Fits.me
Estonian Development Fund

Fits.me raises €1.3 million, lets you try on clothes before you buy – on the Web

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Fits.me, the Estonian biorobotics and virtual fitting room company for e-commerce clothing retailers and shoppers, has secured a Series B round of financing to the tune of €1.3 million. The round was led by the Estonian Development Fund and brings Fits.me’s total funding to €2.6 million.

Fits.me co-founder and CEO Heikki Haldre says virtual fitting rooms are what online apparel retailers need to be able to compete with traditional brick-and-mortar clothing shops, as they aim to remove the biggest barrier to buying sweaters, shirts and whatnot on the Web: the fact that you cannot try them on prior to purchase.

By mimicking the tactile offline shopping experience online, Web retailers could well be able to significantly reduce apparel returns and increase sales by allowing online shoppers to see
clothes on a robotic mannequin with the exact dimensions of the buyer’s body via such a virtual fitting room, Fits.me argues.

The startup does this by using robotic mannequins with artificial muscles that can simulate the shape and size of any body type. Fits.me claims the biorobotics and scientific algorithms that were needed to produce the mannequins are capable of having them shift into nearly 100,000 different types of body shapes.

Fits.me’s Virtual Fitting Room solution is currently available for men only, but the company plans to launch a women-compliant offering by the end of 2010.

(Disclosure: Fits.me won the Plugg startup competition this year – I organize the conference but hold no financial interest in the company).

  • Nate

    Does this seem really dumb to anyone else?

    • http://techcrunch.com Robin Wauters

      Not really, but can you argue?

      • http://www.fossfactory.org Abdullah Bakhach

        Um… how many of us know how the size of their chest, waistline, biceps etc are.. i work out and measure those all the time and i will still not take this service..

      • http://www.shutl.co.uk Tom Allason

        Fits.me enable you to print out a tape measure and so you can measure yourself up then and there.

        Congrats to Heikki and team!

      • Hepp

        One freaking minute with the measuring band, and you have you key figures to ship to ANY tailor. How hard can it be, dumbass.

      • http://www.fossfactory.org Abdullah Bakhach

        the idea definitely solves a very real problem.. i used to work at Nordstrom’s Bellevue Square so I know.. the thing is that for high end clothing, when you pay 200$ for a shirt part of that money is going towards the salesperson who ensures that the fit and choice of color etc is perfect.. it takes a lot more than just size to convince a customer about purchase (and sometimes the size may look right but don’t feel right)..

        as for lower end products.. (say $50 etc).. i don’t know is it worth me stripping and grabbing a measuring tape and measuring my waist and arm length etc.. how do i know my measuring is accurate?

        i think the only way this would work if it’s integrated into a larger strategy of a retail shop (as in nordstrom coaches its salespeople on the floor to show their customers its benefits.. so for example they can try a garment in the store then see how it would look on the e-commerce site.. etc.. just a thought).. also i think this kind of service may be more relevant to retailers that rely more on catalogue/online purchases (like Neiman Marcus.. the brick and mortar store is a ghost town but they make enough volume through catalogue orders)..

        anyways i just emailed the GM of my Nordstrom and told him about this service.. best of luck! at least we have a start-up that’s trying to solve a real problem, as opposed to zynga lol

        anyways i just emailed the general manag

      • http://www.fits.me Heikki

        Abdullah, thanks for the intro!

        You’re right – Fits.me only works in the larger scheme of things. No virtual thing today can solve 100% of problems. Reducing retuns by 30%, though, is good enough for most retailers to have a serious benefit to their bottom line

      • http://www.favoritefit.com BusDev

        Online garment retailers typically experience up to 40% returns, mostly because of fit issues – a huge cost factor that goes straight to retailers’ bottom lines. Favorite Fit Corporation owns the patent on a business process that enables online garment shoppers to verify the fit of garments prior to purchasing online and in-store shoppers to verify the fit of garments without visiting a dressing-room to try them on, thus reducing the amount of returns and positively impacting shoppers’ experiences and retailers’ profits.

        http://www.favoritefit.com

  • http://www.storyofmylife.com antje wilsch

    I worked for a company who had this exact same technology in the early 2000’s. BUT – the problem was that almost none of the American clothes manufacturers (at least back then) were willing to share their clothing sizes. So it was impossible to get the “real” inches/cm on the virtual model. We literally would have had to have bought and measured the clothes to know what were their measurements for a particular size. One’s size 6 was not another’s size 6 (& women know this from shopping).

    I wonder if this has changed?

  • http://www.whatsthisword.com/ Chris Knowles

    Did anyone else read that as “Fist.me”?

    • Me

      I read it that way too. What does that say about where our minds are?

  • http://www.fits.me Heikki

    Robin, thank you for the article.

    Antje – nothing has changed. The apparel companies guard their sizing as it’s their “secret sauce” for success. However, this is also the reason why Fits.me’s solution works so well – there’s no need for the brands to share their clothing patterns. It works equally well whether it’s size 10 or 12; M or L; and it shows wonderfully how sizes differ between brands and designers – all that on the customer’s body.

  • http://techtoom.com vikash

    They have used technology of future, very promising

  • http://hostplate.com/2010/09/22/fits-me-raises-1-75-million-lets-you-try-on-clothes-before-you-buy-%e2%80%93-on-the-web/ HostPlate | Shared Hosting ,VPS Hosting , Dedicated Server , Cheap hosting » News » Fits.me Raises $1.75 Million, Lets You Try On Clothes Before You Buy – On The Web

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  • http://www.findhotel.co.il Oz Har Adir

    Its a very intersting solution for a huge problem. Almsot all clothing shopping is done offline, with fitting being a very high barrier. I think that the size issue is important not only accross brands but also accross lines of very consistent products. I like some models of RL polo’s collection, but no online incentive has ever convinced me to buy online because I know that 4/5 models don’t fit me well – and for the one that does, I visit the store.

    If retailers would adopt this solution full hearted, they won’t only profit online but also with in-shop sales (anything from saving customers times from trying on sizes that don’t fit them, to ordering an unavailable size).

    I can sure see how many simple clothing sales are moving towards this channel, with a potential for more elegant clothing after some consumer learning curve.

  • http://www.findababysitter.com Tom

    Congrats Heikki. Will be keeping a close eye on your progress.

  • http://www.sharetivity.com Sharetivity

    Seems like an interesting idea!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://svenups.com svenduplic

    Great to see ideas from fellow Estonians! They recognised the problem and solved it geniusly – a true path of innovation :) fingers crossed you pull it off!

    PS i see this somehow being implemented in the porn industry in the near future :)

  • http://www.bidawiz.com/blog/ ryan

    There’s no question it is a creative idea. But, having a girlfriend that is a fashion designer, I know firsthand how sizes (small, medium, large, extra large) vary by style & across brands. You could create the most precise robotic mannequin but if you don’t have all of the true measurements of the actual clothes, I can’t see how this will be close to fullproof. I imagine the best market for this would be the super low-end, high quantity retail market. Hopefully the retailers start to work with you. Best of luck!

    • Laurie

      Yes, I agree with you every designer’s sizes are different especially on women — so unless the robotics have the exact measurements of the article of clothing for a size 6 how are they going to know if the article will fit them — i doubt you’ll have a seanstress available to alter sizes and what have you?

  • http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com DragonSearch

    My wife is going to love this! the actual fit was always something she complained about. The only reason she said she even goes to clothing stores is to make sure a garment fits…

  • http://www.cleancutmedia.com Clean Cut Media

    great idea. if they do it right, I can see some offers coming in to purchase the company, though they are probably better off integrating into multiple companies and keeping the course.

  • http://www.estinventor.com Leo Siemann

    Good to hear Heikki that things are moving on. It does somehow make more sense for us men, as generally speaking we are not great shoppers anyway. But as you get your fitting room going for ladies also , I believe then sales really start rolling : ) Estinventor.com

  • http://www.estinventor.com Leo Siemann

    Good to hear Heikki that things are moving on! It does somehow make more sense for us men, as generally speaking we are not great shoppers anyway. But as you get your fitting room going for ladies also , I believe then sales really start rolling : ) Estinventor.com

  • http://www.emerginvest.com Andrew Waterman

    Congratulations, Heikki! It’s great to see such good representation of Estonia.

    Clearly, Heikki’s built a very cool technology and solved a very specific business problem. Since I met him at TechCrunch 50, it seems the market has been showing more and more demand for this.

  • Tom L

    Uhm….Heikki forgive my skepticism but are you telling us you’ve calculated the difference in sizing between all major brands and their sub-brands? You do realize that take Ralph Lauren for example has different sizing for it’s Chaps line, Purple Label, Black Label, Rugby etc…..

    Not to mention that the difference between production runs, seasons, even just between fabric stocks can cause a single item to vary noticeably from one point in time to another.

    Finally if you’ve ever looked at a pattern, you’d know that having someone’s waist, chest, height, and arm length doesn’t actually give you a complete picture of how a garment will fit. And it only gets more complicated when you start dealing with woman’s clothing.

    Retailers would love consumers to believe that their standard sizing is well standard, but there is a lot of variation in garments. Go into a store and try on 10 of the same item in the same size and color if you can find it. You’ll notice one garment is slightly shorter then the next, the sleeves hangs differently on one, the color is a bit off on another, the neckline hangs lower on one, etc….

    When you start dealing with woman’s clothing that involves ruffles, darts, tapered waist lines, the list goes on and on you have an even harder time calculating how a garment will realistically drape on any given body. In fact if you wanted to give an approximation of what the human eye could detect as differences in fit you’d be getting down to 16’s of an inch and you’d need a lot more then just 3 or 4 measurements. For a simple back bodice pattern you’re talking about taking 8-10 measurements from a fit mannequin/model. And even then done by professionals all the time adjustments are made to get the fit/drape right. So how is your software going to replicate that while only taking into account a few variables?

    The way we perceive ourselves in clothing can be determined by lighting, mood, feel of the fabric (the less good its feels on the skin the much more likely the consumer is think it doesn’t look good on them even if the item looks great), fabric itself is almost a living organism. It changes all the time even before you take into account washing and shrinkage and light exposure. In fact ambient temperature and moisture can affect a fabric and therefore garment’s appearance and fit.

    As someone said before it’s a great idea for high quantity low value mass market items, but as soon as you start dealing with more complicated garments or expensive items consumers want to know how it’s really going to look and feel on them, especially women.

    While I’m sure you can license out this technology to a number of retailers to add as a feature on their website it’s actual value in determining fit and drape is limited at best.

    • http://www.fits.me Heikki

      Tom, you are right that Fits.me does not solve everything. It will not reduce the returns by 100%, and it will not replace the real life shopping experience completely. But reducing the retunrs by almost 30% is good enough for most retailers.

      Tom is also right about the size variations – however, what’s good for the industry, works also well for Fits.me. For most brands their size specifications are their valuable guarded property – but also something that they change very seldom. The industry average size tolerances and accepted quality levels are good enough to to reduce the return rates substiantially – but not by 100%.

      Quantifying the functions of a real life fitting room is as follows: 60% getting the right size; 15% the “feel” of the fabric; 14% personalization; 8% ability to combine items; 7% providing the security of the purchase; 5-7% ensuring that the color is represented right. Other functions include the comfort of the fit, social aspect of shopping, sales assistants, atmosphere, smells. Data is collected from reasons of returns, polling brick-and-mortar customers, and industry professionals.

      Thanks guys for all the great feedback!

      • BusDev

        Online garment retailers typically experience up to 40% returns, mostly because of fit issues – a huge cost factor that goes straight to retailers’ bottom lines. Favorite Fit Corporation owns the patent on a business process that enables online garment shoppers to verify the fit of garments prior to purchasing online and in-store shoppers to verify the fit of garments without visiting a dressing-room to try them on, thus reducing the amount of returns and positively impacting shoppers’ experiences and retailers’ profits.

        http://www.favoritefit.com

    • http://www.favoritefit.com BusDev

      Online garment retailers typically experience up to 40% returns, mostly because of fit issues – a huge cost factor that goes straight to retailers’ bottom lines. Favorite Fit Corporation owns the patent on a business process that enables online garment shoppers to verify the fit of garments prior to purchasing online and in-store shoppers to verify the fit of garments without visiting a dressing-room to try them on, thus reducing the amount of returns and positively impacting shoppers’ experiences and retailers’ profits.

      http://www.favoritefit.com

  • http://www.yolao.com/495.html Fits.me:网购衣服,先试后买 @ 优酪网

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  • Kris

    Great idea, solves one real problem in e-business. Help probably reduce returns…

  • http://digitalcamsreviews.com/2010/09/22/try-on-web-clothes-before-you-buy-with-the-fits-me-mannequin/ Try on web clothes before you buy with the Fits.me mannequin | Digtal Camera Reviews - The Imagery Resource!

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  • Trias

    I mistyped it as: fist.me
    Oh my…

  • http://www.ojointernet.com/noticias/fits-me-obtiene-13m/ Fits.me obtiene 1,3M

    […] Fits.me, una empresa que desarrolla un servicio de probadores virtuales para tiendas de ropa online y compradores, ha recibido una ronda de financiación de 1,3 millones de euros. […]

  • http://www.zoopla.co.uk Doug Monro

    boo.com?

  • http://vinceon.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/fits-me-raises-e1-3-million-lets-you-try-on-clothes-before-you-buy-%e2%80%93-on-the-web/ Fits.me raises €1.3 million, lets you try on clothes before you buy – on the Web « RumourHas.it

    […] Fits.me, the Estonian biorobotics and virtual fitting room company for e-commerce clothing retailers and shoppers, has … Read More >> […]

  • Susan Silver

    I think it is A Killer Idea,and would love to work for the Company. I have a Black belt in shopping and having been telling everyone I know about this idea. Kuddo’s to them.
    I am a Boomer. I buy everything on line. I don’t like going to the mall to listen to the Salesperson tell me how my A– does not make me look fat in that dress.
    As for my changing demensions, I also work out,and don’t know anyone who does not know what size their biceps are. That’s why we work out.
    And all designers are not true to size,so again…..
    Magnificent,Bravo

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