COVID-19 has left a permanent mark on the retail industry, leaving companies scrambling to re-open their doors quickly yet safely, as everyone tries to figure out the “new normal.” The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the whole strategy of retail. According to First Insight Chief Executive Greg Petro in a CNBC article, the industry has moved away from high touch to low touch (Thomas, Here’s). One specific way that the industry is changing is through virtual dressing rooms. Companies like Fit:Match have developed the technology to complete a body scan in 10 seconds, giving participants their size for multiple retailers. Though this technology has been in the works for years, the coronavirus has given it a boost in popularity (Thomas, No). The Fit:Match program gives everyone an ID number, which would allow customers to change their information as their bodies change over time (Thomas, No). This technology provides a contactless try-on experience, that a lot of stores are beginning to implement in their dressing rooms to allow customers to feel safe while shopping, but still getting to see clothing items on before purchasing.
Additionally, stores are extending return policies and making them more lenient so that customers can try on items at home, but return if they do not work. Stores will then hold returned items for at least 24 hours, if not more, before returning them to the floor. There are technologies being developed and tested that will kill viruses on clothes, one with ultra-violet light and another with a sanitizing system (Thomas, Here’s).
Despite the re-opening of stores, customers are still not comfortable shopping in the ways we have in the past, and eventually all stores will have to implement these types of technologies to ensure customer and employee safety. Over the next few months we will see the changes and adaptations to this “new normal” in retailers across America and the world.
Photo from CNBC Article: “No More Dressing Rooms: This Virtual Fitting Experience Is Moving into Brookfield Malls.”
Thomas, Lauren. “Here's How You'll Be Safely Shopping for Clothes as Stores Begin to Reopen.” CNBC, CNBC, 11 May 2020, 11:09 AM, www.cnbc.com/2020/05/11/coronavirus-how-to-safely-shop-for-clothes-as-stores-reopen.html.
---. “No More Dressing Rooms: This Virtual Fitting Experience Is Moving into Brookfield Malls.” CNBC, CNBC, 30 June 2020, 9:13 AM, www.cnbc.com/2020/06/30/fitmatch-a-virtual-fitting-experience-moves-into-brookfield-malls.html.