By Jessica Couch
We know how important fit is for retailers, brands and consumers. As people get more and more comfortable shopping online, with tablets and mobile devices, e-commerce is adapting. To put it plainly, fit technology is a required addition to e-commerce platforms. But many retailers are not successfully incorporating fit technology into their platforms and as a result, they are missing out on providing their consumers with an enhanced experience. From what I have seen, companies are weary of fit technology.
Some time ago, investors were really hot about fit technology solutions. A lot of companies got major funding to produce the next big wave of fit technology advances, and many big retailers opened innovation labs to address the issue. But many of these “solutions” didn’t appeal to consumers in the predicted way. (Result of having non-retail/ fashion related people creating solutions for a group of consumers they do not fully understand.)
In fact, a lot of retailers assumed they needed to incorporate expensive and complicated technology in order to convey an enhanced fit technology experience, but this is not the case. Fit technology has been completely misunderstood. As a fit technology consultant, I study the best methods to convey fit in lieu of an actual virtual try-on. One of the better methods is achieved through directive fit content marketing.
Every time I mention fit technology, people assume some fantastical 3D try-on will follow, complete with super photorealistic faces and the exact and ideal body of the user ( already a paradox). But if you have been following my posts, you should know by now that a 3D try-on for consumers is not necessarily the answer. In fact, people have over complicated the fit issue by not understanding the bases of the issue. The bases of the issue is simply providing your consumers with the RIGHT content so that they can gauge fit on their own accord. The right content depends on the RIGHT customer analysis through qualitative studies and perpetual feedback loops. Once the right analysis is performed, the right solutions can be provided. (See my denim PDF study for an example).
Fit perception can then be heavily influenced by great content marketing. Consider marketing as the replacement for the outstanding sales associate that guided your in-store purchase at your favorite retailer, (sans the champagne).
What I have tried to convey in my writings is that fit can be translated properly without the use of avatars, stop motion mannequins and digital recreations from your favorite video game designer. You can have an effective fit tech solution for your e-commerce through marketing, UX and a bit of creativity (elbow grease).
The method I am proposing takes a bit more effort and brainpower but less money.
As I relayed in my thesis study, a comprehensive fit perception has much to do with data, past purchases, style preference, social commerce and simple understandings.
Why this Method Works Best
The best technology in my opinion, simply makes what you were already trying to do easier. Integrating fit through various marketing techniques is the best way to go. This method works because it mimics an actual shopping experience that users are more comfortable with instead of an unfamiliar method that takes some adjustments.
The key is to use the virtual world to mimic an enhanced in-store experience, not a completely foreign experience. Digital innovation must be intuitive to be successful and not so foreign to the consumer.
Obviously, there will be some limitation but understanding which I store methods can be reflected online is very important to this method.
Content Marketing + Social Commerce
In my opinion, the absolute best fit technology/marketing content combination available right now is done by Rent The Runway. Their method of engaging their community of users is one of the best fit technology methods I have seen and one of the most simple.
Users share their profiles which contains various measurements, as much as the person wants to share. Users also show a picture of themselves in the dress in which they are reviewing. An interested user can see a picture of a person to relate to and or measurements, and decide how the dress will likely fit on them. (I point out in my thesis why this is the most powerful fit perception tool available)
The reason RTRW works so well is because it mimics how people normally shop. When people take their friends shopping they can pretty much judge how the dress will fit on them based on how it fits on a friend. Because even if the friend has a different body type, one can assess those difference appropriately and still be able to make a decision.
Shoppers can even read reviews on the item of choice to further enhance their understanding on how the dress may fit on them. Reviews are an important part of purchase decisions for modern customers.
Simple and yet genius.
The Right Content for the Right “Fit”
The right content can convey fit in lieu of a virtual try-on. People are smart enough to draw their own conclusions about what they want to buy.
The internet shopper is not the clueless shopper that wanders into a department store to be preyed on by aggressive sales people.
It is your (e-commerce owner) job to assist them with answering their questions. Online retailers seem to forget that much of the retail experience is answering questions for customers and reassuring them, just as you would in person. Providing the right information does not have to be hard. Below is a list of ways to enhance UX on your e-commerce platform to directly influence fit perception.
Clothing Descriptions- Don’t waste time stating the obvious about clothes most of the time the customer just wants to know if the garment can stretch, who it fits best on etc. e-commerce brands often neglect to provide unique descriptions and instead, provide generic redundant descriptions that only repeat what the picture shows.
Customer feedback- incorporate targeted reviews and encourage customer feedback directly on your platform. People trust other people not brands.
Style Advice- Hire a virtual stylist to set up key algorithms for your customers. Don’t leave people in the dark while they are shopping online, machine learning can assist them as they browse and purchase. The same way an in-store stylist guides and directs the consumer, use your platform to guide the consumer through an enhanced UX.
Photos- Use your photography for more than just displaying the garments. Choose models that are more similar to your targeted audience and make sure you’re honest about how the clothes fall. Consider allowing customers to submit their own photos.
Making sure your content is about fit and style is a better way of providing a fit experience in lieu of technology. Customers need you to engage them by anticipating their needs and providing that content directly on your e-commerce.
Luxor + Finch Consulting works with you to build enhanced UX for your e-commerce and mobile commerce sites. We enhance your platforms, target your customers effectively and create fit technology experiences according to your preferences. We partner with the best teams of developers, to bring your visions to life and keep your customers happy.