US retailer Sears is hoping to transform the online shopping experience at its sears.com website by adding both a visual search and virtual model to its entire online catalogue. 

The updated Sears site, powered by IBM WebSphere Commerce and My Virtual Model, will allow consumers to search for merchandise using images instead of words.

They will also be able to virtually 'try on' selected items using a personalised model of themselves to ensure that the style, colour, pattern and fit are right before purchasing.

The 3D model can be built to match a customer's height, weight and  body shape measurements, including a headshot photo.

Users will be able to view garments on themselves from the front, side and back, and email images to friends and family.

"Sears is providing shoppers with a superior social and e-commerce experience that we believe will increase satisfaction and loyalty," said Rob Mills, vice president, Sears Online Business Unit.