Need to Know
- 3D fitting tool Fit:Match will begin rolling out virtual try-ons at Brookfield’s U.S. mall properties this fall.
- The tool will tell customers what size they are at various different mall retailers.
- Brookfield hopes Fit:Match will make online shopping more seamless and inclusive, and also help minimize returns.
- Brookfield is the second-largest mall operator in the U.S. and recently committed $5 billion to save struggling retailers during the ongoing pandemic.
As more shoppers report they are uncomfortable entering fitting rooms in clothing stores due to COVID-19, one of North America’s largest mall owners has partnered with an AI fitting tool that will make the online shopping experience more seamless and inclusive.
Brookfield, the property management firm that represents about 100 malls in the U.S., has signed a deal with Fit:Match to bring the latter company’s 3D fitting tool to Brookfield mall retailers.
Fit:Match, which first announced a collaboration with Brookfield in November 2019, is an AI and machine learning-powered tool that matches shoppers with apparel fits them based on biometric data using a proprietary tool called Fitch. Last year, it debuted a pop-up at Brookfield’s Baybrook Mall in Houston; Fit:Match will be integrated at Brookfield’s Oakbrook Center in Chicago in August, then Glendale Galleria in Los Angeles and Stonebriar Centre in Dallas in mid-September.
According to Fit:Match’s CEO Haniff Brown, the partnership is meant not only to cater to the rise in online shopping that has occurred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic but also to help retailers stem returns of products that don’t fit customers well.
“How do you make apparel shopping profitable? You limit returns, and you increase conversion rates,” he told CNBC. “You don’t have to spend as much money on marketing for a person when you know them already.”
According to a recent survey by retail predictive analytics company First Insight, about 49% of millennial consumers would not feel safe trying on clothes in dressing rooms, even as the coronavirus pandemic begins to subside. Among baby boomers, that number is 71%.
Neither Brookfield nor Fit:Match has revealed which retailers will be adopting the technology. Brookfield is also an investor in Fit:Match, though neither company has revealed what that investment looks like.
The partnership between Brookfield and Fit:Match comes as many companies are adopting augmented reality and digital-fitting technology to cater to customers who are unable or unwilling to try on items in-store. Last week, Gucci debuted a try-on lens with Snapchat which will allow prospective customers to use AR technology to try on and purchase the brand’s footwear within the Snapchat app; ASOS, the online fashion retailer, launched a tool in May that allows customers to see how apparel “fits” on different models.