Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be over, but the 2021 holiday season is expected to be strong, according to Forbes Magazine and the world’s largest retail trade association, National Retail Foundation (NRF), which predicts sales during the season to grow between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent from last year.
Meanwhile, living with a pandemic has given way to more online shopping as consumers look for reasons to avoid long lines at the mall and buy their favorite items in the easiest way possible — at the click of a button. That’s where the power of AI comes in, as virtual apps look to utilize computer vision, deep learning, AI, and imaging technology to enhance and improve the eCommerce experience. In August, cosmetics giant Il Makiage acquired Israeli AI-based computational imaging startup Voyage 81 to take their current algorithm to the next level in order to help customers match the right products to their skin. And customers use the AI tech of Israeli visual search startup Syte to help them find relevant products through an augmented search function that includes automated product tagging, searching by photo and text, and personalized recommendations.
For consumers that use the patented body measurement app from Herzliya-based startup Sizer Technologies, AI has become a way to generate accurate clothing sizes without going into the store. The company’s AI tech and deep learning algorithms calculate a customer’s precise body measurements in a single one-time scan. The app uses the front-end camera of any mobile device for personalized true sizing data that is tailored to the individual’s fit.
The high degree of accuracy greatly reduces sizing inaccuracies and supports consumers in making informed purchases that can save businesses millions of dollars, Sizer’s VP of Business Development Yael Kochman tells NoCamels.
“When you walk into a physical fashion store, there’s a 30 percent chance you’ll walk out with a purchase. Online, that chance drops to about 2 percent. The main reason for that is that you are not able to try on the clothes and see if it fits. This is exactly what Sizer is solving – we enable shoppers to digitally measure themselves from the comfort of their own home and get size recommendations, and the uplift our clients see in conversion rate and basket size proves that it’s working.”
While online sales soared 32.4 percent in 2020, the National Retail Foundation reports $428 billion worth of items were returned, costing retail a loss of $101 billion. Other data suggests that 20 percent of products bought online are returned, compared to 9 percent of items from a physical store. And 52 percent of those returns are due to sizing.
“During COVID, fashion eCommerce skyrocketed — stores were closed and people had no choice but to buy online,” says Kochman, “Once they got used to that, there’s no going back. When more people buy online, more people need to find the right size, and this is where Sizer helps.”
“We are all aware that shopping online holds a lot of uncertainty with inconsistent sizing across brands; a size 8 in one store could be a size 12 in another,” said Adam Kaplan, CEO of Sizer, in a statement, “We know that this discourages consumers and is extremely costly to retailers. Our sizing data solutions empower buyers to make correct online purchases and fashion retailers and workwear companies to improve their value chain.”
Unique partnerships in retail
Kochman tells NoCamels that the Sizer app is very easy to use. “You browse clothes on your favorite fashion website and when you find a dress or shirt you’d like to buy, you click on a button that says something like ‘Find My Size.’ Then Sizer opens on your phone and there’s a model that shows you how to scan. You place your phone upright on a table, take a few steps back and the model guides you through two simple poses. From that moment you can get size recommendations on any item on that website.”
Sign up for our free weekly newsletterSubscribe
“Behind the scenes, our algorithms work to extract your body measurements using computer vision. That takes a few seconds and once done all images are automatically deleted, so your privacy is secured,” she adds.
Scanning measurements for clothing is one thing, but women around the world who need to go to brick-and-mortar shops to get fitted for bras know how difficult and cumbersome the process can be. As lockdowns took place across the world in early 2020 and stores closed, this became impossible. Retailers began introducing contact-free bra-fiting services that could be used even before shops were reopened safely.
Earlier this year, Sizer announced a partnership with Wacoal, an intimates company founded in 1949 in Japan, that prides itself on fitting its customers with precision. In May, Wacoal teamed up with Sizer to launch mybraFit, an AI-powered tool that measures a customer’s bra size by scanning them through their phone.
“Wacoal is one of the biggest lingerie companies in the US. They’ve been an amazing partner for us, and are very happy with the results,” says Kochman, “With Sizer, they see a huge uplift in conversion and 25 percent in basket size – so it’s clear that when a shopper knows their size they would be more likely to buy and to buy more items! We’re currently onboarding other big lingerie companies and are piloting with some of the biggest global fashion brands.”
“The intimate apparel industry relies on antiquated sizing practices that have not changed in decades. This, and the increasing shift to consumers shopping online, prompted us to find a solution to simplify the entire process. Following an intense market study, we chose to collaborate with Sizer as our digital measuring partner due to their unmatched body measurement accuracy and convenient, user-friendly solution,” Miryha Fantegrossi, Vice President of Merchandising and Design at Wacoal America said in May. “The mybraFit app is a transformative solution, and by combining our vast knowledge of fit and style expertise with Sizer’s know-how, we’ve created a personalized, time-efficient, and foolproof sizing tool for everyone.”
Sizer’s contact-free body measuring platform is also carefully designed and tested for uniform vendors. ” Like all good things, this turn of events was a bit unexpected,” Kochman tells NoCamels, “Adam, our CEO, met a senior executive from one of the biggest uniform companies at an event, and she told him how the fitting process works for them – they manufacturer samples, send them to the client, and the client has to get all the employees to try on different sizes to determine the best size for each. So imagine an airline with 50,000 employees.” she continues, “That could take months. And then they manually collect all the measurements and send them to production. Once he heard that he knew Sizer could help them digitize the process. The way they use the solution is they simply send all the employees an email with a link, they open it, scan themselves and all their measurements are sent to a live dashboard and from there straight to production – shortening the process from 6-8 months to just a few weeks.”
Sizer currently works with Landau Scrubs, the biggest manufacturer of medical scrubs in the US, and also Hunter Apparel Solutions, a company that deals with uniforms for police, firefighters, and others in the UK. Kochman also says the company has begun to work with space delegations, and armies around the world.
“What I love about Sizer is that you can speak with an army colonel one day, and the next with the head of design or product in a fashion company. The solution is needed everywhere people wear clothes, so the market is big and varied.”