My Virtual Model enables consumers to “try on” clothes online and this is a business model after my own heart! For companies, using My Virtual Model technology improves their bottom-line profitability by increasing revenues while cutting costs. As an IBM SOA business partner, MVM will be at IMPACT 2009.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Louise Guay, the MVM co-founder and wanted to share her insight!

Sandy: This year will be your first trip to IMPACT! What are you most looking forward to?
Louise: I hope that I will have the chance to share our experience of social centrality and target advertising with the participants. The moneytisation of the social shopping and networking is “le sujet de l’heure” and we have an experience conducive to it! We can provide in the core of the shopping experience of merchants a usage of social media (Show me me how people like me wear this product!) and how the users can buy the entire look with a buy all button. Once the users register their profiles (their 3D models of themselves with a picture of their faces), ads can be targeted to them via banners or in emails or when they make their model appear on a product page. We have also an amazing network driving new clients to our merchant clients.

Sandy: I know that My Virtual Model has incorporated Social Media within the online shopping experience for Sears, Cosmopolitan and others. What is the reaction from customers and users?
Louise: Merchants are anxious to make a sound usage of social media. From a merchant perspective these times command a strong metrics oriented results, we also know that users trust more and more their peers comments. Imagine if they can see their peers wearing what they like and would wear also. They can choose seeing it on similar peers body types or same ethnicity or any physical affinity they have with peers! It influences their purchases and drives strong recommendations. It is an effective outfitting approach. Publishers want to go from mass media to personalized media. My Virtual Model brings each and everyone of their readers to literally try on their fashion picks and hints and all the trends presented regularly in their magazines.

Users are more and more visual and very involved in the process. They already rate products. If they can see the products on themselves and on others people similar to them it has a direct impact on their decision to purchase. It boosts their confidence in their styles, their looks and their tastes and preferences. Confirmed in their personalities they feel good to go and get what makes them look great. When we install our product on a publisher/media site like Cosmopolitan, users read fashion tips and trends and are always wandering what it will look like on them and where can they get it? These questions are answered by the virtual models of the users and the comments of other users on their models.

Sandy: What are some of the more popular elements of social media that users have really loved within the new My Virtual Model experience?
Louise: Users enjoy discovering their personal styles. They also develop friendships, affinities of interests and support the efforts of others. Many great talents appear and are encouraged by the Community. Users love to create looks, publish them on their public page and get rated by other users. They also appear in the most recent and popular looks of the Community and rate other users looks. They love to click the “Try On Outfit” button and wear on their model an outfit created by another user. It is a great way to shop and buy outfits. It is quick and highly efficient. They love to describe their looks and tell a story about their looks. They also love to see how each item of their looks is worn by other users utilizing the feature “More looks featuring this item “

Sandy: Why did you choose to base this on WebSphere Commerce?
Louise: WebSphere is well know for it’s foundational excellence and architecture of openness to integrate 3rd party applications that are user centric. By choosing WebSphere we were able to concentrate on what we do best, and leverage a powerful and robust ecommerce platform to create an innovative and solid shopping experience.
This is exciting and thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights! I am looking forward to seeing you in Vegas next month @IBM IMPACT 2009