The urgency to solve for virtual fit, once relegated online, has extended to stores, where the pandemic has made trying on clothing more complicated.
Reopened stores are mostly contactless, meaning that fitting rooms are closed, restricted or just unappealing; 65 per cent of women feel unsafe trying on apparel in dressing rooms, according to First Insight. Thus, shoppers are left to guess size and fit — and more inclined to adopt the buy-then-try behaviours that mimic e-commerce. The phenomenon has compromised a key value proposition for stores; fit is the top reason for online returns, which for apparel can be 40 per cent. Even before the pandemic, returns overall cost retailers one-third of their revenues annually.
“People are using their bedrooms as fitting rooms,” says Haniff Brown, founder and CEO of fit-tech startup Fit:Match. Next month, Fit:Match will open a first-of-its-kind fit studio in Chicago’s Oakbrook Center that scans people to make product recommendations. More than 50 brands have signed on, including Ted Baker, Good American and Under Armour, and Fit:Match plans to open studios in Los Angeles and Dallas this autumn as part of a national expansion.
Fit technology hasn’t been a slam-dunk, online or otherwise. Ideal fit is as much about personal preference as it is about mathematical measurements, and without consistent sizing across brands, size recommendations require precise measurements from both the customer and the brand. But during the pandemic, with retail stores hit hard, brands are relying on fitting room tech to not just bring customers back into stores, but improve the experience. A new sense of urgency could unlock virtual fit, be it online or in person.
The full article read on the Vogue Business