November 1, 2010, 12:00 AM

Macy's offers digital magic to get the right look in-store

Macy's Herald Square, the retailer's flagship in New York City, last month offered apparel shoppers the use of a virtual fitting room to try on digital representations of clothes and and share those looks via Facebook.

Trying on clothes is more funÑand helpfulÑwhen friends are there to comment on how they look. Now Macy's Inc. is making the social part of shopping for clothes available, even when a customer's friends are nowhere nearby.

Macy's Herald Square, the retailer's flagship in New York City, last month offered apparel shoppers the use of a virtual fitting room to try on digital representations of clothes and share those looks via Facebook. The service is one of the latest versions of social shopping tools that have been offered by store and online retailers, including Macy's Inc.'s Bloomingdale's.

The Magic Fitting Room features a body-length mirror along with an iPad tablet computer from Apple Inc. A consumer who steps into the fitting room first stands on markers and has her photo taken so the technology can better understand her position and body orientation, says a spokeswoman for the technology provider, LBi.

The shopper then can enter her Facebook log-in information, an e-mail address or a mobile phone number on the iPad. After this, the consumer browses apparel items on the iPad. The fitting room offers about 60 items, including tops, bottoms, dresses and jackets.

A consumer then selects appealing items, digital representations of which are transferred to the mirror, with the items imposed upon the reflection of the shopper to give her the impression that she is trying on new outfits. "Each item you select is stored in your virtual fitting room as you try on more things," the spokeswoman says.

After final sizing, the consumer can share the look via e-mail or Facebook. The consumer also can receive a text message or Facebook post telling her where to find items in the store. "Reaching out to and engaging with the digitally savvy, young consumer is something all retailers are striving to do," says Joe Feczko, Macy's senior vice president, innovation. "The Magic Fitting Room marries together our goals as a marketer and consumers' expectations perfectly."

thad@verticalwebmedia.com

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