One of the most frustrating parts of clothes shopping is that manufacturer size numbers are inconsistent, making the purchase of an outfit that fits a gamble, at best.
A Philadelphia startup is trying to use technology to both get a more precise measure of consumers and to match it against a detailed database on what various apparel companies truly mean with their sizes.
In the United States, “the average woman takes 15 pairs of jeans into the dressing room.
The women endure this frustration level because they have to try on a lot of things,” said Edward Gribbin, president of the Philadelphia-based Intellifit Corp. “We can direct them to the two or three or four things that are most likely to fit them.”
Although it’s potentially a nice—and free—service for consumers, the bigger benefit is for Intellifit’s retailer customers, including Macy’s and David’s Bridal.
Beyond the indirect brand marketing (Intellifit can only recommend clothing from companies that provide detailed measurements, which means they are clients), Gribbin argues that there is a more explicit retailer financial benefit.
“When people get their size recommendations, the conversion rate goes up significantly,” Gribbin said.
“In other words, the propensity for that person to convert from a shopper into a buyer is much greater.”
Here’s how it works: a customer walks into an Intellifit scanning box.
There are about 11 such locations today, mostly in shopping malls in California, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Virginia and New Jersey.
The customer’s body is then subject to an extensive scanning process that uses water in the consumer’s skin to collect about 200,000 measurement data points.
The program reconstructs that data to create a 3-D image.
Software measures that image in four-tenths of an inch increments, keeps the 200 most meaningful numbers and then deletes the rest of the numbers as well as the 3-D image itself, Gribbin said.
That scanning and analysis segment takes 10 seconds, Gribbin said, and it needs another 10 seconds to match the results against a list of vendor measurements on file and print out a list of recommendations.
Next Page: Safety concerns.
This article was originally published on 03-18-2005