The Unconventional Insider’s Guide To Virtual Sampling
Have you noticed how giant automobile companies launch virtual prototypes for their upcoming models? Not only automobile companies, but also architects, furniture sellers, mobile companies, and others. My question may seem absurd to you. It is because we are habitual of seeing these technological advancements taking place and growing enormously around us. However, it isn’t the same scenario for the fashion industry. Whilst digital evolution is applauded in other industries, the fashion industry has been rather resistant to its adoption. In an industry that solely runs on material observance and detail specifications, it becomes radical to take up virtual apparel solutions such as digital product sampling.
Yes, we are acknowledging the big elephant in the room that is virtual sampling. With most of you vaguely aware of the term and technology. We are talking about the elimination of physical product samples. Now the idea may seem a little crazy to you, but hear us out. Imagine going through the entire sampling stage without creating multiple samples or a sample at all? Think of all the time and money you’ll be saving. With virtual sampling software, you can make it happen. You can utilize your money and time for other valuable inputs. Virtual product sampling is an efficient and cost-saving way of manufacturing your products. From product design, development to sampling, it can fulfill your needs within weeks, unlike physical sampling.
What Are You Missing Out On?
A decade ago nobody would have believed that physical samples can be on the verge of extinction. However, with 3D sampling solutions entering the market of fashion and design, things have taken a different route. Over time retailers and brands have discerned the limitations of the supply chain in fashion industry. A need for a more accessible and affordable supply chain has emerged and virtual apparel solutions happen to meet the exact parameters.
With its benefits coming to light, many renowned brands have already made the digital switch. Brands such as Adidas, Coach, Under Armour, Nike, Victoria’s Secret, and many more are using 3D sampling solutions to stay at the top of their game. Surveys have claimed that many other brands including small-scale and local businesses will also be making the switch in near future. Here’s what virtual product sampling can offer you and how your business can benefit from it.
Your Valuable Time And Money
The process of sampling is a very important aspect of product manufacturing. The whole line of production depends on a single sample. Thus, it is essential to get the right fit, size, trims, and designs in a single sample. However, the possibility of achieving it all in a single go is nearly impossible. You have to create samples over samples until you reach your desired design and quality. The process is tiresome and includes a lot of moving around of samples between manufacturers and sellers. There are times when the fit and size are perfect, but the buyer needs to see the sample in fabric variants. Thus, you end up sourcing fabric that may not be used at all in the end.
All these factors are not only time taking, but also costly. Imagine going over the whole process over and over, bearing the cost of resampling, production, and moving cost again. This is where virtual sampling software can be a relief. You can create virtual prototypes and make any number of changes you want without spending a penny. Be it changes to the size, fit, fabric, or color. You can easily make the changes to your sample and share it within your work chain. The 3D samples can be viewed from multiple angles, giving you a realistic view. The changes made are faster in comparison to traditional methods. Besides, you don’t have to spend on labor costs or sampling fabric.
Your Product’s Reach And Visibility
To sell, you need to engage your consumers with your products. Whether you are catering to the B2B sector or dealing directly with the consumers. Consumers need to engage with the product to make a purchase. However, with a physical footprint, you can only target a limited audience. With virtual product sampling, you can sell your products across countries without sending a physical sample. You can bridge the gap between your consumer and your product by sharing a 3D design. It enables you to increase your product’s visibility and widens your consumer base as well. Also, it becomes easier for you to make iterations to the products based on consumer feedback.
A Wider Offering
Now that we have talked about expanding your target audience, let’s consider doing the same for your products. By using virtual sampling software you can create inclusivity in your products. It opens up the opportunity for you to put out an array of products. You can showcase similar products in multiple colors or different fabrics to your client. You can create multiple prototypes from a single design without creating any physical sample. Remember, your consumer will buy what they see. If you fail to show them a variety of products to choose from, you’ll lose them. Virtual product sampling can help you fulfill the demands of the market more efficiently without spending any initial costs. Such advantages can benefit small-scale retailers and brands immensely.
A Final Overview
Now that you know the key benefits of incorporating digital product sampling in your business matrix. The next question to pop into your mind will be how to? While many brands and businesses are making the real deal out of it. There are still many businesses especially the local or small-scale ones who are not yet ready for the change. Besides, there can be some challenges you might face before adopting virtual apparel solutions, such as:
1. Credibility You may find it difficult to trust virtual solutions. Many brands and business owners will be skeptical about using 3D solutions. You will also have to consider whether your audience will show trust towards your 3D-generated garments or not.
2. 3D Skillset It can be a challenge for you to make the change within your company hierarchy. While there will be several designers, pattern makers, and tech-savvies in your company. They might not have the required skill set for 3D designing and adoption.
3. There’s Room For Improvement While the software has a lot of benefits, there are still many improvements that can be made. For example, it is easy to showcase basic wear using virtual sampling solutions. However, with ruffled, padded, or detailed clothing, you need a more advanced tool to work with.
Yet it is necessary to keep in mind that these challenges are subtle and easy to overcome. There’s a reason the fashion retail industry is going through a major shift with more and more brands opting for virtual apparel solutions. You should consider your brand’s values and other factors like whether it will benefit from implementing 3D solutions or not before taking the final call. Read and research about your peers and competitors, learn about the journey of brands who have already opted for 3D sampling. This will help you get a better idea of the challenges and benefits you may experience. On the other side, you must not repel the fact that change is inevitable in the digital age.
Biography of the author & photo of the author
A problem solver, fashion tech expert and Ph.D. holder from the University of California. I am the Founder & CEO of FlixStock Private Limited. We aim to Digitally Transform the Design and Imagery process of the eCommerce supply chain. Our solutions are not only cost-efficient but also enable faster go-to-market. FlixStock is currently working with the top 30 retailers across the world. I stay on top of all the latest E-Commerce innovations and technologies. I aim to help more and more businesses Digitally Transform their Design and Imagery process.