Note: As much as I love the headlines for my articles in The Statesman, they typically are the brainchildren of the excellent Editorial staff
Welcome to the Earth in 2010, a society where the internet has made living from your home something anyone can do. From ordering food, household supplies, a spouse and plenty more, humans have little need to leave their homes, except when shopping for clothes.
Despite rapid advances in technology, science has been unable to recreate the fitting room for online usage; at least, until recently. Flash forward to the announcement of a startup called Fits.me. Pitching itself as a virtual fitting room for online retailers, the service utilizes a warehouse of robots specifically designed to model the measurements of different body types, all while wearing the same garment. This allows customers to see how a specific clothing size will look on them.
Using the Fits.me service is fairly simple. As described by a spokesperson for the company, customers simply print out a measuring tape and then enter a few key body measurements into the system. After those simple tasks, the customer immediately sees pre-recorded images from a robot that matches their shape and size.
Aside from the initial images for their size, customers are also able to see alternate sizes such as “Small” or “XXL” to provide comparisons of their choice. The ability to view the clothing from multiple angles, including a zoom feature, all provide a much needed peace of mind when shopping online similar to when trying on clothes in a fitting room.
How effective is this technology? While a robot still isn’t a complete substitute to trying clothes on yourself, according to statistics provided by the Fits.me spokesperson, retailers using Fits.me have seen sales increase up to 3.1 times (depending on customer segment and product category), and returns have decreased by 28 percent on average.
Considering how only eight percent of apparel is sold online in the U.S., and 60-70 percent of those returns are due to poor fit, Fits.me is certainly helping to make a home-bound life much easier to maintain. Although Fits.me is still in the early stages, the service is geared for sites with at least a few hundred thousand to millions of visits monthly due to the costs of the technology. By using a robust computer backbone combined with the scalability of technology, Fits.me is aiming to meet the needs of more and more retailers.
Specifically, Fits.me is currently on track to handle up to half of the largest U.S. clothing brands in less than ten months. However, the technology is currently limited to menswear as women have more complex sizing. Despite this, the spokesperson from Fits.me said that developing a system for women is important, as they purchase about two times as much clothing, and that such a system will likely be available by the end of the year.
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