaShop" We Are Organized Chaos, 10 July 2012, retrieved 10 July 2012
- "Webcam Social Shopper For Kiosks Now Available", 03 October 2013, retrieved 26 January 2014
- "Zugara And PayPal Bring Mobile Payments To Virtual Dressing Room Experience", 23 January 2014, retrieved 26 January 2014
- "Online Shopping Apps" Mashable, 2 March 2011, retrieved 4 July 2012
- "A Young Fashion Blogger Takes Our AR Ecommerce Software For A Test Drive" We Are Organized Chaos, 4 June 2012, retrieved 4 July 2012
- "Another Blow To Retailers Virtual Dressing Rooms" Sydney Morning Herald, 9 August 2011, retrieved 4 July 2012
- "Augmented Reality Lets You Try On Clothes from Online Shops" TIME, 5 August 2011, retrieved 4 July 2012
- "Fashion Embraces Augmented Reality Technology" New York Times, 21 September 2011, retrieved 4 July 2012
- "Augmented Reality Revamps Online Sales" CNN, 25 November 2011, retrieved 4 July 2012
- "Try Me" Internet Retailer, 1 February 2012, retrieved 4 July 2012
- "The Barbie Closet: A Tweenage Dream" Wall Street Journal, 13 February 2012, retrieved 4 July 2012
- "Barbie Augmented Reality Data" We Are Organized Chaos, 29 May 2012, retrieved 4 July 2012