March 28, 2002, 12:00 AM

My Virtual Model arrives at a virtual mall

PlusSize.com, a portal featuring women’s clothing size 12 or larger from 40 retailers, is the latest site to deploy the My Virtual Model online clothes fitting technology.

Lane Bryant proved that plus-size women want the right fit when they shop online. In fact, 1,600 women a day create virtual models at LaneBryant.com to try on fashion before they go to the store to buy.

PlusSize.com, a portal featuring fashions size 12 or larger from 40 retailers, is hoping that same technology will translate into online sales. PlusSize in March deployed the My Virtual Model Inc. Virtual Dressing Room technology at its site, featuring fashions from four designers, with plans to broaden its use. “With a market that has consumers who have difficulty finding garments that fit, any technology that helps achieve greater satisfaction with fit will reduce returns and help sell more clothes,” says Jeff Recker, CEO of PlusSize.com.

The portal is integrating the model technology for Elisabeth by Liz Claiborne, Ulla Popken, SizeAppeal and Just My Size. Recker says it will add Jockey and Lands’ End in the coming weeks, as well as up to three major retailers within the quarter. “We are the only online mall using My Virtual Model,” Recker says. “What’s really great for plus size consumers is they are the first to be able to use this technology in a multiple retailer mall environment.”

My Virtual Model has agreed to promote the site by sending e-mail messages to the women who have created My Virtual Models anywhere else. Recker says he expects the My Virtual Model technology will engage consumers and create longer visits. “This really opens up our market and gives us some stickiness on our site,” he says. “Customers don’t have to go to five different web sites to buy clothes that they know will fit. They can create one model on our site and view a different number of garment selections.”

Customers create models of themselves by providing height, weight, hair color and hairstyle. The web site stores the virtual model and customers access it by password. Retailers provide garments and fitting information. Recker says retailers will add fit recommendations to the model technology.

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