December 30, 2001, 12:00 AM

FUBU expects modeling technology to increase sales

Urban lifestyle clothier FUBU expects online modeling technology to increase sales at its clothing site for teens and young adults.

Urban lifestyle clothier FUBU expects the online modeling technology it recently deployed at its clothing site for teens and young adults could increase sales by 10%, Bill Copen, CEO of, tells In that event, the technology will pay for itself, he says. researched the use of imaging technology to allow online shoppers to see how clothes fit. It found a high level of interest among customers. But it felt at the time that the models were not reflective of its urban, largely African-American audience. "If we want to give people the ability to see their virtual selves, the representation must be realistic," Copen says. "It can’t be an insult to their intelligence." asked My Virtual Model Inc., developer of the technology, to come up with a model that represented its audience, Copen says. "They spent way more time than they anticipated, but eight months later they had developed a set of models that represented our niche," he says. deployed the modeling technology a week before Christmas to test it with its audience but without risking a major shopping period if there were glitches. Copen says initial results were favorable and that probably will integrate the My Virtual Model technology more deeply into the site when it does a re-design with spring merchandise in January.

The adoption of online modeling technology is part of a move by to make its site more lifelike. It is planning to use more real models to display merchandise, rather than mannequins, and will return to a previous strategy of using celebrities to model clothing, Copen says. in the past has used such stars as L.L. Cool J. to model apparel. hosts 3 million unique visitors a year, Copen says, spending an average of 30 to 40 minutes a month at the site. About half go to to shop. The site does about $1 million a year. While that’s only a small portion of FUBU’s $300 million to $400 million a year in retail and wholesale sales, Copen says, "For an e-commerce site that wasn’t promoted, we’re comfortable with that."


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