An essential problem with buying clothes online has been overcome by an Estonian company with the help of shape-shifting robots.
The fashion industry has seen huge changes in the last few years, with many consumers turning to online stores for their clothing needs. Companies like ASOS and Surfstitch provide as much size and fitting information as possible and have so far proven that it is possible to be successful in selling clothes online.
However, one element has been missing from the online garment purchasing process – how can you tell if the item fits? The inability to accurately judge how a piece will look before the sale is preventing some shoppers from buying online. But this may soon be a thing of the past should one enterprising Estonian business has its way.
Fits.me have turned to robots invented by Estonian universities that can change in size and shape in order to help their customers get the right fit.
“Our robots and the Virtual Fitting Room technology have solved the main problem that online clothing retailers face – the lack of a fitting room,” Fits.me’s Co-founder, Heikki Haldre said.
Measurement data, uploaded by customers to the Virtual Fitting Room site, is then recreated on the variable robotic mannequins in order to get a realistic sense of how a given garment will look.
The robots can assume around 100,000 different body shapes, but only 2,000 are being used for commercial purposes at this stage. They have already attracted attention from online fashion retailer Otto, men’s luxury brand Ermenegildo Zegna, as well as the American retailer Park & Bond.
Fits.me has surveyed the stores using the technology, and reports that these brands have seen a 57 percent increase in sales on average. It has also highlighted a 35 percent average drop in returns.
The Estonian robots are a great example of how innovation can transform the retail sector, but don’t expect every online clothing store to jump on the bandwagon immediately. The Fits.me Virtual Fitting Room will be in high demand, however deploying the technology can take a while.
“On average, it takes six to eight weeks to launch the technology at an online retailer,” said Haldre. “So we’ll have to work hard to introduce the Estonian robots to thousands or even hundreds of retailers.”