New technology promises to show shoppers clothing that exactly fits their body shape.
Rakuten Fits Me has launched what it says is the industry’s first sizing search tool. It says Fit Match will match individual consumers with clothes on a website that fit them perfectly - and says it has the power to transform the way we shop for clothes.
Vicky Zadeh, chief executive of Rakuten Fits Me, said: "As a retail industry first, Fit Match allows a retailer to personalise the customers’ shopping experience to show only items that fit and flatter – and are in stock. This means that the only question an online shopper now needs to ask is ‘Do I like it?, and not ‘Will it fit?’, ‘Will it suit my shape?’, or ‘Is it in stock?’.
"Fit Match takes personalisation to the next degree - every individual shopper is presented with their own personalised view of the products on a website that fit their unique size and shape. Removing any item that is not a good fit means shoppers won’t have to waste time scrolling through reams of clothing that won’t fit or flatter their body shape.
"We are living in the age of the customer, and you can either fight trends that are happening – people shopping by search is one of them – or you can embrace them. Retailers have a lot of assets but they’re only assets if you embrace the trends of the customers. Fit Match will doubtless encourage more people to shop online for clothing by serving them a selection of items that work for them. Ultimately, this means shoppers can get back the enjoyment of shopping, choosing between one item or another based on their style preferences alone. Confidence in shopping online will increase, driving higher average order values, lowering returns and improving customer loyalty."
Fit Match is a search engine ‘add-on’, that when activated on a retailer’s website, show consumers only those garments that fit their unique body profile, and are currently in stock. Rakuten Fits Me says this is the only way that consumers can currently search and streamline via fit. It uses three data points, age, height and weight, to provide unique fit recommendations thanks to an algorithm that combines garment categorisation, attribute mapping, data science algorithms and historical consumer data. Data from more than 30 million unique profiles helps to create accurate recommendations.
It cites its own consumer research which found that 35% of shoppers abandon their purchase because they are not sure if it will fit, while 40% say they are often shown items that are not available in their size. It found that three-quarters of online shoppers use search when shopping online. Some 81% say it improves their search experience, while 84% return to the store to buy more in the future. More than half (52%) say they are more likely to shop somewhere that suggests items that fit their shape, while 45% would like to be shown only items that fit their shape.
Zadeh said: "Crucially, people who use site search are more likely to purchase compared to those who use standard navigation, as they are shopping with intent. For consumers Fit Match delivers the frictionless journey to a product detail page they expect – with the significant value-add of having eradicated the issue of whether clothing will fit once and for all, up front, as a filter in this critical search stage. All other buying motivations such as price, availability and delivery are easier to solve for the retailer but matching a customer with their perfect fit as they search, that’s new – that’s an exciting turning point for shoppers and retailers alike. It has the power to completely change the shape of the market."
She added: "Aside from streamlining the purchase journey, making it quicker and simpler for consumers to complete their purchase, other benefits for retailers include the ability to streamline their buying and or manufacturing processes to improve their inventory and reduce waste and associated costs. We believe that learning from shoppers preferences and unique body shapes is how the fashion industry can evolve from being mass manufacture driven to instead focus on the individual and help lead the way to making the whole fashion industry become less wasteful, and more personally relevant to real people."