Balmain Embraces AI and Gaming Tech for Virtual Fit Solution

In this post:

  • Balmain partners with BODS to offer personalized 3D avatars and precise sizing using AI and gaming tech.
  • BODS trial with Khaite showed a 93% increase in session duration and 11% larger carts.
  • Balmain’s sustainability efforts align with reduced returns, cutting costs, and lowering carbon footprint.

French luxury fashion house Balmain is teaming up with virtual fit solution provider BODS to offer customers a unique and personalized shopping experience. This collaboration leverages cutting-edge technology to create 3D avatars and provide precise digital representations of Balmain’s iconic fashion items. Beyond the entertainment factor, BODS’ fitmap software employs artificial intelligence (AI) and Unreal Engine, a gaming technology, to help customers find their perfect size. This move not only enhances the shopping experience but also aims to reduce the significant issue of online fashion returns.*

Personalized 3D avatars bring fashion to life

Visitors to Balmain’s e-commerce site can now create their personalized 3D avatars. These avatars can be dressed in meticulously recreated digital versions of Balmain’s signature clothing, including ready-to-wear designs, luxury leather handbags, and classic boots. The level of photorealistic detail in these digital representations is designed to reflect Balmain’s brand identity.

Christine Marzano, CEO of BODS and a former model, expressed the company’s dedication to preserving the essence of luxury brands while integrating innovative technology. She highlighted the intention to create an elevated customer experience that remains authentic to Balmain’s identity.

AI and gaming tech for a perfect fit

Balmain’s partnership with BODS goes beyond creating fun and engaging avatars. BODS’ fitmap software utilizes AI and Unreal Engine, a powerful gaming technology known for its use in popular games like Fortnite, to assist customers in selecting the right size for their purchases. The aim is to reduce the often-frustrating uncertainty surrounding online clothing shopping.

BODS demonstrated its effectiveness in a beta trial conducted in collaboration with the New York-based label Khaite in 2021. The trial resulted in a remarkable 93% increase in session duration and an 11% increase in cart size for Khaite. Such statistics indicate that customers appreciated the added confidence that BODS’ technology brought to their shopping experience.

Balmain’s Chief Digital Officer, Simon Cottigny, emphasized the potential impact of BODS on their customers’ decision-making process. By giving customers greater confidence in their size choices, the brand hopes to increase its conversion rate and reduce return rates.

Addressing the issue of returns and sustainability

Online fashion retailers commonly grapple with high return rates, with improper fit accounting for approximately 70% of all returns. However, BODS aims to change this by offering a more precise sizing solution. The Khaite trial with BODS revealed that customers who previously purchased small or extra-small sizes now opt for medium or large sizes after using the fitmap software. This led to Khaite revising its size guide accordingly.

Reducing return rates not only benefits brands by cutting associated costs but also contributes to reducing waste resulting from the shipping and transportation of returned items. This aligns with Balmain’s commitment to sustainability, as articulated by the brand’s CEO, Jean-Jacques Guével. He noted that partnerships with innovators like BODS will enable Balmain to significantly progress in lowering its carbon footprint while simultaneously enhancing its clientele’s luxury fashion shopping experience.

Expanding the virtual fit solution

Looking ahead, Balmain and BODS are eager to expand the virtual fit solution to encompass more of Balmain’s offerings. This includes the brand’s signature items and seasonal designs from runway and commercial collections. The collaboration represents Balmain’s continued dedication to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in the fashion industry.

Balmain has a history of embracing technology to enhance its brand. As early as 2018, the fashion house introduced a CGI-created “Balmain Army” composed of digital supermodel avatars. During the pandemic, Balmain launched a virtual showroom in partnership with fashion tech company Altava, featuring an avatar of creative director Olivier Rousteing. More recently, Balmain ventured into the world of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) by introducing the “Balmain Thread” loyalty program and collaborated with Space Runners to create phygital sneakers that came with NFT collectibles.

Balmain’s collaboration with BODS signifies a significant step forward in the convergence of fashion and technology. By utilizing AI and gaming tech to address the issue of improper fit, Balmain aims to enhance the customer experience, reduce returns, and contribute to its sustainability efforts. This partnership exemplifies the brand’s commitment to innovation and its willingness to adapt to the evolving landscape of the fashion industry.

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