Macy’s Algorithm Helps Shoppers Find The Brand That Will Fit Them Best
PSFK spoke to the President of the major retailer about its implementation of True Fit sizing technology and the challenges for shoppers along the e-commerce purchase path.
In preparation for the release of our upcoming Future of Retail report, PSFK reached out and spoke to the President of Macys.com, which is currently testing True Fit technology, a fit personalization software used for remote sizing and recommendations. True Fit’s patented software service (SaaS) matches men and women to clothing and shoes that fit their unique body and style preferences with no measurements required. To begin, customers select from a few conceptual body descriptions for ket fit areas and identify their favorite best fitting items from their closet as well as which brand styles, fits and sizes they like to wear. Once the profiles are completed, True Fit recommendations suggest brands and sizes likely to fit best, specified 5 point T-Score (like a star rating). We reached out to Kent Anderson, President at Macys.com, to get his thoughts.
What do you think the challenges are for consumers regarding the e-commerce purchase path? What kind of solution does True Fit technology offer in this regard?
I think from my perspective it’s making the shopping experience as rich and as interesting as, frankly, it is in the real world in our stores and ultimately being able to take advantage of some of the digital capabilities out there. In a business like mine where you’re selling hundreds of thousands of different kinds of products – a lot of it fashion ready to wear for men and for women – sizing and getting the right size is an important part of their purchasing decision.
Essentially, consumers could provide dimensional data about their bodies and then there’s the custom fit clothing. The challenge for [macys.com] is that we found at the end of the day, customers were not terribly reliable in giving the right dimensional data about their bodies.
That’s why we focus on – in this case with True Fit – trying to improve the customer’s confidence that the size they’re selecting will fit them properly.
Where does True Fit come into play in that regard?
True Fit is a unique solution. What True Fit has been able to do is a couple of things that are very important. One is they have been able to accumulate the fit specification data from a wide range of manufacturers. Then, instead of asking consumers to give us waist, inseam and measurement data, what we ask the consumer to do, as part of the three step sign up process, is give us examples of clothes in your closet today – jeans or pants or whatever – that you think might fit you well.
By shoppers sharing that information, True Fit has been able to compare what you’re sharing with the actual dimensional data that you have in your data base and then are able to recommend clothes, pants, jeans, et cetera, that they think will fit you based on what you’ve shared.
I think the elegant part about that is it’s very simple. Generally, I think the consumers approve, and frankly, the accuracy of the information has improved over time. It also addresses the important issue that solely relying on dimensional data doesn’t necessarily describe exactly how the customer wants clothes to fit.
For example, I like to wear my clothes more fitted. That’s my preference. Someone with the same dimensions may prefer a more loose, or relaxed cut or fit. True Fit offers a solution with flexibility in this regard.
How have customers responded to this level of personalization?
We’ve kept it in a couple of fairly small spots, including women’s denim, and now we’re testing it over in men’s denim to get a real sense of how this is working, but we’re seeing what we had hoped for, an improvement in the conversion and a reduction in the return rate.
What does the future hold for True Fit technology at Macys.com? What do you see as the potential opportunities?
Well, I think we’re evaluating plans today as to how we will expand the True Fit technology to other categories – shoes, dresses, other elements of ready to wear and men’s clothing and shirts – so we have a fairly broad path of expansion. As Macy’s has talked about publicly, we’re an omni-channel retailer. I see the opportunity to have this fit information as part of the experience across all the touch points, whether you’re working at a desktop computer, you’re on a laptop, a tablet, watching TV or on your smartphone in our stores.
Ultimately, the ability to potentially scan a product ID in our stores and have it come back with a True Fit recommendation will be how the consumer will start to take advantage of this technology across all of our digital touch points with the new Macy’s omni-channel selling strip, as an example.
I think there are metaphors that are both made to work in the online space, which is rather two-dimensional, as you well know, but also that same important data available through a smartphone in one of our WiFi enabled stores could provide the consumer a way to sort through the various choices we have in our stores so the items you take back to the fitting room are the ones that fit best
Do you see integrating social?
Possibly. Maybe a platform where if the consumer wants to socially share. We’re testing similar concepts and we’re thinking about social in a lot of different ways.