Going to a tailor to get a dress or suit hemmed or fitted can be cumbersome, especially if a shopper only wants to make a small or specific alteration to their garment. Air Tailor, an on-demand apparel alterations service that started as a text message-based app connecting individual consumers with tailors, has repositioned its focus to serve brick-and-mortar retailers across the U.S.
Despite a 98% customer satisfaction rate on quality and fit, the text-based Air Tailor platform was not driving customer acquisition efficiently. After receiving an email from a global luxury retailer interested in the platform to help streamline alterations for their customers, the Air Tailor team decided that partnering with other retailers was the company’s best bet for driving acquisition. In the pilot retail location, sales increased 7% in the months after the app was launched.
“There is a stigma associated with tailoring, that it’s very much intended [only] for special occasion-wear such as wedding dresses, tuxes and suits,” said Morgan Halberg, Head of Business Development at Air Tailor. “The reason we have pivoted to retail is actually to focus on customer acquisition, because this is just for new garments in-store. We found that the same complaint and question that we hear coming up all the time as we’ve been speaking to retailers is: ‘How do we solve fit?’ At the end of the day, everybody is shaped differently and there’s a certain amount of customization that has to go into everyday clothes fitting perfectly.”
Air Tailor launched its finished retail web app pilot in Steven Alan’s Tribeca, NYC store in Summer 2017. The store boosted sales 7% in the months after the launch, with the fashion retailer now expanding the app to all locations nationwide.
Empowering The Store Associate To Place Alteration Orders
The free app, which is accessible on any web browser, enables retailers to safety pin customer’s garments to mark the alterations, then submit and ship a shopper’s garments directly to their tailors. The tailors will alter the garment according to the pinning and order specifications. Measurements for the completed garments are saved to the customer’s profile for future orders. Orders are completed within seven to 10 days, then shipped straight to the customer’s home or back to the store for pick-up.
The Air Tailor software is designed to empower store associatesto identify customer-specific alterations and record them in a tablet at the POS. This enables the associate to provide added value to an interaction — an important consideration when many shoppers are spending more than $200 on these purchases.
“The instructions that we provide for store associates regarding how to pin garments appropriately are simple and easy-to-follow,” Halberg said. “People often come away with the impression that you have to be highly skilled and trained to do these things correctly. For most basic alterations, that’s actually not true. Obviously to complete the alteration you need that, but to prepare the garment you don’t. We always tell people that this started out as a direct-to-consumer business where people were pinning their own clothes in their homes, and then shipping them back to us.”
Participating retailers get free access to the web site to place orders, and Air Tailor charges them for the alteration orders that are placed. All prices are listed on the Air Tailor web site, and prices remain the same no matter where the shopper lives or which tailor their clothes are sent to. Prices range between $15 and $35 per piece or service.
Pre-Vetting Creates Reliable Tailoring Network
The company’s network of four tailoring partners across the U.S. has been pre-vetted on sample garments to ensure consistent quality. To build the network, Air Tailor team members specifically sought out the tailors via online search, and then visited the tailor shops to assess whether they were highly organized, had multiple tailors on staff and accepted credit cards. If the tailor passes these process and alterations tests, their shops are onboarded onto the Air Tailor platform.
“There is a sell to tailors because they’re such local businesses that are dependent on where they are regionally and who lives down the street from them,” Halberg said. “We do have a value-add for tailors in that we can bring more business that they wouldn’t come across otherwise, because these aren’t people that are just on your street.”