OK, I’ll say it: Buying clothes online still sucks. Unless you’re buying something from a brand you already own and know the sizing of, it’s nearly impossible to get the fit right on the first try.
This is why people often buy two sizes and return one, or just skip clothing e-commerce all together and head into the store to try it on in person. The result is either high shipping and return costs for the retailer or a missed sale entirely — basically a lose-lose situation.
Enter Savitude, a startup that wants to make sure the clothes you buy will not only fit you, but also look good with your body shape.
The startup has built a SaaS product that lives on a retailer’s website, and is designed to guide potential buyers to clothes that will fit them well. Savitude will also offer a licensed version that works on a tablet inside a brick-and-mortar retailer, which will help sales associates better guide customers toward clothes that fit.
Shoppers first go through a series of six questions designed to help categorize their body shape. Most of these come in the form of interactive images, i.e. which of these three silhouettes most resemble your hips or your shoulders?
The body shapes shown in the silhouettes were created based on a study of hundreds of woman who were digitized by the startup using 3D scanners. By focusing on body shape and not just size, Savitude can more accurately figure out your shape. After going through these prompts users are categorized into one of nine body shapes.
Savitude then customizes an inventory of clothes designed to “work” with your body type.
The startup uses IBM Watson’s visual recognition technology to analyze a retailer’s inventory and categorize their clothes into those same nine categories. With the training sets already created, all a retailer needs to do is provide Savitude with access to their inventory and the software will automatically classify each item.
Then when they’re ready to shop, customers will be matched only with clothes designed for their body type, which hopefully results in better-fitting items, happier customers and fewer returns.
Eventually Savitude wants to learn even more about its customers so it also can help guide them toward clothes that meet their color and design preferences. There could also be an opportunity to provide retailers with these data points so they can better manage inventory, i.e. if 40 percent of their customers fit within one body shape, they would probably design and order more clothes that look good on that shape.
At launch, Savitude’s product will only work with woman’s clothes and body types. But eventually they plan to expand into menswear, as well as other specialty clothing verticals.