Euromonitor released a report today that named fit and sizing the biggest challenge to online apparel and footwear retail. A few startups, however, have found creative solutions to the problem that go beyond offering free return shipping.
Russia’s Lamoda, for example, offers a try-on-at-the-door service for several Eastern Bloc countries with a deliveryman to give fashion advice and take away unwanted items. Customers can pick out what they want to try on online, and hand a credit card to the deliveryman to pay for just the items they keep. Lamoda had 1.5 million customers as of February and received $130 million in venture capital from Access Industries.
With no deliverymen of its own, luxury e-commerce site Yoox partnered with FedEx in China to launch its “Butler Service”. Items are sent in a Fedex package, but the FedEx worker waits outside while the customers tries on items and hands back a package with the returns. A few others such as U.K.-based Fits.Me, Asos-owned Virtusize, and U.S.-based True Fit have gone the route of virtual fitting rooms where consumers enter their measurements online.
There’s no telling which will lead to better results, focusing on service-based offerings or technology that can digitally mimic body proportions. However, most algorithms for how clothes fit are designed to improve over time, where a concierge-type service can have immediate results.