One of the biggest challenges for retail businesses and consumers is finding clothes that fit. For online merchants, only 7% of online revenue is generated through clothing sales and 40% of clothing and apparel purchased from online merchants is typically returned. The top reason cited for returning purchased items is poor fit among 60% of current U.S. consumers, creating significant impact on industry profits and underutilizing the full potential of online commerce, according to Detecon USA Consulting.
Those challenges mean online sizing is ripe for new technology, however, and these five innovators have some answers. Check out what sets each of them apart:
1. Clothes Horse
Clothes Horse is arguably the industry leader right now in fit guidance solutions for online shopping. The company partnered with BrightTag ONE in late 2012, offering the program on a real-time platform to BrightTag ONE marketing and analytics merchants. A statement on the company’s website declares, “Retailers using Clothes Horse experience 15% increase in sales, 12% increase in average order, and 10% reduction in returns. In addition, 85%+ of shoppers say that Clothes Horse improved their shopping experience.”
Clothes Horse was named one of the top 25 startup companies in New York City by Business Insider. Utilizing a digital icon on product pages to access the service, the program creates a profile based on a series of sizing questions, then generates recommendations based on body type and each shoppers’ favorite brands.
(Image credit: Clotheshor.se)
2. True Fit
True Fit, a program created by Bostonian mathematicians, helps online shoppers find the perfect first-time fit. It is currently the featured fit guidance solution for Macy’s and Nordstrom e-commerce merchant sites. According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, the service weighs heavily on garment sizes that each customer currently owns in his or her closet and keeps track of the sizing for garments previously purchased on the site.
Contrary to other size fitting technology, the program avoids simplistic measurements, opting instead to calculate numerical data on from array of numbers and sizing data to achieve a personalized fit for each individual shopper.
3. What Size Am I?
What Size Am I? is an online app which debuted in the U.K. and aims to solve the problem of garment sizing “discrepancies” between brand labels, another common fitting problem for online shoppers, says an article published by The Economist. The mobile app requires shoppers to adjust a set of digital "sliders" using their smartphone or computer which then displays an appropriate size depending upon the brand of garment chosen.
The program is currently available via online to consumers in the UK and the U.S., but is currently only offered for women and girls clothing brands and sizing.
Verisize is a mobile app created by students from Spain’s Universitat Autònoma de Bacelona (UAB). Surprisingly, the company forgoes traditional sizing charts altogether for garment sizing, citing unreliability and inconsistency in conventional clothing measurements and sizing standards, says Phys.org.Users input characteristics of their body type into the mobile app by selecting from a choice of options when prompted.
(Image credit: Verisize)
The company boasts that the entire process takes only seconds to use and was created from data on the anthropomorphic characteristics and body shapes of over 50,000 individuals.
Bodymetrics is a new in-store service which caters to shoppers sizing needs by supplying walk-in pods which create a full-body rendering of each individual, then generates specific suggestions on brands, sizes and fits catered to the shopper’s body type and size. The specifications are then used to create a digital profile for the shopper to access via built-in software. Full body scanning remains the most complex and technologically advanced when compared to conventional fit guidance solutions.
The new technology of full body scanning is reliable and cutting-edge, attempting to take the guess work out of online sizing, as seen in a TechCrunch video review of the popular sizing service. Full body scanning technology is currently being utilized online and offline, scanning shoppers via in-store or in-home webcam, including portable devices and modern smartphone cameras.
Would you like to see more retail news like this in your inbox on a daily basis? Subscribe to our Retail Dive email newsletter! You may also want to read Retail Dive's look at 6 retailers who figured out Pinterest.