Source: WWD (Women’s Wear Daily)
A new AI-powered shopping platform Fit:Match combines data science and 3-D measurement technology that has customers asking for more to shop.
Fit technology isn’t exclusive to design, but rather a large part of the personal experience for consumers. And though much progress has been made through data collection and predictive analytics, new technology company Fit:Match promises an even better match through a process of collecting biometric data and fit preferences from consumers on location.
With many fit technologies for retailers to choose from Haniff Brown, founder and chief executive officer of Fit:Match, said it is a proactive approach that differentiates Fit:Match from the crowd.
“The feedback we’ve received is that our solution is differentiated because it is proactive. And as a shopper myself, I find size recommendation tools to be too reactionary and they don’t really address the core issue of today’s broken shopping journey, where fit is an after-thought,” Brown said.
Brown told WWD the impetus of creating the company comes from consistent anecdotal conversations of painful shopping experiences. Brown recounted a system some of his family members had become accustomed to in which they would buy 20 items, with a plan to return the 18 that did not fit. It was a process that Brown thought of as ineffective for all involved seeing that retailers too suffered from these returns.
Thus, began Brown’s exploration of a solution through technology.
“In late 2017, we had a chance to work with Cornell University with their apparel design Ph.D. class on what really was the early sort of formation of what Fit:Match is today,” Brown said. “They do a lot of work with technology and brands use their department as an incubation hub to launch new technology and try things before they get released to the market.”
It was through this partnership that Brown saw the potential for 3-D and modern AI technology to solve this once and for all.
“By using 3-D-AI technology and machine learning, we can filter thousands of sku’s in a brand’s assortment,” said Brown, “to show shoppers only the handful that are most ideal for them and simply hide the rest.”
With Fit:Match, “the vision is that one day shoppers don’t have to read these complicated sizing charts, try on clothes, or suffer difficulties finding things that fit them when they shop for apparel,” Brown said. “And Fit:Match will actually use the technology to help brands find the right customers who are really good fits for their product.”
And powered through AI-technology, Fit:Match will continue to get smarter as more data is collected opening more possibilities for growth and partner integration over time.
“We see this going in many different ways and all the ways point to more and more integration, upstream and downstream, with brands that we partner with,” Brown said. “We see ourselves actually creating an additional marketing channel for DTC brands by giving them access to thousands of customers at the retail level — at a lower cost per impression and acquisition than Google and Facebook.”
The physical process of taking measurements is done in just 10 seconds. This measurement data along with preference findings, asked of the customer, is then saved onto a cloud that instantaneously begins to filter apparel to provide the shopper only items with a match of more than 80 percent.
“Our platform actually goes through an entire user experience that we tested and iterated again for the last year and a half before really launching it in Brookfield’s Baybrook mall in Houston a couple of weeks ago.”
Currently, Fit:Match is built as a pop-up within Baybrook Mall so that customers may use the experience to gain personal fit data to be able to see apparel matches from brands located in the mall. The company sees huge potential to reach a large base of consumers through its partnership with Brookfield, which touts more than 180 properties across 45 states. The vision, Brown says, is to have Fit:Match technology in every location, accessible to everyone in the U.S. and abroad.
“The journey is not like any other apparel store that a customer has ever seen,” Brown said. “It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s vibrant, it’s colorful, it’s an experience that is centered around the technology.”