by Sharon Edelson
A B2B platform that enables apparel brands to match their customers with the best-fitting products, Fit:Match today said that it has partnered with Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty to launch its first-to-market, patented body shape technology. Savage by Fenty recently closed a strategic investment in Fit:Match to accelerate expansion of the AR-powered technology, which solves the fit challenge that has long plagued brands and consumers by utilizing body shape data rather than just standard measurements.
Haniff Brown, founder and CEO of Fit:Match, called from Las Vegas where he was attending the opening of the inaugural Savage by Fenty store, founded by Rihanna, where Fit:Match is responsible for the new sizing technology used by Fenty. There was plenty of interest from consumers in the technology. That’s because figuring out one’s bra size has been fraught with pain points.
“There were lines out the door from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.,” Brown said, adding that Fit:Match tested its technology last year at Brookfield Properties’ shopping centers. “Fenty saw the the technology and said, ‘Can you come do this for us? This would be amazing for our customer base.’”
Fenty is doing about $500 million in sales and growing 200% year-over-year, according to industry sources. “We really hit it off with them,” Brown said. “The synergistic part of our partnership is that we have patented technology that’s focused on bra fittings. It was developed at Cornell University by a data scientist who’s now on our team. Essentially, that became a very pivotal piece of the whole equation.
"That’s why [Fenty] not only partnered with us on the client side, but invested in us to help us accelerate this to the market,” Brown continued.
Asked what’s unique about Fit:Match, compared to, say, 3D Look’s sizing technology, Brown said, “There are a couple major differences between us and 3D Look, which uses an optical camera or an optical approach. They’re using infrared cameras to take multiple frames of you, and essentially, while we believe that’s helpful, we always knew that the correct way to do this is using depth technology.”
3DLook said its approach allows for more widespread technology adoption since depth cameras are less common on smartphones. “It’s scientifically correct,” 3DLook said. “The results of 3DLook’s technology speak for themselves. Our brand partners have seen a 40% reduction in returns combined with 200% growth in sales.”
Over the last couple of years, Apple Inc. released iPhones 12 and 13, which contain a new piece of technology called lidar. “Apple is using lidar to calculate with much more precision and depth, which is ultimately critical to this category of bras because we found that shape actually matters way more than measurements,” Brown said.
“We’re thrilled to launch our patented technology platform in partnership with Savage X Fenty, one of the most innovative brands in the market that specializes in a product category, lingerie, where fit is disproportionately important in the overall purchase decision,” said Brown. “Shape, which cannot be accurately predicted by surveys and measurements, is the most important determinant of fit, especially for a category as complex as bras. We set out to fill a gap in the market by developing a scalable, end-to-end solution that leverages the latest advancements in AR and is completely based on body shape.”
While typical fitting technology attempts to match shoppers with products based on the consumer’s measurements, Fit:Match’s patented white-label software platform uses body shape data to recommend products. The company builds a unique size-shape database for its brand partners by gathering body shape data and accurate sizing information from the brand’s existing shoppers through a proprietary process.
“We’re extremely pleased to partner with Fit:Match to lead innovation in the shopping experience and eliminate the fit question for our Savage X Fenty customers so they can shop for and wear our product with absolute confidence,” said Christiane Pendarvis and Natalie Guzman, co-presidents of Savage X Fenty. “We offer an extensive product assortment that makes identifying the right size even more important for our customers and we’re thrilled to roll out ‘Fit Xperience’ in all of our stores.
‘The launch of retail is going to allow our customers to shop on their own terms and move seamlessly between a uniquely Savage immersive retail experience and the convenient online interaction they already love, the co-CEOs said. ‘Customer experience and discovery is at the forefront of everything we do and these stores will allow us to build an even greater connection to an already highly engaged community.’
“You go to a Victoria’s Secret store and they put the tape measure around you to determine your size,” said Brown. “What we saw is 10 different women can have the same bust circumference and have completely different bra sizes. We started with bras because it’s the hardest to fit category. The difference between cups really comes down to shape. It sort of droops more, there’s tissue differences. The technology we’re using actually measures shape and not measurements.”
Once a customer receives an AR-powered body scan on an Apple device equipped with lidar technology, Fit:Match’s patented algorithm analyzes the shopper’s unique body shape data to precisely match them with their personal “fit twin” from an extensive database. This twin is based on the shape profile of an actual person and functions as the shopper’s personal fit model. Fit:Match then recommends to the customer the sizes and styles that have been proven to best fit the twin.
“We noticed that 80% of women wear the wrong bra size,” Brown added. “It’s a well-documented fact. A majority of women had their underlying bra size wrong. I’ve heard stories about you wear it until it gets comfortable. We asked one question: tell us your size in a lace bra or balconette or T-shirt [bra] and seven out of 10 times it was wrong.”
Brown said Fit:Match reversed those odds with about a 93% rate of accuracy. “That’s very important to Savage because they wanted us to show them that not only was the underlying technology robust, but accurate,” Brown said. “That’s when they doubled down on their investment.
“What Covid has taught us is that you need to have a technology approach to this solution,” Brown added, noting, “We scanned hundreds of women and all of them expressed not only a willingness to do this, but an appreciation because it shows that a brand is thinking about them and investing in solving this issue once and for all.”
Askrd what success would look like, Brown said, “We don’t even think about it only on numbers. We’re going to reduce our return rate by this or increase our conversion rate by that. We're just saying we’re going to provide a much better customer experience and that customer experience is going to lead to a higher long-term loyalty for the brand that in some ways is impossible to calculate in metrics.”
Savage X Fenty plans to roll out five stores in the next six months. In addition to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Houston will bow in 30 to 60 days. “Fenty started in these markets,” Brown said. “They know their customers in these markets, they understand the properties where they're located. These are high traffic, high volume [sites]. They’re bringing a new sort of approach to how they curate the spaces in the markets they chose for this initial rollout.”
Fit:Match, was a B2C technology company, but after-fine turning its technology and usage, it’s going forward as a B2B solution. The technology also caught the eye of Fabletics, which is investing in Fit: Match, too.
“One of the things we're bringing is an augmented reality experience,” said Brown. “That's different from any of the scanning solutions. We're actually leveraging technology from the gaming side, which is really hot right now, so it's created this fanfare amongst the customer base. We're seeing high adoption rates. It almost looks like a game that we’re leveraging.
“We wanted to go after categories where fit is such a huge and disproportionate part of the purchase decision, so we're looking at high performance activewear – which is why Fabletics invested – intimates where we really feel Savage X Fenty is going to be a dominant player, and swimwear, as an adjacency, and eventually, denim, a category where we continue to see fit as a critical thing.”
Of shifting from a B2C business to a B2B one, Brown said, “As much as consumers think of this as a consumer problem, it’s a brand problem as well. The brands suffer from this issue; it's a true and utter pain point. Giving brands the right solution and having them pushing it down to consumers is the answer. Savage X Fenty is growing so fast in the mainstream market. Consumers need to touch the garment. Fenty wants consumers to understand the right fit as they scale to the next level. We provide solutions that help brands because they’re the ones that have to deal with this.”
Read the original article on Forbes.com