July 1, 2010, 5:47 PM

A virtual model cinches higher conversions at retailer Hawes & Curtis

Hawes & Curtis lets customers virtually try them on with a tool from Fits.me.

Lead Photo

Antony Comyns, e-commerce manager, Hawes & Curtis

Hawes & Curtis, which makes and retails shirts and other apparel items, recently deployed Fits.me’s Virtual Fitting Room application to let an online shopper see how a fitted shirt might look on a torso model configured to his exact size.“This will surely help our customers’ decision process and increase sales and reduce package returns,” says Antony Comyns, e-commerce manager for Hawes & Curtis. In early trials of the Virtual Fitting Room, the retailer has experienced significant growth in its conversion rate among visitors who use the fitting application compared to those who don’t, he adds.

The retailer has seen a 57% increase in the conversion rate among customers who have used the Virtual Fitting Room compared to those who used the retailer’s traditional style and size guide, which is comprised of a static images and a grid of measurements by shirt size, according to Fits.me.

Comyns adds that the Virtual Fitting Room is proving to be particularly useful for sales to foreign customers. With many of its shoppers in Australia, for instance, the fitting application provides them more assurance that ordering from a long distance will result in a properly sized garment. As a result, the conversion rate has more doubled among Australian customers who use the Virtual Fitting Room.

Hawes & Curtis is one of the early users of Estonia-based Fits.me’s technology. Quelle, a retailer operating in Germany last year, realized a 28% decrease in the number of packages returned by customers who used the Fits.me application compared to customers who didn’t use it, according to Fits.me CEO Hiekki Haldre.

The Virtual Fitting Room lets a shopper enter comprehensive information about his size and shape, and provides instructions on how to take measurements. The application then applies these figures to what Fits.me calls a robotic mannequin, an online virtual mannequin that adjusts to a shopper’s entered size data. The shopper can then click one of several shirt images—each in a different size and style fit—to see how it would look if he were trying it on.

Fits.me currently offers the application only for men’s wear, but is planning a version for women for this fall. To support the Virtual Fitting Room, Fits.me produces up to 2,000 images of each product in multiple sizes, a spokesman says. The company charges its clients six to 15 cents every time someone visits the Virtual Fitting Room, regardless of how many products they try per visit, he adds.

Haldre says he expects strong growth for the Virtual Fitting Room in the U.S. market.

“Nobody can quite imagine a brick-and-mortar apparel shop to operate without a fitting room,” Haldre says. “Yet $31 billion worth of clothes are being sold in the U.S. on the Internet every year without first being tried on.”

Fits.me, whose name also serves as its web site address, acquired its domain name through Montenegro to get the .me in both its name and web address, a spokesman says.

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