September 5, 2000
Just 4 Me
When it comes to online shopping, jewelry and apparel retailers have faced one tough question from the beginning: "How do customers try on merchandise?" Other than going to a bricks-and-mortar store or ordering and hoping for the best, there seemed to be no other solution. J.C. Penney has found an answer, and customers shopping at its Just4Me.com site can try clothes on a virtual model. Shoppers can even set the model's hair style, hair color, face shape, skin tone, dress size and body type to match the model to their characteristics.
Just4Me's virtual models are simple to manipulate, helpful for determining how certain clothes will look on a specific body type and even fun. Customers can rotate the model to see how outfits look from all sides, change the background behind the model and change the shoes to match the outfit. The only thing customers can't do is add accessories. In addition, users can get fashion advice and receive recommendations based on the characteristics they used to create the model.
Since changing the model's apparel requires a new image to load, the process can be slow or even frustrating for users with slow connections. Most who are interested, however, won't mind the wait. The site also uses Flash, which requires a plug-in for your browser and may not run properly on older computers. Just4Me has a search function and users can browse without the model, so someone with an older computer can still shop at this site. However, Just4Me is only for those buying petite, tall and plus sizes, and right now, the clothing and models are all for women. Despite the restrictions, the site uses new technology to help shoppers compensate for not being able to try things on while shopping online, and customers will be grateful, or at least amused.
- by Julia M. Duncan