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It seems like every other day, there's new stats on e-commerce growth that herald the arrival of shopping of the future. But with each new report comes the usual caveats: customers are still deterred by shipping time and rates, repackaging for returns, and, most importantly, issues of fit, sizing, and the inspiration-worthy experience of feeling the clothes before purchase. These roadblocks lead shoppers to use brands' online platforms "like they would a catalogue," as Guess's VP's told Business of Fashion, instead of actually buying anything, or worse, just sending merch right back. BoF took a hard look at the upstart companies who attempt to combat e-commerce's fit issues with a slew of technological tools, and we give you the quick and dirty guide after the jump.
What is it? This fit guidance start-up asks users to submit measurements of the well-fitting garments already in your closet, then suggests new digs based on that sizing.
Who's testing it? ASOS, StyleBop
Two sentence pitch: Virtusize's head of sales said, "People are taking time to submit measurements, because oftentimes they are making a big investment. People aren't just buying socks online; they're buying expensive products like dresses and coats, and they take an extra three minutes to check the size."
What is it? They will custom generate a visual mannequin called the "FitBot" based on sizing details like height, neck, bust, waist, hips and arm measurements.
Who's testing it? Barbour, The Outdoor and Country Store, Boden, Ermenegildo Zegna, Sangar, Gilt Groupe, Hawes & Curtis, Otto, Pretty Green, Thomas Pink
Two sentence pitch: "Shoppers see the tool, close the tool, then they shop around, and when it's time to spend money, they take the time to measure themselves," and it's also "engaging and fun for customers," according to the company's CEO.
What is it? True Fit is algorithm-based, factoring input like personal style and body shape. Like OKCupid for clothes, users enter fit infor, previous shopping behaviour, and responses to a personal size and style questionnaire, and they recommend garment options.
Who's testing it? Macy's, Nordstrom, Guess
Two sentence pitch: According to the company's CEO, despite the time-consuming nature of the questionnaire, "the conversion rate of shoppers who use True Fit on Guess.com was approximately 250 percent greater than the conversion rate of those who do not. Guess shoppers who use True Fit are also buying more items and more expensive items."
What is it? Also questionnaire-based, but only takes one minute to complete, unlike TrueFit. In addition to height, weight and body type information, shoppers offer preferred brands and comfort in a given brand, and they offer size and fit recommendations.
Who's testing it? Nicole Miller, Frank & Oak, Ledbury, Bonobos, Ernest Alexander
Two sentence pitch: Using Virginia-based men's clothier, Ledbury, which does 96% of it's sales online, as an example, the company co-founder said Clothes Horse is a way to "de-risk buying online," and BoF reported that "Ledbury's return rate has remained around 7 percent since adopting Clothes Horse, 9.6 percent of people who use Clothes Horse make purchases, well above average conversion rates."
What do you think? Would you be game to put time into a questionnaire in order to cut down on fit issues while shopping online? Or would you rather just head to the store? Speak your minds in the comments.
· Amongst Promises of a Perfect Fit, What Fits and What Doesn't? [Racked]
· Why Zara Probably Won't Expand in the US Any Time Soon: The Midwest and Sizing [Racked]