US retail giant Walmart is acquiring Israeli fashion startup, Zeekit, “a female-founded, Israeli-based company that combines fashion and technology through its dynamic virtual fitting room platform to create a significantly enhanced customer and social experience,” Denise Incandela, executive vice president of apparel and private brands for Walmart US announced in a post on Thursday.
The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 2013 by Yael Vizel, Nir Appleboim, and Alon Kristal, Zeekit offers an interactive online shopping experience for the world of fashion. Its virtual fitting room allows customers to see themselves dressed in any item of clothing, while Zeekit’s patented technology integrates an entire catalog of products to allow customers to virtually try on clothes using realistic augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
The three co-founders will join Walmart.
With Zeekit’s technology, customers will be able to virtually try on items from a growing assortment of national brands like Free People, private brands like George, and elevated brands like Sofia Jeans by Sofia Vergara, Incandela said in the post.
Customers can simply upload their picture or choose from a series of models that best represent their height, shape, and skin tone to see themselves in any item of clothing when the experience is live on Walmart.com, Incandela explained. They can also share virtual outfits with friends.
“Virtual try-on is a game-changer and solves what has historically been one of the most difficult things to replicate online: understanding fit and how an item will actually look on you. Zeekit will help us deliver an inclusive, immersive, and personalized experience for our diverse customer base,” Incandela said.
Zeekit uses real-time image processing to map a person’s image into thousands of segments. Clothing is processed in a similar manner, and the equivalent points of the two are mapped into one final simulation.
Many top brands and retailers in the fashion industry have already conducted trial runs with Zeekit, according to Walmart. In 2018, NoCamels reported that UK online fashion retailer ASOS had signed a cooperation deal with the fashion startup. The virtual fitting room feature would be integrated into the ASOS app and used to dress models with simulated images of fashion items.
“We believe Zeekit’s technology can also be used to create other fashion experiences, including the ability to build the world’s largest virtual closet and mix and match clothing seamlessly. These exciting technologies add a social element to the digital experience, allowing our customers to bring their unique personalities and preferences to shopping,” Incandela said.
“We’re confident that with the team’s expertise in bringing real-time image technologies, computer vision, and artificial intelligence to the world of fashion, we’ll identify even more ways to innovate for our customers in our continued effort to be the first-choice destination for fashion,” she added.
The article was originally published by NoCamels, a leading news website covering breakthrough innovation from Israel for a global audience.