CEO Sharon Price John says Build-A-Bear’s old e-commerce system is a big reason for disappointing online sales in December.
True Fit technology enables shoppers to match body types with apparel.
Women looking for the perfect pair of jeans on Macys.com now have digital help, with the retailer’s launch this week of a personalization tool that recommends apparel based on shoppers’ body types.
“The women’s apparel business, and ready-to-wear category especially, are very fast growing for us,” says Macys.com president Kent Anderson. “This is a continuation of a journey that we’ve been on for a while, but now we are raising the bar a bit.”
The new platform in the women’s denim finder section of the retailer’s e-commerce site, called True Fit, asks shoppers which sizes and brands of pants they already wear, such as Banana Republic or 7 for All Mankind, that fit them the best. Shoppers then describe their body types with choices like curvy for hips, or flat for rear ends. No measurements are required.
Macys.com then directs shoppers to a Shop True to You section, which recommends several pants styles based on shoppers’ profiles. The section also displays True Fit Size, which suggests the most appropriate size, and True Fit Scores, which indicate with a five-star scale the pants that will fit the best. Shoppers also can view True Fit Details, which shows how loose or tight each particular item will fit a shopper’s body in particular areas, such as loose in the knees or snug in the hips.
True Fit Corp., which developed the technology, has reached out to the manufacturers of most of Macy’s jeans brands to get sizing specifications of each product, and is consequently more able to accurately gauge, for example, which pairs tend to fit tighter or run long, Anderson says.
Additionally, shoppers can click on a Love It button below each recommended product image and also share their favorites on Facebook.
There are a number of personalization tools like virtual web cams that aim to alleviate shopper concerns about purchasing apparel online without ever trying it on. But it was the simplicity that sold Macy’s on True Fit. “We discovered a while back that women are remarkably willing to share a little bit about themselves,” Anderson says. “Keeping it simple is more important than whiz bang technology.”
Macy’s says the True Fit implementation is part of a larger strategy the retailer is undertaking that aims to provide a shopping experience that is more tailored and personal to each consumer. “This could be in providing more rich content or personalized products,” Anderson says. “Eventually we will get to the point that we can organize the online store this way. If you are a value shopper, for example, we can show you discounted items first when you enter the site.”
The new personal-fit technology also bodes well for Macy’s multichannel retail strategy, as smartphone users are able to access their True Fit profiles and specific recommendations on the mobile web, which can narrow their search for products once they are in the stores. The retailer might expand the tool into the shoes and dresses categories, Anderson says.
Macy's built the demin finder section of its e-commerce site with Adobe Systems Inc.’s Flash imaging technology, which means users of Apple Inc.’s mobile devices are currently unable to access this feature because Apple products do not support Flash. The retailer expects to phase out Flash this Fall, Anderson says.
Macy’s Inc., No. 17 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, is the first retailer client to implement the True Fit technology, but True Fit says it plans to roll it out more broadly in the coming weeks and months with additional retailer clients. New platforms such as mobile apps and in-store kiosks are also in the works.