How Online Shopping Will Ride the Clothes Horse
Technology has fast become the fashion industry’s hot accessory. With eCommerce on the uptick, use of social media as a marketing tool, online retailers subverting the traditional supply chain and bloggers shattering the hierarchical power that used to be fashion media, New York City is sprouting fashion-technology startup companies faster than Silicon Valley. Offering solutions to make all things fashion and digital a seamless experience for online consumers, these fashion-tech startups are energizing a world historically averse to structural change.
In last November‘s On The Verge section, we reported on Clothes Horse, a fashion-tech startup offering a solution to online retailers’ biggest problem – the high rate of return due to the fact that consumers can’t experience the product before buying. Officially launching their company to the public last Thursday, hopefully the days of having to trek to the local UPS with a free return package are numbered. Why is this important? The competitive advantage that online retailers have over brick & mortar stores is the accessibility and immediacy of shopping whenever and wherever from the convenience of a personal computer, mobile phone or iPad. In a world where people are busier and life moves faster, it’s the ease of transaction that’s spurred the high growth rate of eCommerce. However, regardless of its proliferation, people’s biggest reservation about shopping online is the difficulty in gauging the right size of a garment and how it fits. Yes, one can read all the reviews available on the vast Internet. However, it does not substitute trying on the garment in real life.
This is where Clothes Horse steps in. From collecting data about brand-specific garments and human proportions, Clothes Horse developed a technology based on two patent-pending algorithms that compare both data through voluntary customer information. On the retailer’s product page, customers have the option to answer a few simple questions about their favorite brands, body type, height and weight. Through these few answers, the algorithms go to work to provide information about how the particular garment fits down to where it may be loose or tight. Thus, the customer can easily make better decisions about what they are purchasing leading to increased conversion and decreased return rate. Not to mention, this technology will finally streamline the fundamental competitive advantage of eCommerce -- accessibility, immediacy and ease of the shopping transaction without the probability of sending an item back through the mail and waiting days for a refund.
For extremely busy shopaholics like myself, this is good news. If I can’t be bothered to go shopping on a Saturday in one of NYC’s tourist-ridden shopping districts, I certainly don’t appreciate having to squeeze in a UPS trip to drop off a disappointing online purchase. Clothes Horse’s technology leverages all the benefits of online shopping while reducing the biggest consumer risk, which I personally think is a no-brainer for retailers to implement. In the burgeoning fashion-tech startup landscape, Clothes Horse definitely has the potential for the highest rate of return on consumer satisfaction.
Clothes Horse team: Will Charczuk, Vik Venkatraman, David Whittemore
Learn more at http://clotheshor.se
Fashion / Fit Tech Company Clothes Horse Launches, Shows 13% Conversion Rate Increase
Clothes Horse, a New York fashion technology company, launched today unveiling a case study with a leading online menswear brand. Clothes Horse is solving the problem of buying clothes that fit by using sophisticated algorithms, and a trove of human and brand-garment measurements. Their focus is on making a product for retailer websites that is easy to use -- shoppers simply answer a few brief questions about themselves and their favorite garments (takes 30 seconds, and no measuring tapes involved), and can then experience accurate recommendations at any Clothes Horse enabled retailer on the web. In the case study, Clothes Horse demonstrates how they brought Bonobos a 13% sales increase while creating a more engaging customer experience.
70% of shoppers hesitate to purchase because of uncertainty on fit. As more spend in fashion/apparel moves online, the major shopper complaint is inconsistency of fit, says the NPD group. Retailers need to get better at marketing and merchandising online, as shoppers have increasing reason to be fearful. Clothes Horse brings confidence to the most anxiety-ridden part of the sale through data-driven algorithms and a focus on customer experience.
“We’re very encouraged with the initial results we’ve seen from Clothes Horse. The team has been incredibly responsive and open partners throughout the whole process,” said Craig Elbert, Bonobos VP of Finance + Analytics.
“We strike the perfect combination of rock-solid data, easy shopper experience, and focus on the retailer -- our pricing is built around their ROI. It’s a no-brainer,” said Vik Venkatraman, Co-Founder of Clothes Horse.
Learn more at http://clotheshor.se