Metail, a startup with a personalized take on the virtual fitting room concept for apparel retail, has raised almost $12.9 million in a Series B funding round with a plan to expand its customer base, among other aims, according to a Business Insider report.
The company’s technology presents customers — at this point, only those shopping for women's apparel —with a simulated version of themselves, accounting for height and weight, to help give them more confidence in fit and look as they virtually try on different clothes.
The financing round was led by TAL, a leading Hong Kong-based clothing manufacturer which also led an earlier investment round for Metail back in 2014. Metail’s platform already has 7.7 million users.
Metail has been around since 2008, and has built up an impressive user base during that time. Virtual fitting room apps — or at least variations on the general concept, like Gap's Virtual DressingRoom — are becoming increasingly common. Most recently, Amazon has designed a whole new device and app in the Echo Look around the concept.
Such apps may become must-haves in the near future as apparel retailers come to terms with their sales shifting out of stores and onto mobile, and also look to design personalized experiences to meet shopper expectations.
Metail may have some aspects that help it get noticed amid this transition. Along with its large user base, it aims to make a personalized app even more personal. Also, the company claims to have digitized around 80,000 articles of clothing and says it's adding new items to it virtual waiting room stock at a much faster rate than Amazon is.
Much of Metail's success thus far has been in Asia, and the Business Insider story pointed out that lead investor TAL, which has considerable presence in the U.S. market, will help Metail expand its horizons. The actual money will come in handy, too, as Metail plans to use it to help fuel its already-rapid customer base expansion, as well as to pursue partnerships, develop new features and extend its platform to cover men's apparel as well.