After making the list and checking it twice, what’s been at the top of many Moms’ own holiday wish lists? Getting all their shopping for family, friends, loved ones and their own household done in the most efficient, painless and least time consuming manner.

This is just one of the many reasons why I got excited when reading a recent article about “try-on technology” in MediaPost.  As is the case with many Moms, I try to avoid crowded malls and packed parking garages this time of year by shopping online as much as possible. For certain, sure-to-be-a-hit items (think toys), shopping from the comfort of a couch or kitchen table is fairly easy.  But for other items where fit and style matter (think clothing or accessories), buying online often comes with less confidence and some level of concern that this convenient experience might quickly turn inconvenient if the items have to be returned to a store or, even worse, shipped back. Given the strong growth in this category this time of year (according to a December 2012 study by the National Retail Federation, clothes have already been purchased as gifts by 53.1% of holiday shoppers, up from 44.2% last year), it’s one area ripe for improvement in the shopping process.

This is where the virtual try-on technology can step in to save the day. It’s not just about the holidays and not just about online shopping. In their daily mission to be as efficient with their time as possible, Moms are quite likely to embrace the various applications of virtual try-on technologies year round, if they effectively help them reduce risk and make their shopping experience faster, smoother, more efficient; in one word – better.  Nobody wants to get more for their dollars and especially time as much as busy Moms.

While many have had less-then-stellar experiences with virtual clothes try-on in the past, the technology has become much more sophisticated and the three examples offered in the article are exciting and intriguing. Just recently, a good friend very successfully purchased a pair of glasses for her son, taking advantage of such a technology from the comfort of her home, minimizing time that would have been otherwise spent getting to a store, finding parking, not to mention keeping her child engaged and willing to try on pair after pair of glasses (not one of his favorite pastimes to say the least!). Instead of the potentially lengthy and painful process, the try-on technology via the company’s website helped this Mom and her 7-yr old efficiently navigate a myriad of choices and even made the process interesting and fun for both of them.

As virtual try-on technologies are improving and their applications expanding, Moms are likely to welcome them outside of their homes as well. For example, Moms often find themselves alone shopping for their children, wondering if a certain item will fit. They might resolve to buy two sizes and then determine which one will fit better at home (which often seems an easier alternative to bringing everybody to a mall, tired after a long school day or during a busy weekend).  Even if they are succesful, at least one of the items then needs to be returned to a store eventually. Often, it ends up being both. Needless to say, the ability to try the clothes on “their children” would make the shopping experience exponentially better and more convenient. How about those times when her children are present? Ever tried to convince a squirmy toddler, a “do-I-have-to?” middle schooler, or “I’m-too-cool-for-this” teen into trying on a bunch on clothes at the store? Not to mention that Mom is probably in a hurry, someone is hungry and therefore cranky or the youngest is in desperate need of a diaper change. She would love to be able to wave a magic wand to quickly determine which items fit and be on her way.

Virtual try-on technology has so many possibilities and exciting potential, both from a Mom and a marketer perspective. How about a virtual try-on, usable from a smart phone?  Now, that’s another item for my wish list and likely a true game changer!