3 Ways to Get the Perfect Fit While Shopping Online
Aug 28, 2012 - by Melissa Hebin
How comfortable do you feel buying clothes online? Have you ever received something in the mail and, after days or weeks of anticipation, been disappointed because it doesnt fit like you had hoped? With new technology, the days of guesswork in online shopping may be over.
One of the greatest challenges facing online retailers today is returns due to poor fit. Marshal Cohen, a fashion industry analyst from NPD Group, says "27 percent of consumers resist buying fashion online because theyre not convinced it will fit and another 17 percent have bought online but havent had a good experience (Source: Washington Post).
As more and more consumers go online to do all types of shopping, fashion retailers recognize they need to close this confidence gap to help usher in a more comfortable shopping experience in this new age of technology. Innovative start-ups are creating ways to appease shoppers by matching them with the best fit possible and please their business partners by reducing return rates and improving customer satisfaction.
Below are a few examples of these brave new companies. There are still more sprouting up with great ideas, so keep your fingers on the pulse of this hot topic soon, it may be totally normal to go on a full seasons shopping spree from your living room.
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The concept behind Me-Ality is a cross between a science fiction movie and an uncomfortable pass through airport security. It helps you find clothing that fits your exact measurements by checking out your naked self with x-ray vision.
According to their website, to use it you must go to a Size Matching Station and have a full body scan. A booth with a rotating wand takes your body measurements and matches you with pieces from a database based on the measurements of the garments. After you get your measurements taken, Me-Ality generates a personalized Shopping Guide that tells you the best kinds of garments for your body shape.
This engine can only work with a wide scope of garments to choose from. Fortunately, the list of brands included in the database is extensive and varied. Names on the roster range from Banana Republic to Vans, Lane Bryant to French Connection. You should be able to find a look that fits the bill.
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2. True Fit
True Fit works with retailers and brands to find the right fit for you based on what already fits you. It keeps a database of a wide range of brands with the base measurements they use for their different sizes. When you specify which of those brands and pieces you own, it pieces together a pattern of your body using the clues you give.
We set up a True Fit account on Nordstrom.com. You can follow our testing log in the picture gallery below.
We were led to a flash popup that asked us a battery of questions about body type height, weight, age, etc. When giving clothing sizes, we had to input the brands and sizes of specific pieces. It asked for a variety of measurements from inseam to bra size. It also asked us to describe our body type, such as general torso length and shape of butt and thighs.
Okay, account creation finished - time to shop! As we looked through pieces on the Nordstrom website, True Fit would recommend what size we should get for each piece. Without True Fit we would have bought a size 2 instead of a 0 for the dress shown in our gallery, but the engine ensures it wont be too small because it has an exact body shape in its system for comparing measurements. That could very well have saved us a tedious mail-out return.
As you buy and try, you can give feedback to the True Fit engine by rating the fit of purchased pieces on a scale of one to five. Like Pandora, the more feedback you give it, the more perfectly it narrows down your shape and the better its recommendations will be.
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Clothes Horse works very similarly to True Fit in that it works in conjunction with the websites of its retailer partners. When you click on a product in an online store, theres a button labeled What Size Am I? that launches the Clothes Horse engine.
The engine asks you questions about your body size, brands you wear and how well those sizes fit. After processing your answers, it recommends what size you should buy in relation to the type of garment you were looking at in the online store and tells you how that specific item will fit you (i.e. how loose a shirt will be around the chest or if the sleeves are too narrow).
The service is still in its beta phase, but according to Tech Crunch, In early tests with Clothes Horse, beta customer Bonobos.com's use of the new system delivered a 13 percent sales boost. That boost could mean millions or billions more in sales for participating companies and still more saved from decreased returns. More shopper confidence also means more frequent online shopping and better customer loyalty. We can already see the dollar signs in the eyes of e-retailers.
To get a better idea of how these fit engines work, take a gander at our gallery below.
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