Fashion Function Tech and Style

Does it “FIT”? My Opinion on Customers, Perception of FIT and Technologies That Work Best for Them”

As a professional in the apparel industry and a scholar studying retail solutions and technology, I often hear the word fit over and over. Fit is a main concern for anyone purchasing clothing. The concern is even greater for online shoppers.

For the sake of this article, consider average to mean “teenage girl size” around 5’4- 5’6 about 125-135lbs, rectangular shape.

A certain internet shopper concerned with fit is the female who has more variations shape-wise from the previously mentioned national average. This customer sees fit in a completely different way. But the question is, what does “fit” mean to this customer as it relates to online shopping and what technologies will most likely work for them?

To answer both questions, I have narrowed fit down to three ideas I developed to better understand the needs of customers.

Idea 1.

Fit = Comfort of Clothing in Relation to MY Special Body.

This idea is centered around the customer with non-average body measurements who needs speciality sizing. He or she understands their body type and needs speciality clothing to address their fit concerns.

Questions this customer asks:

“Will this peplum fall at my waist or be too short/long?”

“Will these pants fit my inseam?”

“Do you have this item in extra-long, my arms are long but my chest is narrow?”

Where will they shop?

Specialty sections such as big and tall, petite, plus size, etc… They buy from brands that offer special sizing and variety.

This customer routinely shops for speciality clothing based on their fit needs. The upside to that is that this customer in my experience spent less time trying clothing on in a fitting room. Once they recognized a familiar specialty sizing they were able to make a purchase decision quickly.

What Technology “Fits” This Customer?

Customization Technology/ 3D body scanning

Ex. Acustom Apparel, Fits.me

More brands should actually start providing specialty sizes. Men’s denim brands do a great job of providing variations on leg length and width for their customers.

Idea 2.

Fit= Is this Brand like my Brand?

This customer’s fit issues are more issues of aesthetic comparisons. THis customer has a particular style of dress that influences their purchase decisions. As avid shoppers, they are not afraid to try new brands as long as they have a reference item for comparison.

Questions this customers asks:

“Will these jeans fit like my J Brand Jeans? Do they stretch in the thigh?”

“Is this dress like my French Connection dress? Does it hug my waist”

“Does this t-shirt fit like my Alexander Wang T-shirt? If so I will buy it.”

Where Will They Shop?

Anywhere that has similar style and price points of their current go-to brands. Fast Fashion and early adopter customers.

In my experience, this shopper is more loyal to a style of dressing than the brand. This customer spends more time in the fitting room making comparisons between garments they have and new items they are trying.

What Technology “Fits” This Customer?

This customer would benefit from style suggestion software and comparison technology.

Ex.Shopstyle, RentTheRunway

Idea 3.

Fit= What Size is my Size

This customer is not concerned about trend. She has developed her own personal style over years and shops exclusively with her favorite brands. She is familiar with construction of garments and understands her body shape and size. However, vanity sizing confuses her when shopping online and she is not sure which brand will have “her size”.

Questions this customer asks:

“ I wear Ellie Tahari, she understands my body, I’m a 10 in her clothing, what size am I in this brand?”

“ I am a 10 in this brand and a 12 in this pant… What size should I buy in this dress? “

“ Why am I a 14 in this brand?!”

In my experience, this customer will grow to be a loyal customer when they understand the fit of the brand as it relates to construction. To help this customer venture out into unchartered internet shopping , she needs the assistance of size comparison software. If she can make an intelligent and confident decision about sizing, she will purchase over and over again.

Where Will They Shop?

Department stores such as Nordstrom, Saks, Bloomingdales..etc.

What Technology “Fits” This Customer?

Size comparison technology works best for this customer.

Ex. Fitbay, Virtusize

Jessica Couch

Copyright 2014

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