Online shopping automatically appears to be the simplest option when shopping for clothes, but is this really the case? Or is our society just becoming lazy?
With the latest deals and discounts exhibited on every social media site and the idea of simply searching this seasons trends within seconds; there’s no doubt about it that online shopping is incredibly enticing. Whilst all being at the touch of your fingertips, consumers now have the ability to search, select and buy wherever and whenever they want. The convenience of home deliveries, wider variety of choice, and (often) lower prices, makes online shopping an ever-more attractive option. Some may argue that the ‘old ways’ of shopping trips are preferred, as the likelihood of returning the product is minimised due to availability of trying on before purchase and in-person visuals of how the clothing looks, and feels. But as a society are we becoming too lazy to make the journey to our local shopping centre or are we simply adjusting to the recent technological advances that allow us to make a more secure decision on purchases even though we have only virtually seen the products.
According to research, 45 percent of consumers prefer online shopping for clothing and additionally, 72 percent of consumers usually use e-commerce sites to search before making the trip to clothing stores. However, would these figures alter if, as consumers – we were guaranteed from online shopping with great fit from sizing and shape even though there is no ability for the customer to physically try on the garments?
Fits.Me is a relatively new software that can be installed into e-commerce websites which allows consumers to virtually ‘try on’ the garments, enabling them to visualise the fit and shape of something they physically cannot try on. Companies that use this software can then record the data from existing customers and thus collect records of their customer’s preferences, aiding in the development of latter clothing collections from the brand. This is particulary useful as they will then gain extra knowledge of what their audience prefer and be able to design suitable collections to cater to the mass of their customers. Founded in 2010, Fits.Me is now headquartered in the centre of London, where its technology is ever-evolving and is beginning to appeal to more and more brands. The ‘virtual fitting room’ technology works through information provided from the company about their products; fit, stretch, silhouette and construction method (e.g. type of weave/knit, fabric choice) and combines this data with the shoppers measurements and fit preferences, to ensure the customers can see the best virtual visualisation of how the garment should look on themselves.
The companies aim is to eliminate the stigma around ‘sizes’ and replace with ‘fit’. This seems like an appropriate movement as the fit of a garment is one of the most important things, and nowadays consumers – especially female customers have a lot of self consciousness about what size they are and what size clothing they buy. With Fits.Me having this motto it may help this bracket of consumers forget about what a label says and actually consider more what they are wearing and how it makes them feel. Fits.Me offers a recommendation feature; ‘Fit Origin’; within its programme that aids the shopper to decide which compromise is best, in order to achieve the best fit for that garment. I believe that by having this feature it will reduce the statistics figures of returns to companies, as it will mean consumers will not need to buy multiple sizes of the same product, due to seeing a virtual fitting on their computer screens, thus they are more likely to buy the correct size in the first place due to the digital visual.
In today’s day and age, we - as consumers, are becoming more demanding with what is made available to us. When we like what a company offers; its service and products, we are then more likely to reuse and revisit that particular brand and purchase more products due to the consumer relationship we have built with the brand. Every personal measurement that consumers submit into the brands website is recorded and saved for future purchases, this highlights to us that customer personalization is key as it saves the consumer time, and as a lazy society that we are, this is much appreciated. These elements may bring more trust to the brands using the Fits.Me software, due to pleasant experience whilst online shopping and happy customer’s means ... more revenue for the brand. Consumer’s will then begin to realise the software and choose other retailers online that too have the Fits.M software. This result will allow the Fits.Me brand to act as a pioneer between clothing brands aiding shoppers to a wider variety of clothing due to the good quality of the Fits.Me software.
Some retailers that have already fitted their websites and launched Fits.Me are Thomas Pink, Henri Lloyd, QVC, T.M. Lewin and Pretty Green. “Fits.Me constantly allows us to experiment with new technological capabilities to improve search and discovery. We encourage using the fit recommendation tool, it only takes a few seconds and statistics show that we improve conversion by 21%”. Henri Lloyd.
Currently Fits.Me has approximately 25 million customer profiles installed into their software data accounts, with over 250 thousand garments listed on various brands sites. They believe the more research fuelled into the software the better the technology will develop - “Science, data and fashion, all working together to create a personalized shopping experience”.
Like many other businesses, Fits.Me have social media accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. With its main advantage being a free platform to advertise and communicate with their customers, Fits.Me use these sites to display other emerging technological innovation in fashion, as well as controversial model stories, fashion performance and robotic advances. These may appeal to their followers as typically one may assume that their following fan base are those that are naturally interested in the brands ideologies and future happenings. With their social media sites being hyperlinked at the bottom of every website page and their website url being featured in the biographies of these social media accounts it allows great customer access and easy transitions from one to another. Simple and easy-to-be seen links make it so useful for potential customers as allows them to see what other consumers think and what the brand offers, with their morals and ideas for future development.
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