Alibaba Rolls Out Virtual Reality Dressing Room in Hangzhou
Chinese consumers can now virtually try on products in a pair of “magic mirrors” before purchasing cosmetics. Alibaba’s B2C eCommerce platform Tmall has recently rolled out a “smart dressing room” in the West Lake Intime Mall located in Hangzhou City.
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Consumers waiting in line can use the augmented-reality-powered digital screens to virtually try on and purchase cosmetics such as lipstick, blush, eyeliners, and eyeshadows.
The “magic mirrors” appear to be similar technology like Amazon’s mirror patent we wrote up just a few weeks ago. Except Amazon is tying its smart mirror technology to in-home shopping, whilst Tmall is putting smaller screen versions out in public.
Tmall Pushes Innovation with Smart Facilities
It’s the latest addition to New Retail by Tmall and Intime after TMall teamed up with Japanese premium diaper maker Moony to create a high-tech space for nursing mothers and their babies.
The lactation room located at the West Intime Shopping Mall is undergoing remodeling and the company targets to open it to the public by the end of February.
Tmall is also working with several international brands to provide more baby-friendly lactating rooms using the eCommerce giant’s latest retail technology. The facilities will have a voice-assistant smart speaker and Tmall Genie that are connected to other devices in the room.
Other features that will be available is a “Cloud Shelf” which is a digital screen that offers customers to browse and buy a product online.
Toilet Revolution in China
Alibaba Group also plans to expand the Tmall model to more public toilets around the country. This high-tech initiative coincides with China’s continued push for a “toilet revolution,” a national drive to improve sanitation and build more clean restrooms across the country.
But more important to brands, the high-tech upgrades provide a huge opportunity to showcase products in a captive environment and attract new customers.
The smart vending machines in toilets also offer feminine products, a feature they have copied from U.S. and European women’s public toilets.
Opportunity for Western Brands and SMEs
As the Chinese middle class demands better brand name products, Tmall is ready to serve up more upscale goods. The vending machines being installed by Tmall feature non-Chinese brands such as Shu Uemera, Lancome, Elizabeth Arden and Benefit.
For SMEs that produce cosmetic and feminine products in Western countries, this could be an interesting opportunity in China.
It is also possible similar high-tech vending machines may find their way into U.S., UK and European dressing rooms and toilets. This is just another great example how eCommerce and physical locations may find synergies with improved wireless communications and payment technologies.
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Dave is a Co-Founder of eSeller365. For over 10 years he has been involved with eCommerce with a particular interest in the marketplaces and the huge opportunities available for sellers when utilizing a multi-channel strategy. After a year of being the UK’s youngest eCommerce consultant, he built an education platform called UnderstandingE that showed the world how to utilize Magento as the “Third Generation of Multi-Channel software”.
Dave has also created a YouTube channel dedicated to entrepreneurship and eCommerce as well as a podcast dedicated to mental health awareness. When Dave isn’t working his main interests include learning and playing Chess, researching the Crypto and NFT space, and trying to find the nearest beach.