VIRTUAL CLOSET TO CREATE REAL PROFIT

VIRTUAL CLOSET TO CREATE REAL PROFIT

A REALITY software maker hopes to cash-in on its new virtual wardrobe and image recognition program.

Vitail is convinced online apparel sales will boom when customers can virtually try on garments sold on the internet without leaving home.

Co-director Miriam Koenig and husband Matthew McCourt (both pictured) have invested $60,000 in their virtual reality software website, which features the Virtual Reality Bonn (VRB) program.

VRB uses image recognition and tracking software similar to an XBox Kinect console, giving customers the ability to use home or office environments as virtual change-rooms.

Once a retailer has licensed the application, which ‘bolts-on’ to existing e-commerce infrastructure, online shoppers can try clothes on in the comfort of their own home.

The program can also capture photographs that can be uploaded to social websites.

McCourt reveals VRB responds to a broader shift away from bricks and mortar to “clicks and mortar”.

He points out that a recent Commonwealth Bank of Australia study found online sales had jumped 125 per cent in the past year.

“In the next five years, online fashion will represent a $10 billion industry with 30 per cent of fashion sold in online stores,” he says.

“If a business has no online presence, it will miss the boat. Big retailers like Myer have realised this and are trying to catch up.”

He hopes VRB will find fanfare among Generation X customers (those born between 1960 and 1980).

“We have observed the rising relevance of Generation X, which will next year represent 2.9 million shoppers,” he says.

“They are very influenced by friends and are technologically savvy. Our feedback has so far been fantastic.”

McCourt plans to incorporate threedimensional (3D) technology in VRB once 3D web-cameras become available.

The upgrade would allow shoppers to see full 3D-imagery which would project them spinning on a pedestal in the chosen outfit.

“We are also looking to develop applications for smartphones and iPads. About 90 per cent of people shop on their desktop computer instead of smartphones, but it could still work on iPads as VRB works while standing six metres away from the webcamera,” he says.

ViTAiL is targeting an FY13 revenue of $100,000.

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