South Korea store launches virtual reality shopping

today Aug 24, 2007
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SEOUL, Aug 24, 2007 (AFP) - A South Korean department store Friday, August 24th opened what it calls the world's first virtual reality i-fashion store, which lets consumers pick clothes without actually coming in to try them on.

Shinsegae campaign Fall 2007/08

Shinsegae, the country's second-largest department store chain, is offering sales of golfwear and accessories using a system developed by a Konkuk University research centre and others.

"We have commercialised a three-dimensional fitting system for the first time in the world," Shinsegae's retail tech department manager Lee Jae-Jin told AFP.

"The system, developed as part of a government-financed pilot project to combine our advanced information technology and infrastructure with off-line retailing, will enhance customer choices and boost clothing sales," he said.

The system allows a shopper to create a personalised avatar by inputting precise body measurements such as height and length of legs and arms onto a smart card.

An avatar is an Internet user's representation of himself or herself in the form of a three-dimensional model used in computer games, or a two-dimensional icon used for online forums.

The shopper can select clothes which he or she wants to try on in a virtual reality environment.

Anyone with a smart card will be able to try on and buy clothes using mobile phones and computers, Lee said. And people with access to the measurements of friends and relatives could buy gifts without fear they may not fit.

"If this project is successful, we can use the system in other fields, resulting in an innovation in both online and offline retail markets," Lee said.

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