Ask any clothing shoppers what they’d change about shopping online and they’d probably all have a suspiciously similar answer: give us a better way to find items guaranteed to fit.
Whether a hem is too long or sleeves come up too short, challenges around fit are among the leading reasons why apparel return rates are astronomically high for e-commerce, especially relative to offline peers. The amount of guesstimation required to figure out how something that looks great on a model online actually translates to average human bodies is too much of a headache for many people. That’s why over ordering is all too common; some shoppers buy in multiples, knowing they can always take advantage of generous return policies and send right back anything that doesn’t look quite right.
Denim is a particularly fit-sensitive category within apparel overall, which is why specialized startups like Fitcode sprang up to solve the problem of finding jeans that hug and hang in the most flattering way.
Now, BodyBlock AI is throwing its hat into the fit-tech ring with the global launch of its Predict e-commerce plugin, which the company says can predict a shopper’s measurements and clothing sizes through some pretty nifty technology.
BodyBlock AI brings together artificial intelligence, machine learning and data from more than 1 million body scans spanning 47 countries to address what it says is a $300-billion problem for fashion brands. Scanning people individually might provide the most accurate results down to the millimeter, but the logistics of doing so are impractical and, quite frankly, not exactly user-friendly, making the tech-based predictive tool a smarter option, according to the San Mateo, Calif.-based startup.
When using the Predict plugin on a participating retailer’s website, shoppers can “Find My Fit” by entering their gender, age, height and weight to generate their 3-D avatar. From there, BodyBlock AI’s technology compares the customer-provided data against its database of body scans, references 70 ATSM-compliant body measurements and comes up with a size based on how the garment’s designer intended that particular item to fit.
Connecting consumers with clothing predicted to fit them not only makes them feel great, according to BodyBlock AI CEO Greg Moore, but also “has substantial impacts to businesses with respect to revenues, time to market and sustainability.”
Brands stand to gain from the analytics side of the company’s technology. They can see body measurement data on the people interested in their assortment, which has major implications for future product development.
“These backend analytics give brands the power to see how clothing matches up with the actual body measurements of customers, whereby bridging the gap between the brand’s target customer segment and the customer’s body shape and measurements,” BodyBlock AI said.