Walmart's Newest Changes to Online Shopping Will Surprise Customers

Leave it to Walmart to evolve the customer service experience! While one of the drawbacks of online shopping is you can't try on clothes until they arrive at your doorstep, Walmart is attempting to evolve this. With a new feature on its website that allows customers to see what clothes look like on models who match their sizes, the new Choose My Model feature was developed by Zeekit, a start-up Walmart acquired in May.

The Choose My Model tool allows customers to see what clothes would look like on models who resemble their height, shape, and skin tone. It is meant to help customers see how the clothes would flow and fit before they buy them. Denise Incandela, executive vice president of apparel and private brands for Walmart U.S., told CNBC the company believes the tool will make customers more likely to buy clothes online and less likely to return their purchases.

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(Photo: Walmart)

"Everything comes back to providing the customer with the confidence to make that purchase," Incandela said earlier this month. "We want to have a best-in-class shopping experience online and we feel like this is the shopping of the future and we wanted to lead the way."

Walmart started testing the feature on its website and app earlier this year and it is still in Beta. The tool is now only available for Walmart exclusive brands like Sofia Jeans, Scoop, and Free Assembly. Walmart hopes to make the feature available for other brands like Hanes and Levi Strauss soon. Choose My Model will also soon have over 120 models in total, Cheryl Ainoa, senior vice president of new businesses and emerging tech for Walmart Global Tech, told CNBC. The next step for Choose My Model will be a virtual try-on feature, which would let customers upload photos of themselves to see how the clothes fit. They could even send the images to friends to get their opinions.

Before Walmart acquired Zeekit, Macy's, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, and Levi used the technology. Walmart snapped up the company in May 2021 for an undisclosed cost. "Zeekit will help us deliver an inclusive, immersive, and personalized experience for our diverse customer base," Incandela said when the deal was announced.

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Walmart recently began a big attempt to drive up apparel sales after Amazon recently passed it as the top apparel retailer during the pandemic, according to Wells Fargo research. Walmart has also launched new private labels, brought more national brands to its website, and hired designer Brandon Maxwell.