Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 36 Number 3 2019 pp. 789-822

Try It On! Contingency Effects of Virtual Fitting Rooms

Yang, Shuai and Xiong, Guiyang


A revolutionary application of the virtual reality technology in online retailing, virtual fitting room (VFR), has attracted attention of researchers and practitioners recently. However, it remains unclear whether and how VFR influences sales and post-sales outcomes based on the limited literature, and retailers hesitate in adopting the technology due to concerns about its profit prospects. In this research, we conduct two large-scale field experiments to test the causal effects of different VFR designs, and a lab experiment to unveil the underlying theoretical mechanisms. We find that, although VFR can have a sizeable positive effect on sales, it can be counterproductive when used improperly. Specifically, personalized VFR may not increase sales if used in combination with conventional product visualizations because self-discrepancy becomes salient under this condition. Moreover, VFR significantly influences post-sales outcomes, i.e., it enhances customer satisfaction and reduces product return rate. The findings provide distinct theoretical contributions and managerial implications.

Key words and phrases: virtual reality, virtual fitting room, online sales, customer satisfaction, product returns