Seeking momentum to aid its turnaround and gain consumer relevance, Gap Inc. is now betting on fit technology. The parent of Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta now owns a new business—acquiring Drapr, an e-commerce solution provider that enables customers to create 3D avatars and virtually try on clothing for an undisclosed sum.
Drapr helps customers find the best clothing size and fit for their personal style and body type, all while helping retailers reduce unnecessary returns. The fit technology claims that brands using the platform see 26 percent fewer returns on average by getting more customers in the right size on the first try.
“Fit is the number one point of friction for customers and, through their advanced 3D technology, Drapr has shown it can help shoppers efficiently find the size and fit they need. We plan to leverage Drapr to help Gap Inc. improve the fit experience for our customers and accelerate our ongoing digital transformation,” said Sally Gilligan, Gap Inc.’s chief growth transformation officer.
The acquisition is timely for Gap Inc., particularly since it just unveiled Bodequality for Old Navy on Aug. 18. Launched after three years of research and planning, Bodequality aims to normalize size-inclusivity by eliminating price differences across women’s styles. That means consumers will pay the same for products ranging through sizes 0-30 and XS-4X.
“With the launch of Bodequality, we reinvented our fit process at Old Navy to give women greater confidence in their clothes, no matter the size. Drapr’s technology will help us continue to build on this expertise and deliver a more personalized and inclusive fit experience for all of our customers by showing them how an item will actually look on their body while also recommending the best fit for them based on their individual preferences,” added Nancy Green, president and CEO of Old Navy.
As part of the research process, Old Navy administered body scans of 389 women to create digital avatars based on real women’s bodies and ran fit clinics with models wearing sizes 20-28 to redefine the previous fitting parameters.
Given the breadth of sizing across the board, the Drapr application could enhance Gap’s size-inclusive online shopping experience and more accurately cater the right size product to the shopper.
Drapr claims that its technology could help apparel retailers increase revenue by up to 14 percent, since it says it lets customers see the visual differences between their sizes on their own bodies. It is already used by dress shirt companies such as UnTuckit, Mizzen+Main and &collar.
After plugging in their height, weight and other body shape details, shoppers can view how an item looks on a 3D avatar and click through a range of sizes, silhouettes and lengths so they can anticipate how multiple versions of the item would look and fit in real life.
“Most people either don’t know their exact measurements or are looking for a specific type of fit that numbers alone can’t tell them,” David Pastewka, Drapr co-founding CEO, said in a statement. “Drapr has proven effective and we are excited about the impact we can have on customers at scale as part of the Gap Inc. family.”
Drapr, a Summer 2020 alum of the Y Combinator accelerator, was founded by Pastewka, Will Drevno and Richard Berwick. The trio has worked together on 3D technology for over a decade with early support from investment funds Boost VC and Berkeley SkyDeck.
The deal was brokered by Gap Inc.’s newly formed strategic growth office, led by Gilligan. This unit of the company is charged with thinking beyond its core business in order to meet the consumer and industry demands of the future, the specialty apparel retailer says.
The office seeks out new investments that fuel growth and accelerate new capabilities at Gap Inc. and across its portfolio of brands. It is comprised of numerous departments including strategy, corporate development, program management, sustainability, government affairs and new business operations, all collectively drawing on the expertise of Gap Inc. and engaging its leadership to empower growth.
Gap Inc. says the strategic growth office was the driving force behind Athleta’s July investment in Obé Fitness, a digital fitness platform with a focus on bringing entertainment, pop culture and design to the workout experience. The funding—$15 million in total—valued Obé at $190 million, and included backing from Samsung Next, WW (Weight Watchers) International, Inc. and actress Tiffany Haddish.
Athleta benefits even further from the Obé investment, since the platform will power the weekly workout content of its recently launched AthletaWell digital community platform.
In an effort to boost brand engagement, both businesses will be collaborating on a long-term basis to design apparel lines and plan events for loyalty members,