STORES - October 2010 - (Page 52)

WORTH WATCHING / CUSTOMIZED SHOPPING Better Fit = Better Sales Unique scan technology helps customers find the right size in less time BY D. GAIL FLEENOR he perfect outfit dangles temptingly on a display rack. The shopper grabs it and makes her way to the dressing room, where she discovers that her usual size … isn’t. T Fitting room frustration makes many customers dread clothes shopping and does nothing to encourage sales. A new service, MyBestFit, is designed to help customers find correct sizes before entering the store, and build sales in the process. The MyBestFit kiosk debuted last month at King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania. Shoppers at the upscale center step into the kiosk for a free, 10-second body scan that determines the customer’s measurements. After the scan, a list of items in the shopper’s correct size available from mall merchants is printed out. Fit has been the theme of Unique Solutions Design for nearly two decades. CEO Tanya Shaw started the Nova Scotia, Canada-based company by developing custom clothing patterns; Unique Solutions acquired the scanning technology last year. This custom fit body scanning is different from competitors’ technology as it can determine measurements while consumers are fully clothed, making the service fast and convenient. When the service was tested prior to rollout, market research indicated that 97 percent of shoppers would use MyBestFit. Research also showed the customized fit solution boosted sales more than 20 percent and increased the average number of garments purchased from 1.3 to 3.6. “In tests, there has been very little resistance,” says Trent MacLean, execu52 STORES / OCTOBER 2010 tive vice president of retail for Unique Solutions. “Sales have increased and the custom-size shopping lists have brought increases in store traffic and improved conversion rates.” MacLean, the former president of Paige Premium Denim, was asked to help launch MyBestFit by focusing on one key area. “One of the most difficult clothing items to get a good fit for consumers is denim jeans and other pants,” he says. Win-win situation “According to focus groups, the No. 1 reason women don’t like to try on clothes at stores is frustration over fit,” MacLean says. “Everyone wins with this technology” because the kiosk cuts down on “time and aggravation, improving their shopping experience.” At King of Prussia Mall, the kiosk is visible from both levels and is adjacent to Sephora and an upscale food court. Kiosk staffing consists of two to three employees, and the kiosk is open during regular mall hours for both women and men; the minimum age for scanning is 13. MyBestFit can improve retailers’ bottom line, MacLean says. Clothiers benefit from the opportunity to introduce more shoppers to their brands. When shoppers receive their customized fit list of apparel options, some may shop retailers that they have not previously patronized. With customers receiving a list of garments with the style, size and fit they need and want, fewer garments have to be tried on. “Less time in the fitting room means more time to shop the store for more items,” MacLean says. Finding the right size the first time means fewer returns, he says, and “the drop in return rates alone almost justifies the cost.” Much as with Google AdWords, participating brands pay a fee when their product is recommended on the shopper’s list. As Unique Solutions accumulates a significant number of anonymous scans, the company will have aggregate information that can help retailers and apparel manufacturers understand who their customers are, which customers they may be missing and even suggest “tweaks” in fit, MacLean says. “There is very limited, non-specific data like this available right now.” StORES D. Gail Fleenor, a Virginia-based freelance business writer, has nearly 20 years experience in retail and consumer research. WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES - October 2010

STORES - October 2010
Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail People
Customer Experience
Game Changer
Power Players
NRFtech Recap
Concept 2 Watch
Customized Shopping
Consumer Behavior
Software & Analytics
Crowd Control
Payment Fraud
ARTS Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES - October 2010