Swedish fashion innovator Atacac – purveyor of digital and made-to-order creations – has swung open the virtual doors to a new web shop developed to entertain and tackle prevalent e-commerce problems such as high return rates.
The fluffy avatar Ami, perched behind a reception desk with coffee and cookies by her side, will help you navigate this fun, techy shopping terrain. The store serves up pre-order pieces released at a slow pace and made in the brand’s Gothenburg micro factory, and there’s also a smattering of “odd items” available to click and grab. Head to the virtual fitting room to try on your favorite garment, be it the Balenciaga-esque Squirrel coat or the organic linen kaftan. Choose the avatar that best matches your identity – girl, boy, hag, hubby, gal, tomboy, man or woman – and enter your height and weight. Adjusting the levers will allow you to see how the garment might fit should you gain or lose a few kilos.
At your service – Ami is manning the Atacac web shop.
So what’s behind the approach and how did the Atacac team set out to differentiate themselves from other e-com players? Said Atacac co-founder Jimmy Herdberg: “The basic idea was to create an online experience that is better than a regular store, not just serving as an online mail order catalogue. Since we’ve created digital 3D versions of all our physical garments, we’ve always wanted to give people the opportunity to try pieces on virtually on their own body type. We searched for years without luck for a satisfactory technology, and in the end we decided to develop our own solution. Part of our vision is to show the benefits of the way we’ve digitized the clothes-making process, and we think the store goes some way in highlighting this. The biggest e-commerce problem is returns and we believe our virtual dressing room will help solve this.”
Atacac's web shop allows you to see all its garments at once on your specific body type
Since founding Atacac in 2016, the team has worked in a transparent, community-based way – allowing anyone to use and tweak its patterns in a system called Sharewear, for example. How, and to what extent, has the web shop benefited from community feedback? “We invited anyone to start using the store and offer feedback before it officially launched and the input we received included the fact that the doll-like avatar manning the shop was something most people liked,” said Herdberg, adding that quite a few customers expressed an interest in creating their own avatar as part of the experience, though this request was not acted up on. “We’ve opted to keep it simple for now, as a complicated process can hinder the momentum of the experience. Allowing consumers to choose one of our existing avatars and create a body-double in three seconds using these – plus view our garments on 500 different body types, should they wish to – feels like a good balance in terms of experience.”