There are an abundance of startups trying to solve the problem of how to “try on” clothes online, with a range of different approaches and technology — a competition we’ve previously likened to a space race where nobody has yet landed on the moon. Today, Virtusize launches its virtual fitting solution in the UK via a partnership with ASOS. After a successful six month trial, the “Fit Vitualiser” button is initially being rolled out on the product pages of over 2,000 of the online fashion retailer’s own brand clothes.
Shunning Fits.me’s 3D modeled approach which uses robots or something like Metail that enables a shopper to upload and see a 3D visualisation of themselves in order to virtually dress up in potential purchases, Virtusize lets customers to compare specific measurements of an item they are looking to buy with a similar item they already own. By displaying and overlaying 2D silhouettes of both garments, the startup says that customers can more accurately compare sizes and, ultimately, choose the item that would fit them best. It’s a compelling pitch and has obvious cost savings over the up front work involved in 3D visualisation of a retailer’s entire catalog.
That said, it also means that Virtusize’s solution focuses more on how a garment will fit a customer, not so much what it will look like on them. The latter is quite subjective but could also contribute to high return rates, which is what all virtual fitting solutions are trying to reduce.
In addition, Virtusize’s solution requires that a customer already owns a supported garment in order to compare sizes or that they measure a favourite (and similar) item of clothing at home and enter the data manually. Presumably that’s why ATOS has chosen to start with its own brand clothing as returning customers will be more likely to own a comparable garment, and the company has the size and fit data more readily at hand to apply to Virtusize’s technology.
In terms of how it approaches the virtual fitting problem, Virtusize’s closest competitors are the likes of Clothes Horse and Truefit which recommend size based on what the consumer wears in other brands. However, these solutions lack a visual presentation and only produce a number/letter to denote size. Therefore, says Virtusize, they don’t capture how a specific style will fit as garments vary in terms of style etc. regardless of if they are technically the same size and have historically worked out well for the customer.
Founded in Spring 2011, Virtusize launched with Nelly.com (the largest online retailer in Scandinavia) as a pilot customer during the autumn the same year. It makes money by charging web shops a monthly subscription fee for using its solution. The fee is determined by monthly page views on the product pages where Virtusize is available. With the addition of ASOS as a partner, the startup now claims to be the leading online fitting solution in terms of availability with over 30,000 garments at 23 web shops and approximately 50,000 users per month.
Virtusize has raised £1 million in seed funding. Among the startup’s backers are Swedish listed investment company Öresund and a number of angel investors including Fredrik Åhlberg, former Head of Growth at eBay Europe. As a reference point, earlier this month Fits.me closed a $7.2m series A round. Meanwhile, Metail has raised £2.7m in total.