Louise Guay sees the online shopping trends moving from a catalog era to a fashion magazine era – where the user is at the center. The world of catalogs has evolved and people are more into the fashion, the fun and the design – individual creativity will be able to be expressed in the 21st century.
Shopping with the fashion magazine concept is something that is currently available with a product like StyleFeeder (personal shopping engine). What is different with Dressing Room and Showroom will be the user interactivity and the additional personalization, search and stylized outfitting search components.
Components like the ability to import any 2D picture on the Web – it will be like developing and creating a personalized Fashion Book. Development of a Fashion Book is what a designer creates when they are preparing a new collection for the season. The user will have the ability to bring in any product even if it’s not tryable and to move it around and rearrange it on the fashion board. It will be a great inspirational tool for students to create fashion trend boards.
The user can now superimpose their own face on their MVM model. With the StyleFeeder enhancements, the user can bring in any product from the Web in 2D, MVM is adding the capacity to cutout individual items and outfit – which means that the user can combine 2D and 3D items to become the fashion stylist of the personalized Fashion Book. Each product that is posted on the style display page is set to be recommendable by the user because Style Feeder has a recommendation engine.
Products can be rated by the user and when a user clicks on a particular product, it will trigger synchronous ads for similar products linked to an ad network manager, so the ads will be customized to individual.
Users can currently apply makeup on their personalized avatar face. MVM is currently working with another collaborator to integrate these makeover solutions – for the personalized face into the BrandMe Dressing Room application. They will be able to apply makeup, change hair color and style and place the personalized modifications to complete the look on to their own outfitting fashion style board. The user will also have the option to upload their own fashion items. The expanded Dressing Room and Showroom applications that are the result of the MVM/StyleFeeder partnership are scheduled to be released March or the beginning of April, 2008.
Louise Guay is very proud and believes in what MVM is developing to reflect the user centric personalization trends that retailers and users are espousing.
[end of ths series]
What can the Dressing Room and Showroom outfitting visual display solutions do for the user and the retailer? The upcoming Dressing Room and Showroom outfitting concepts will empower users to create their own individualized personal style fashion books and/or catalogs. They can add value (by increasing the average order) for retailers by driving the top line along with an expansive product assortment from 2D and 3D catalogs. The result will be to drive customer satisfaction to build brand loyalty as well as to acquire new users from the social networking world.
The Dressing Room and Showroom solutions will enable customers to help make the best purchase decisions by seeing the complete look prior to purchasing. The solutions will also provide a platform for the retailer and customer to have a private conversation. The user can shop from the expansive 2D and 3D catalogs where they can visually search for the desired items for fashion including a variety of fashion and accessories or home fashion products including kitchen, bedroom, patio or recreation room.
For fashion the user can mix and match apparel and accessories and create their own fashion look ala fashion magazines. Every item will not be tryable because the world is not yet totally available in 3D – but 2D and 3D are combined for the user to access ALL the products. A personalized style or look can be developed and shared with a group of friends, stored in a personal closet or posted to a fashion network. In turn retailers can then present a targeted product recommendation based on user profile and behavior.
The same visual search and sharing concepts and features can be integrated into the Showroom solution. The user will be able to personalize a variety of virtual rooms. Everything that lives together, from major appliances to linens, can be visualized all in one place. User can compare multiple items, to help make the best purchase decision.
The user will be able to create multiple rooms and can add items from the favorites listing to complete a look or to help make purchase decisions. The user will also be able to upload items to complete a customized style or look. They will have access to 2D and 3D catalogs that they can use to furnish and/or decorate multiple rooms (that can be compared, saved, printed, shared and published to a social networking site) with their own personalized style.
Next and last post in this series: Part IV MVM in 2008 – From Online Shopping Catalogs to the Era of Personalized Fashion Magazines
Currently, MVM company products are being developed primarily as tools for merchants. The tools being developed are user centric and MVM is actively partnering with merchants/retailers to better serve a new era of personalization where it’s all about new personalized advertising and shopping experiences. Guay feels that the real value for merchants is for MVM to develop tools that will empower people in their lives not only to shop in the digital/virtual world but to augment and extend reality to facilitate visual goals in the real world as well.
According to Gray, BrandME, I am the Brand is the first social shopping platform that connects advertisers and the users. It is targeted for the apparel, footwear & accessories and home décor market segments As stated in a previous posting BrandMe is a social shopping experience that is focused on the desires, needs and wants of the user. The user can personalize, mix-and-match, create looks, and then share them with their friends and social networks.
What is different now with the Dressing Room and Showroom is the integration of expansive 2D and 3D catalogs and powerful search tools to empower users to create thei own personalized fashion look book. The StyleFeeder collaboration has contributed to this expansion of services to include the 2D catalogs and intuitive search tools. This translates into increased time spent on advertiser and publisher sites.
Advertisers/Publishers will also have the ability to create and serve real time targeted relevant, actionable, and non-intrusive advertisement to users as well as the ability to gain insights (correlations between selected items) on user behaviors to optimize their target strategy.
Next Post: Part III MVM in 2008 – Adding Value and Brand Loyalty for Retailers
Exciting developments are continuing to evolve at MVM.
In mid-November, 2007 I posted a four part series of an interview I conducted with Louise Guay, president and founder of My Virtual Model.
In the Part III posting: Part III: MVM BrandME – A Social Shopping Virtual Identity Experience (SSVIE) Guay spoke of goals for MVM to establish itself as a World Leader in virtual identity as well as for MVM to provide and enhance the real world’s shopping, personal management, and social experience in the digital world.
In the part IV posting: Part IV: MVM – Competitive Advantage in the Near Future (BrandME – Personal ID), Guay spoke about the company adding BrandMe to Facebook as well as plans to enable the user to upload their face for their personalized virtual model. MVM announced the release of the of the Face application to their personalized virtual model December 4th, 2007, [BrandMe I Am the Brand Introduces The Face]
During the course of the interview in Part IV, Guay expressed MVM plans to integrate intuitive visual product searches into the BrandMe application. Guay stated that MVM is always open to establishing new partnerships that can result in a more expanded personalized shopping experience for the user.
Over the semester break, I contacted Ms. Guay to find out what other new applications and/or partnerships were going to be introduced in the near future. She was very excited and happy to share a preview with me illustrating MVM’s new partnership with StyleFeeder – a bookmarking (personal shopping) fashion tool that will substantially empower the user by expanding personalized user options and functions for the Dressing Room and Showroom BrandMe applications as well as offering a variety of personalized advertising and marketing enhancements for retailers. The current MVM agenda is virtual identity, personalization, user generated fashion lookbook creation, outfitting solution, social shopping and targeted advertisement.
For the user, MVM’s personalized BrandMe visual search functions will be dramatically expanded and the 3D personalized models will incorporate 2D items as well to enable the user to become an editor of their own personal fashion style lookbook. The integrated unique product search engines and personalized visual display and social sharing functions will empower the user to develop personalized outfitting visual display solutions to mix and match a variety of 2D and 3D fashion garments and accessories to create and share a unique personalized styling look. The art of fashion styling will be democratized so that every user can become the editor of their own online fashion magazine.
The goal for the MVM virtual model is for it to be totally user centric and at the same time invite additional brands to adopt BrandMe. New brands using the BrandMe application will have the capacity to reach a new demographic using these collaborative applications. The fashion style lookbook that can be developed using Dressing Room and Showroom can easily be placed on major publishers sites like i-village. Most important and empowering is that “any” user will be able to develop and create a variety of personalized visual display concepts that can easily be embedded on many social sites.
Next post: Part II MVM in 2008 – Personalized Shopping Experiences That Connects Users and Advertisers
Louise Guay: Founding President of My Virtual Model feels that BrandME is a total social shopping virtual identity experience. MVM will soon be redesigning their Website based on BrandME and visual search.
In the very near future, MVM will launch The Face. The user can activate a wizard to put a picture of their face into BrandME. The user will then trace the contour and refine it with Photoshop or a program like the Face wizard.
In January 2008, the user will be able to put facial makeup on and change hair color and hairstyles. The face, hair and makeup features will be launched separately on the Sears site but they will always be part of BrandME on the MVM site.
BrandME will also include a user ID feature to protect the users virtual identity.
MVM currently works with companies like Fidelity, Bank of America. Big corporations are seriously looking at the virtual identity concept because as people are revealing so much personal information and storing it –they need to have the protection, safety and support of big companies.
This user ID feature would contain the users scan, size and the ability to bring it into any stores so that different brands could be mixed and matched. Sears is a very vanguard company that has partnered with MVM on several projects including the BrandME personal platform. Sport companies such as Speedo and Adidas are also very vibrant and dynamic and eager to participate. People can even try the customized T-Shirts that a company like Spreadshirt developed to allow the user to create their own designs. Or perhaps the user can create their own customized chinos and jeans with a company like Archetype or custom garments with OptiTex. The user can store their favorite fashion items in their personal closet. They can post their favorite items on StyleFeeder (a personal bookmaking tool for fashion items).
Doubleclick helps BrandME apply the affiliate program to reward the user. So with DoubleClick, MVM has a revenue model that comparable to a product placement. The brands become advertiser and they pay $5 per 1000 try ons and MVM shares the revenue with the publisher. When the user brings the brand into their personal space MVM will reward them with the affiliate program.
BramdME also has a unique visual search tool – If you are looking for a one piece swimwear, you first select the straps, front, back that you want. Once you are happy, select the color and then search.
In the near future the user will not select from images of styling elements. In the future the user will sketch by placing points directly onto the virtual model. When they get to a point they like it, then they can search. They can search at any moment. The user can then even add texture to the swimwear and they can see what they will look like if they lose weight at any time.
The user can send their model to themselves as well as to fourteen other social sites. BrandME is very eco – friendly, friends can dress up each other virtual avatar models as well as rate them.
Louise inquired if her discussion and visual presentation about MVM’s past, present and future with BrandME matched my expectations. Her presentation was exceptional and went far beyond my expectations. MVM is focused and positioned to achieve their mission to create the standard for the virtual identity.
Louise Guay: Founding President of My Virtual Model explained that MVM is primarily a retailer and brand oriented company, their initial revenue model was selling licenses. Today they are introducing BrandME – I am the Brand and it says everything. BrandME is all about the user because the user driving the show today.
Guay went on to say users always want to create their avatars humanlike and photorealistic when they shop but the discussion at the MCPC 2007 also focused on imagining that people will be able to control their identity which will result in a high security program for the user and the merchant.
Guay easily imagines that people controlling and managing their profiles containing multiple avatars. Sometimes they will use a cartoon avatar when they want to play games or another type of avatar if they want to attend a conference or date in Second Life or other virtual worlds. They will also use their avatar model to shop because they trust the virtual identity program.
I told Louise that I started reading about Brand ME on the MVM site trying to understand the concept. After I joined FaceBook and added BrandME as an application to my FaceBook page, I realized that BrandME was a type of social networking tool/platform.
Guay said that in the near future more and more brands will continually to be added to BrandME and the user will be able to mix and match different brands. BrandME is a kind of a social shopping virtual identity experience that will enable the user to be more mobile with their virtual model.
Maybe in the future the user will be even be able to take their virtual model into Second Life – wherever they want, and also to change it whenever they want. The mobility and the fun parts are most important as well as the ability to hook it to other social networks. Sending it to your friends or clicking and changing the background because that’s fun.
Next Posting: Part IV: Competitive Advantage in the Near Future (BrandME – Personal ID)