Selling swimsuits online was proving challenging for TA3 Swim due to customers often incorrectly choosing their own sizes — a problem for all apparel and footwear retailers, but particularly for the body-hugging styles sold by TA3 Swim. But when the brand incorporated virtual fitting room technology from AI-first mobile body measuring company 3DLOOK, the solution helped TA3 Swim cut its size-related customer return percentage nearly in half, to 9%, over a six-month period.
“If you’re struggling with returns, and who isn’t in this industry, it’s incredible to have such an innovative solution within reach for a small business,” said Leila Shams, Founder and CEO at TA3 Swim in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Many companies rely on vague quizzes to help their customers determine their size. This helps with conversions but does nothing for return rate.”
TA3 Swim was founded to give body-flattering swimwear options to women through compression fabrics that sculpt, and these products will work properly only when the size accurately reflects a customer’s measurements. In order to offer a personalized buying experience for its compression fabrics, the brand needed a solution that would identify the shapes of customers’ bodies beyond the standard measurements typically used by the apparel industry.
“We offer two lengths: short and regular/long,” said Shams. However, “most people don’t know their torso length, and it’s very difficult to measure. Of course, regular sizing was also an issue since the perfect fit was absolutely critical. Also, what’s difficult about the sizing charts is that many people don’t fit strictly into one size. They can have, for example, a size S bust, an M waist and L in hips. 3DLOOK’s algorithm chooses the measurements that are the most important; a shopper can’t do that on their own.”
Improved customer satisfaction resulting from 3DLook’s technology inspired Shams to consider how the solution could support new product launches, such as TA3 Swim’s recent introduction of an underwire suit that relies on bra sizing, which is “notoriously difficult for customers to determine and varies a lot by company,” said Shams.
Reducing Online Returns Through a Personalized Digital Journey
TA3 Swim began using the technology in February 2022 and created a personalized virtual fitting room for each shopper. Fit problems result in 38% of apparel returns, according to 3DLOOK. Following TA3 Swim’s implementation of 3DLook’s YourFit technology, the personalized experience yielded benefits including:
- A size-related return rate 76% lower than the industry average;
- 46% of customers who use YourFit converting to purchases; and
- 80% of shoppers who converted to purchase choosing YourFit recommended sizes.
Additionally, among customers who didn’t initially choose the technology’s recommended sizes, 45% returned the items they selected and requested an exchange for the product in a YourFit size.
“We’re helping consumers answer those two questions they have when they’re trying to buy something online, which is, ‘I wonder what size I should buy?’ and ‘I wonder what this is going to look like on me?,’” said Whitney Cathcart, Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer at 3DLOOK in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We’re out to help consumers have an easier time buying clothing that fits them and [that] they look and feel great in.”
The virtual fitting room also reduced the customer trend of bracketing — purchasing multiple sizes of the same product to try on at home, return the ill-fitting versions and keep the one piece that fits. After implementing the 3DLook technology, TA3 reported a low 2% rate of bracketing returns.
“If we’re giving a shopper confidence at the size that we’re recommending, it is going to fit them and they are buying one size as opposed to two or three,” noted Cathcart.
Engaging in a Virtually Perfect Apparel Sizing Experience
3DLook generated a YourFit virtual fitting room experience specifically for the TA3 brand. The technology continues to evolve through data analytics and machine learning, applying customer information with each virtual fitting room session.
“When we work with a brand, we look at the way that brand fits, so it’s almost like every brand gets their own personalized algorithm, and we have a whole back-end fit mapping system that does that,” explained Cathcart. “We end up making adjustments along the way because we have feedback loops and we’re an AI company. We apply machine learning so that these algorithms are always getting smarter.”
The personalized experience begins with a customer choosing a TA3 Swim style and selecting the Find My Size button. The voice-guided journey leads customers through a mobile scanning process during which the shopper takes two pictures. YourFit uses these images to calculate individual body measurements, yielding personalized size options in less than 60 seconds.
“With a lot of complex technology on the backend, we essentially build a 3D avatar of that consumer from those twophotos, and once we’ve got that avatar, we compute measurements from it,” said Cathcart. “That avatar is the foundation for everything that we do in 3DLook, and our path is built on the three different technologies: computer vision, machine learning with a lot of deep learning neural nets and 3D. [These all] ‘quote’ the avatar, which produces measurements to make body data-based size recommendations.”
By providing technology that generates suggestions for a perfect fit, which reduces returns, TA3 Swim supports a happier client journey that can inspire customers to spend more with the brand. And the benefits don’t stop there.
“Just yesterday, we received positive feedback about the solution, and not just from anyone, from a potential investor,” said Shams. “They ordered a swimsuit using YourFit and reported that the solution worked perfectly.”