Prosenjit Sen, founder and CEO of Vizl, thinks his company can fill a major void in the $500 billion fashion industry, namely the ability to try on clothes and earrings without having to retreat to one of those poorly-lit closets at the back of the department store.
“Only about 54 percent of people actually try clothes on at the store,” Sen says, adding that men and women 25 and under are especially averse to fitting rooms. Sen says that’s where Vizl, the virtual fitting room app for iOS, comes into play.
“People want to buy online, but the right kind of digital experience has been lacking,” Sen says.
Vizl aims to complete that digital experience, allowing users to virtually try on items of clothing and accessories, using a light augmented reality approach that largely depends on partnerships with retailers.
Users can scan barcodes on clothes tags or in catalogs and “virtually” try on clothing using their smartphones. There’s also a virtual closet, where users can store various “looks,” as well as a sizing tool. Sen says the app is available for free for iOS, and the company will launch on Android in the first quarter of 2012.
Vizl represents a major push by brick-and-mortar retailers to incorporate a mobile, or digital, experience as a complement to in-store shopping. Particularly challenging for retail chains is keeping customers in the store, when they can so easily compare prices while on the go.
Sen says Vizl is an acknowledgment that people want to shop online and aims to reduce the costs associated with returns due to the improper fitting of clothing. Vizl also allows users to try on accessories and the company has plans to add eyewear in the very near future.