by Riley Kaminer
Since the pandemic, retailers have seen an explosion of e-commerce sales, jumping from 11% of all retail sales to 22%. In developing countries, the increase was even more pronounced.
But there are some aspects of the online shopping experience that are more difficult to translate to the digital world. One of the biggest issues, particularly within the apparel industry: fit.
Meet the Fort Lauderdale-based startup is on a mission to bridge this gap, and help consumers find the best fit for their clothes. FIT:MATCH has developed an augmented reality matching solution. It’s designed to eliminate brands’ and consumers’ questions about fit in order to drive conversion and loyalty, while reducing returns.
The platform, which for the moment has been deployed B2B, works using Apple’s LiDAR technology. A sales associate can take a 10-second body scan, creating a so-called “digital twin,” or a 3D avatar of a person. Half a minute later, the customer is provided with a personalized assortment of the clothes that would best fit them.
Founder and CEO Haniff Brown’s main goal in creating FIT:MATCH was to simplify the shopping process. “Right now, the experience feels very cumbersome to a shopper and requires a lot of guesswork,” he said. But FIT:MATCH’s technology can “almost guarantee” that the item that comes through your mailslot will fit.
The technology FIT:MATCH developed will save customers time, while also having a positive environmental impact, since shipping returns back and forth is resource intensive.
Recently, FIT:MATCH announced a collaboration with Savage x Fenty, a lingerie retailer backed by Rihanna. For Brown, this partnership is especially exciting for two reasons: first, bras are one of the top selling and worn items in retail; and second, they are one of the most difficult items to fit.
Of course, getting fitted for a bra can be an intimate affair. Customers need not worry about their privacy, underscored Brown. “One of the reasons why we decided to go with this LiDAR and augmented reality solution is that everything is processed on the device,” he explained. “Nothing is sent to or stored on the cloud, which is where there is a window of opportunity for bad actors to do something wrong.”
Through the partnership, Savage x Fenty also made a strategic investment in FIT:MATCH. “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,” commented Savage X Fenty’s co-Presidents, Christiane Pendarvis and Natalie Guzman.
“We offer an extensive product assortment that makes identifying the right size even more important for our customers and are thrilled to roll out Fit Xperience in all of our stores,” Pendarvis and Guzman continued.
This is just the beginning of FIT:MATCH’s ambitious growth roadmap, Brown noted. “We believe we are well positioned to scale our product to more shoppers as our brand partners continue to roll out the technology in their fitting rooms across the country.”
”We will also launch our activewear solution in a few months, which presents an entirely new and large market opportunity for us,” Brown continued, noting that the company plans to launch their solution for at-home shoppers in the second half of 2022.
Brown, who came to Miami a few years ago after leaving a private equity job in New York, is particularly bullish on the South Florida tech scene.
“I feel proud to be a member of such a talented, diverse and growing Tech Hub,” said Brown. “In just a couple years, I’ve watched the tech ecosystem in South Florida explode. I continue to believe that South Florida is one of the best places to attract talent and build businesses.”
What advice does Brown give to early-stage South Florida startups looking to rapidly expand? Focus on building a strong team and building in our community.
“South Florida has a diverse talent pool. At the end of the day, you need to build the right team to be successful,” said Brown.
“If you are an entrepreneur based in South Florida, my advice is to start networking with the people around you, before looking elsewhere,” he continued. “Start by going to the different meetups, events, pitch competitions and so forth. In the first 12 months of building our business, I spent a majority of my time trying to immerse myself in the community and I’ve formed a ton of key local partnerships which have proven to be really important to our success to date.”
Read the original article at South Florida Tech Hub.