Co-author: Alejandro Castro
Despite the advent of online shopping, many consumers still do not feel comfortable buying clothes online given the risk of receiving clothes that do not fit. This lack of confidence hurts fashion e-retailers, as well as brick and mortar retailers with online platforms. Technology, however, is remedying this problem through the use of pictures, videos and algorithms to determine perfect clothing size and improve the shopping experience.
For years, retailers have used fixed charts that require body measurements to estimate size. Given the vast variety of body proportions, these charts are often unreliable and lead to ill-fitting garments. Now, however, sizing technology allows consumers to submit pictures that allow for algorithms to determine their proper size – thereby increasing consumer confidence and attendant retailer sales.
This technology has flourished in the menswear industry where suits typically require custom tailoring for correct fit. E-retailers like Indochino are revolutionizing the suit buying process and offering consumers well-fitting suits from the comfort of their homes. Their model is simple. Consumers pick a suit and follow a precise body measurement guide, which is then submitted online. An algorithm uses these measurements to determine size, and the customer receives a fitted garment that does not require further tailoring. To cement customer confidence, many retailers offer free returns if the suit requires further alterations.
E-retailer MTailor uses a more advanced version of this technology. It employs a mobile phone application that accesses the user’s camera to take a video of the consumer. MTailor then creates a 3D model, and its fitting algorithm determines the correct size for suits, shirts and denims. MTailor claims that its algorithm is 20 percent more accurate than a tailor and will remake a suit that does not fit perfectly.
Widespread implementation of this technology is certain to be a hit amongst young shoppers who prefer the convenience and reduced prices that are usually available online. This technology will aid retailers in improving their online presence. While the cost of implementing such technology may have been cost prohibitive in past years, it is now more accessible, creating a great opportunity to increase revenue and gain market share and customer loyalty. Widespread implementation may also lead to potential legal risks, including related to warranty and privacy issues.
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