Tobi.com debuts virtual fitting room

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For fashionistas who love trying on clothes but don't want to leave home, online retailer Tobi.com has opened a virtual fitting room.

The online dressing room is based on augmented reality technology and lets a user take a photo with a webcam and then try on and rate different outfits. The technology, called Fashionista, was created by RichRelevance, a company that focuses on online personalization technology, in conjunction with augmented reality design firm Zugara.

For Tobi.com, the goal is to build the user experience online for both customer acquisition and retention.

“We are always looking for new and engaging ways to improve on the online shipping experience,” said Jeff Lee, VP of technology and products at Tobi.com. “It seemed like an exciting technology that could be engaging for our customers.”

In the dressing room, a user can try on apparel and rate the things he or she likes or dislikes by pressing “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” buttons. The application registers decisions and recommends other products based on personal preferences.

“Online shopping doesn't deliver the same experience as shopping in a store, where you can browse hundreds of racks of clothes,” said David Selinger, CEO of RichRelevance. “The idea behind this is to make shopping online a more fulfilling experience.”

The shopper can also take a still photo of himself or herself trying on a particular outfit in the dressing room and send the photo via e-mail or post it to Facebook.

“We love the social shopping aspect,” said Lee. “It will provide our customers a way to shop and share with their friends. This functionality will resonate well with our customer base, which is 25-to-35-year-old men and women.”

Tobi.com is promoting the service on its homepage and in its weekly e-mail to customers.

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