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England, and Austin, says the survey reflects opinions of shoppers in both the US and the UK.
Customers want free shipping and returns when they order online. And e-commerce startups are looking to leverage tech tools like analytics to enable shoppers to make more precise orders—ones that might reduce the number of items a person initially orders—to help retailers reduce the volume of returns.
In addition to Fitcode, other e-commerce startups are using innovations in analytics, sensors, and imaging to connect shoppers with the clothing they want the most. True Fit, which is based in Boston, raised a Series C investment of $55 million in January to further develop what the startup calls “a genome for apparel and footwear” that not only focuses on fit, but style elements as well. Israel-based LikeAGlove has developed smart leggings that measure a person’s figure and then can recommend specific styles and brands of pants for that person.
Fitcode works like this: A shopper takes an online quiz on Fitcode’s website, which asks about body shape, including characterizations of thighs, butt, and legs—such as lean, curvy, athletic—the jeans size you typically wear, and your age. The website uses the data to give you your Fitcode, and uses that Fitcode to recommend pairs of jeans from the brands that the analysis says fits best.
My Fitcode suggested jeans from Joe’s Jeans and Silver Jeans. After putting in my preferences on rise height and denim wash, I was able to zero in to around four pairs that I liked best. (Fitcode sent me one of those jeans, by Silver, which did fit perfectly, except for being too long. I’m just five-feet tall, so that didn’t surprise me at all.)
Would I have been able to find this pair of Silver jeans on my own? Maybe. But going through the Fitcode did make the process easier.
Fitcode’s customers include retailers like Nordstrom and brands like Levi’s, 7 for All Mankind, and Kut from the Kloth. They pay the Kirkland, WA-based startup a licensing fee and a small percentage of each sale that Fitcode helps broker. Buckley says Fitcode, which raised $3.2 million in a Series A round of funding in late 2015, has about 300,000 unique users and 10 employees.
In addition to reducing the costs of unneeded returns, Buckley says Fitcode can also provide valuable market intelligence to retailers and brands. “It can come down to: ‘If I increase the rise half an inch, it will fit 70 percent more” prospective customers, she says.