Sourcing Journal

 

How This E-Comm Fashion Startup Uses Perfitly to Reverse the Returns Curse
By Jessica Binns


It’s hard to find great-fitting clothes when you’re an American man shorter than the 5’9” average. Peter Manning NYC is one of the leaders trying to change this problem in men’s wear and, another, Ash & Eerie, garnered national attention following a successful turn on “Shark Tank” that yielded a $150,000 windfall to develop its business for shorter-than-average men.

But like many of its “outlier” peers on the sizing spectrum—petites and plus-size on the women’s side, for example—fashion for men of modest height is generally sorely lacking. And Steve Villanueve wanted to do something about that.

After a career in global procurement and supply chain management for companies like Dell, Flextronics and IBM, Villanueve launched Otero Menswear in March of 2018, which for now offers a small collection of tees, polos and accessories via e-commerce and Amazon that’s designed to complement and flatter the smaller male frame. (Premium denim is coming soon, too, Villanueve said.) Each element that goes into the mercerized or liquid cotton shirt is proportional to the wearer’s height, from polo plackets to cuffs and collars, Villanueve explained, and shirts are designed a little bit oversized so they shrink down to a comfortable fit after a wash cycle or two—a nod to how most guys treat their clothes.

Even though Villanueve was confident he had a good product on his hands, he was well aware of the challenges of selling clothing online where people can’t try things on before deciding to purchase. Guys especially need a helping hand to figure out their best-fitting size. Otero designs for men with triangle and rectangle frames and those who are often confused about which one they are, Villanueve said.

It’s a difficult concept to communicate, he continued, and “hard for guys to wrap their heads around it.”

But when it comes to shopping for clothes online, getting your message across quickly and clearly can mean the difference between making a sale and losing a potential customer forever. “People spend an average of three seconds on a site before they click away if they don’t understand things,” Villanueve explained.

Even when you’ve convinced people to purchase, they’re taking a calculated risk and hoping they got their size right, but the flipside of that gamble is a staggering level of e-commerce product returns that “crushes the industry,” Villanueve said, and runs between 15 percent and 30 percent, according to the CBRE’s Reverse Logistics Report. Fit tops the list of reasons people send back their online clothing purchases, including those who buy multiple sizes in the hopes that one will make the grade.

As the founder of a small, bootstrapped startup, Villanueve didn’t want to deal with an onslaught of returns that would strain his resources and potentially tarnish the customer experience. Discovering Perfitly changed the game, he said.

How Perfitly makes the virtual fitting room possible

Perfitly offers virtual fitting room technology that integrates with e-commerce sites and seems to succeed where others have tried and failed. That’s not for a lack of effort or sufficient smarts on the part of others who have attempted in the past, CEO and co-founder Dave Sharma said, but simply because the tech that makes it possible has now caught up to where it needs to be.

The outsize growth in e-commerce versus traditional retail is perhaps the main driver in why so many startups are trying to solve the problems that persist with shopping online.

E-commerce sales in the first quarter of 2019 drew $137.7 billion, representing 12.4 percent year-on-year growth, far higher than the 2.7 percent increase for total retail sales in the comparable period, according to data from the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce. As more people shift their shopping online, that’s only exacerbating the challenge around returns bemoaned by merchants of all sizes. In fact, more than two-fifths (44 percent) of retailers responding to one survey describe online returns as a significant drag on their profits.

In the scramble to elevate e-commerce and drive a sustainable online business, many companies have developed one facet of virtual fitting room technology, such as body scanning, for example. Startups including 3DLOOK and MySizeID lean on technologies like computer vision and artificial intelligence to help consumers take body measuring into their own hands. Capturing millimeter-accurate measurements is helpful, Sharma said, but just one of several steps needed to help people find the clothing that fits best.

Virtual fitting room technology that functions as a truly complete end-to-end solution requires four elements, Sharma explained: enabling shoppers to build and save their virtual avatar profile; simulating garments and fabric draping with near-perfect precision; overlaying 3-D garment renderings onto virtual avatars to demonstrate the nuances of fit and variations in drape; and presenting all of this for the customer in a way that’s seamless, intuitive, and inspires confidence.

When shoppers enter just a few key body measurements—chest, waist, hips and more—into the Perfitly plugin on a retailer’s website, they’ll see a virtual avatar of themselves that can then model any clothing they like (barring lingerie, outerwear and children’s wear for now, Sharma pointed out.) Shoppers can quickly see how different clothing sizes look on their avatar, demystifying size discrepancies from one retailer to the next. People can access their avatar on any brand website that’s integrated with Perfitly, much as how True Fit profiles work across the web. As of now, Perfitly’s technology accommodates 95 percent of the U.S. adult population and 90 percent of the clothing on the market, largely everyday ready-to-wear garments.

People typically achieve 95 percent accuracy when taking their own measurements manually, but Perfitly is working on a soon-to-be-released smartphone app update that takes just two photos to capture body data yielding a 2 percent improvement in accuracy, moving that much closer to the goal of 100 percent.

Perfitly’s role in returns and beyond

Otero has handled just two product returns since it integrated Perfitly about five months following the men’s wear brand’s launch. One was an accidental purchase and the other came back without explanation, Villanueve said. Even considering that Otero is a small start-up brand with a very limited product assortment, keeping returns to less than a handful seems to be an achievement worth noting. New York City-based men’s wear brand Descendant of Thieves saw its returns rate plunge from 28 percent to 10 percent following its Perfitly deployment, while conversion ticked upward from 4 percent to 7.2 percent. Sell-through saw gains of 32 percent and overall, sales grew 69 percent.

As he’s seeing the benefits throughout his business, Villanueve thinks Perfitly could improve his approach to product design and development. Fit forms are expensive, he said, and you need to have them in house as well as on-site with your manufacturer. Perfitly’s tech could enable virtual fit forms in different heights and clothing sizes so that designs could be adjusted virtually—reducing the number of physical samples produced before a product is approved to go to market.

How it all works

Sharma said he’s seen a steady stream of interest from brands and retailers since Perfitly attended NRF and Shoptalk earlier this year, but as they consider the technology, some companies find that they need to get their data house in order before it makes sense to move forward with innovation of any kind. Indeed, data management is one of those topics that keeps bubbling at industry conferences as apparel firms parse future-forward technologies while maintaining a clear-eyed gaze at the operational realities inside their organizations today.

In some senses, Perfitly’s utility hinges on the structures and processes brands and retailers have in place. Sometimes the tech pack that a brand sends to Perfitly in order to create the virtual twin ends up getting tweaked when it arrives at the manufacturer, resulting in a digital garment that differs slightly from the product that comes out of the factory. It’s up to the brand to communicate those changes, Sharma said, so that Perfitly’s 3-D rendering matches the finished garment down to every minute detail. That this kind of lapse in communication happens at all points to a “wider problem and lack of discipline in the supply chain and is found in all industries, not confined to apparel,” he explained.

Some brands are looking for ways to automate tech pack transmission to Perfitly so that all new products can feature the virtual try-on button on their site. As of now, brands have to send tech packs over as each new arrival rolls in, which can be a challenge for companies that might lack the resources to submit this data in a timely fashion. Automating this step doesn’t require anything special beyond “a good ol’ encrypted data dump,” Sharma noted. Ideally, Perfitly receives the tech packs as soon as they’re sent to the factory so there’s plenty of time to prepare the digital assets and have them ready to upload to e-commerce before the physical garment arrives in house and makes it online.

Perfitly typically renders virtual garments in just a few days, and clothing for women—with all of their varying body types and morphologies, Sharma noted—overall is more demanding than men’s wear. Dresses and shirts are fairly easy to digitally recreate and pants require a bit more finesse, but the Perfitly system “has still not learnt when to stop wrapping a wrap-around,” Sharma explained, adding that his team is looking into a fix. “One of these days I think it will choke an avatar.”

Today Perfitly can e-manufacture 300,000 garments per year and is looking to more than triple its capacity to 1 million by the time the curtains fall on 2019. To manage all of the inbound interest, especially from large global brands and the volume they’d demand, Perfitly is seeking to raise $3 million to $5 million to fund the bootstrapped firm’s next phase of growth.

Because omnichannel dictates how many brands and retailers operate today, Perfitly is working on a solution for stores, too. It’s also developing a way for avatars to wear multiple garments at once so shoppers can visualize complete outfits.

If any of these features help brands reverse their return rates, that’s a big win for business and the planet as companies could spend $550 billion just facilitating return deliveries by 2020, according to data from Statista.

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DIGITIMES

 

The Digital Twin application concept for the apparel industry? The virtual fitting room market will reach 7.6 billion US dollars in 2024


"App and software shoppers use the virtual fitting room to understand the effects of clothing and accessories without having to actually wear them. Retailers can make promotions directly to consumers and interact with them using virtual fitting room solutions. So many startups are developing virtual fitting rooms.

According to Markets & Markets and WWD, startup Perfitly wants to launch a perfect virtual fitting service with AR, Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). To simulate the experience of the physical fitting room, Perfitly uses the brand's technology package to create a digital version of each product, allowing customers to try on in the virtual fitting room.

The Perfitly platform is now deployed with six brands. Perfitly works with the New York-based menswear brand, Descendant of Thieves, and other companies to provide appropriate try-on and visualization on cloud-based software...

Market research firm Markets & Markets estimates that the global virtual fitting room market will grow from $2.9 billion in 2019 to $7.6 billion in 2024. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the forecast period was 20.9%. Factorization, increased IT spending and the adoption of new technologies by retail brands, the virtual fitting room market has potential for growth in the coming years.

In the market segments of apparel, accessories, eyewear, jewelry and watches, beauty and cosmetics, apparel is expected to grow at the highest annual compound growth rate.

The virtual fitting room market is divided into hardware, software and services by component. Due to the increased use of virtual fitting room solutions in physical stores and virtual stores, the software division is expected to have the largest percentage during the forecast period.

Markets & Markets estimates that North America will maintain its largest market size during the forecast period. In North America, growth rates can be attributed to a variety of factors, including advanced technology, economic growth, increased customer demand, and high investment from virtual fitting room solution providers."

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Women's Wear Daily

 

How Perfitly Is Re-creating the Physical Fitting Room


With 97 percent accuracy in Perfitly avatars, actual garment details (including fabric drape, texture and size) are e-manufactured.
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National Retail Federation

 

2019 NRF Big Show Tip of the Spear: Perfitly

Watch our Co-Founder Raghav Sharma explaining our technology to the media at NRF.
Watch Video >>>



RSR Research

 

Best in show - Perfitly

Join the analysts from RSR as they walk through the highlights of the 2019 NRF Big Show in New York. Three days of expo hall and tech demos packed into a 1 hour presentation, this is a great resource for people who didn't attend - and for those who did and couldn't see it all. Watch video >>>



National Retail Federation

 

Meet the tech startups driving retail innovation in 2019

Perfitly is an AR/VR platform that lets shoppers see themselves in specific garments and find the right look and fit for them, helping retailers reduce the huge cost and waste that comes with return shipping.
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RIS News

 

Best of NRF 2019: Top 10 Takeaways

Perfitly is recreating the in-store fitting room experience online. Shoppers simply upload a few photos of themselves from various angles to generate a 3D avatar. The avatar is then able to “try on” clothing, allowing the shopper to see exactly how different sizes and cuts will look on their unique frame.
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iHeart Radio

 

Passage to Profit (min 23-32)

Listen to our Co-founder Raghav Sharma telling the Perfitly story to Inc Magazine Editor, while describing the benefits and amazing results from our partnerships.
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ClickZ- Marketing Technology Transformation

 

5 retail technology highlights from NRF 2019: Retail's Big Show

 

Augmented reality fittings

According to 3D modeling company Body Labs, poor fit is the catalyst for 77% of online returns. Perfitly tackles that problem with scan-based avatars and 3D clothing replicas. The company’s technology combines those, enabling shoppers to see how the items look on their bodies, rather than those of the models on the website, people whose job it is to look great in clothes. Retailers like Descendant of Thieves, Otero Menswear and Masterclass Apparel already use Perfitly on their websites.
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California Apparel News

 

The NRF’s 2019 Big Show Features Innovative Solutions – and Robot Attendees

Perfitly is an AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) platform for apparel e-commerce that creates a 3-D body image using a mobile app. Consumers can easily enter their measurements in the app and create their own personalized avatars when online shopping. Soon to be released, consumers will have the abilitiy to scan their own bodies using their mobile devices for a virtual fitting-room experience during their online shopping journey.
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InformationWeek.com

 

How Retail is Advancing AI, IoT

“Perfitly creates virtual avatars of customers based on their measurements so that these customers can virtually try on different sizes of clothes from online retailers..”
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Retail Info Systems News

 

Best of NRF 2019: Top 10 Takeaways

“Perfitly is recreating the in-store fitting room experience online. Shoppers simply upload a few photos of themselves from various angles to generate a 3D avatar. The avatar is then able to “try on” clothing, allowing the shopper to see exactly how different sizes and cuts will look on their unique frame.”
Read more >>>



CGTN America

 

Retailers fight back in the era of online shopping

“Technology like this can be another blow to traditional brick and mortar retailers..”
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Innovadores by Inndux

 

These are the Most Innovative Retail Startups in 2019

“The platform of augmented reality and virtual reality of Perfitly allows online shoppers to see themselves with certain clothes that do not know if they fit or not. The objective is to reduce the cost of returning these products today.”
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Market Scale

 

7 COMPANIES BRINGING INNOVATION TO NRF 2019

"Users create a digital avatar based on two simple photos of themselves. The avatar can be used on any clothing brand’s site that teams with this startup. The technology uses 240,000 data points to make the avatar and clothing sizes as accurate as possible."
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FrenchWeb.fr

 

NRF 2019- The Tech Startups That Will Innovate This Year In Retail

"Perfitly, an AR/VR platform based in NY, allows users to see themselves dressed in specific garments to decide on their purchases. The solution aims to reduce the costs and waste associated with the returns."
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We are proud to announce that we’ll be exhibiting at the Startup Street at ShopTalk in Vegas in March! Come visit us and try our virtual fitting room! Booth SS34.
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Otero Menswear

 

Meet Kash: CTO of Perfitly

Since Otero Menswear and Perfitly have pioneered a new frontier in fashion technology and superior fit, we’d like to introduce you to one of the minds behind the Virtual Fitting Room technology: Meet Kash Vyas, the CTO of Perfitly.
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Another great article on our exciting collaboration with Otero Menswear p. 56
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It was a pleasure to partner with #TheLeadSummit and be a part of the Problem Talk, speaking about our solution to some of the industry’s main challenges and leading a roundtable discussion.
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We’re excited to announce that we were chosen to be a part of the #NRF #InnovationLab in NYC in January! Come see for yourself how we’re going to revolutionize the apparel retail industry and experience our virtual fitting room!
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A new partnership between cutting-edge designer Otero Menswear and a new fashion technology startup Perfitly. Otero has always been committed to rethinking fit.. Perfitly is the new gold standard in digital shipping as their virtual dressing room takes the guess work out of online shopping..
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“Perfitly is fantastic in the way it works with us on user experience and a data return feedback loop to make its product smarter.. return rate has dropped from 28 percent to 10 percent..”
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Customization, Marketplace Solutions and 3D Fit Technology Standout Themes…Perfitly stood out from the crowd of presenters at FashInvest with its 3D fit and visualization solution...
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Five Tech Companies Set to Change the Fashion Industry…If you’ve ever wanted to try on clothes from the comfort of your living room while shopping online...
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These 15 Companies Are Bringing Tech to Fashion…Online shopping can be a gamble – because you never get to try a product on you...
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