The pilot program, the first of its kind for any of VF Corporation’s brands, will leverage 3DLook’s technology to provide size and fit recommendations in an effort to remove any confusion about what size consumers should buy when shopping for Dickies apparel on Tmall.
“A few years ago, VF Corporation embarked on a journey to digitize its brands’ product creation and go-to-market processes,” said Adela Tan, vice president and managing director, Dickies (VF Asia Pacific). “The pandemic only accelerated our need to use digital technologies to become more agile and responsive to consumers’ demands and fit recommendation was one of the top opportunities we identified. We chose to partner with 3DLook and launch this project on Dickies’ Tmall flagship store to target China’s digitally savvy Gen Z consumers and better understand their appetite for such functionality, so we can incorporate the learnings and scale our efforts across multiple brands and regions.”
3DLook’s mobile camera-based technology is built to increase conversion and decrease return rates for brands, using a patented combination of computer vision and 3D statistical modeling to obtain landmarks and more than 80 measurement points from just two smartphone photos of a user.
Shoppers on the Dickies Tmall store can choose a style and click on a measurement widget, where they will be voice-guided through a process using just their front and side photos. The solution then generates an avatar of the consumer’s body, mapping the body and shape data against product data to determine what size would fit them best. In turn, the brand gets to use this consumer data to inform actionable insights on optimizing design, product development, inventory planning and distribution.
The Tmall Global pilot program with 3DLook is also Dickies’ first step in achieving its goal of restructuring its manufacturing processes, speeding time to market, reducing costs across its supply chain and shifting to a customer-centric, on-demand manufacturing business model, the workwear company said.
The initiative will allow Dickies to gauge customers’ reaction to the 3DLook fit experience and gather insights before implementing changes throughout its supply chain to improve efficiency and expanding the solution to other brands in VF Corporation’s portfolio. The work with 3DLook and Tmall comes as VF is putting Dickies at the center of its workwear portfolio—the company sold nine of its occupational workwear brands in April.
Apparel brands looking to sell overseas may be hampered by sizing concerns, which is already enough of an issue for e-commerce companies selling within their own borders. With 3D-based fit technology, Dickies hopes Chinese consumers, particularly younger ones, can have more confidence in buying products that they aren’t as familiar with.
3DLook recently raised $6.5 million in a Series A funding round to establish new R&D labs in the U.S. and Western Europe, but the company said it was also working on creating a consumer-facing product that would enable real-time virtual try-ons in AR. The company says its revenue grew by 5.6X since April 2020, and also claims that its e-commerce customers have seen a 30 percent decrease in returns and 4X conversion rates year over year.
“We’re honored to be working with the forward-thinking team at VF Corporation to develop a solution that will enable a highly personalized and seamless Dickies shopping experience for a new generation of online customers,” said Whitney Cathcart, chief strategy officer and co-founder of 3DLook. “We’re excited to execute this pilot program and look forward to extending it in the future, as it has the potential to completely transform the customer fit experience and become the foundation of a more efficient and sustainable manufacturing business model.”
Alibaba has previously partnered with 3DLook to bring customization to its marketplace experiences, and has leveraged its own services to attract more U.S.-based businesses that want to reach the Chinese market. Alibaba noted that in total, U.S. retailers, brands and small-medium enterprises sold more than $54 billion worth of products through its platforms last year.
Alibaba hosts continuous digital trade shows to introduce U.S. buyers and sellers to global audiences, with its recent March Expo 2021 featuring more than 40 major product categories, including apparel, accessories and textiles, plus customizable and ready-to-ship options for buyers’ increasing immediate needs.
During the expo, Alibaba sought to alleviate the biggest challenges to buyers worldwide, especially since the flow of merchandise in the global supply chain is facing considerable bottlenecks due to heightened e-commerce demand. With time to market slowing down, SMBs in particular can be intimidated by the process of expanding their business with overseas suppliers.
Within the month-long event, Alibaba gave buyers new benefits including cash back, guaranteed delivery, paid duties, express delivery to over 200 countries, some free customs inquiry services and more.