What does the perfect fit really look like? Sabrina Abney, Ecommerce Director at Mizzen + Main, and David Pastewka , Co-Founder at Drapr, join the show to talk optimizing virtual try-on solutions, "comfortable AF" clothing, technology in digital-first marketplaces, and crafting the best-possible customer journey.

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Main Takeaways:

  • David Pastewka, co-founder of Drapr, and Sabrina Abney, Director of eCommerce at Mizzen+Main, join Brian and Phillip on today's episode.
  • Mizzen+Main is using innovative technologies like Drapr to take the online customer experience to new levels of personalization and ease.
  • Customers are becoming increasingly accustomed to a one-to-one retail experience, and body data is allowing brands to create just that.
  • Body data is allowing brands to get deeper insights into their customer bases to not only understand physical attributes of their core customers, but also to predict what sizes need to have larger inventory to meet consumer demand.

A Virtual Try-On Company Meets Quality and Comfort: The Drapr/Mizzen+Main Story:

  • Phillip met David a few months ago at the Drapr booth during RetailX and was taken back by how
  • Drapr allows customers to virtually see how clothing from various retailers will fit over their actual bodies in a way that is as close to photo-realism as possible while browsing on a store's website.
  • Sabrina takes us through a brief history of Mizzen+Main and how the founder came up with the idea after observing a bunch of sweaty interns.
  • Phillip remembers the first time he encountered Mizzen+Main through one of their memorable domain: comfortable.af.

Solving Fit Issues of Digitally Native Brands: Drapr Saves the Day:

  • Sabrina comments that all digitally native brands are challenged by the fact that customers can't try on products before they commit to a purchase.
  • The ability to see what a piece of clothing looks like on your body is a huge boon when it comes to making the decision to purchase.
  • Brian recalls the marketing campaign that featured JJ Watt as a great example of way to identify customers that connect with your brand.
  • Drapr is trying to replicate the experience of trying something on your body, and then standing in front of a mirror.

The Science Behind Try-On Technology: Replicating Fabric Online:

  • Brian asks David about how they handle the ways in which different types of fabrics behave and interact when worn.
  • While the "feel" of fabric cannot yet be captured online, the fit and draping qualities of Mizzen+Main shirts were captured with 3D scanning and cloth simulation.
  • The main goal of the process was the capture the realism of the shirts to make renderings as true to life as possible.
  • Sabrina explains that innovation is the fabric of Mizzen+Main's products and brand identity, and the technology behind Drapr is the perfect intersection of values.

Benchmarks of Success: Quantifying Innovation:

  • How do brands determine what is a successful innovation when the metrics of success are constantly evolving along with technology?
  • Sabrina reveals that there are KPIs that are being tracked (which are constantly being tweaked) along with invaluable customer surveys.
  • Brian geeks out the potential massive reduction in product returns that come along with the ability to see how clothing fits before purchasing.
  • "Success doesn't look like just a conversion, but looks like a positive customer experience which requires the ability to quantify whether or not it's a good experience."

Conversations Drive Direction: The Power of Customer Feedback:

  • Phillip asks David if the conversations that are being had with their customers are informing the future direction of Drapr.
  • Every single case and customer is so different, so the conversations give invaluable insight into how customers behave and what benefits them most along the customer journey.
  • The data from just the first set of customers using their tool has given Drapr enough information and direction to shape the next few months of development.
  • Phillip harkens back to the episode with Jeremy King and how everyone at eBay was required to speak directly to customers as part of the company culture.

Doing More to Earn Customer Loyalty: The Cost of Being a Premium Brand:

  • What can premium brands do to encourage customers to spend more on products that are at more of a premium price?
  • Sabrina speaks about how listening to their customers and making their voices heard attributes greatly to brand loyalty in addition to their innovation.
  • Mizzen+Main is in all Nordstrom stores across the country, has over 700 retail partners, and has started opening their own branded stores.
  • Just getting a customer to feel the fabric and try the shirts on is a huge factor in customer attribution, and it doesn't necessarily matter where the customers interact with the fabric.

Shaping the Future: Content Creation from Body Data:

  • Brian asks both Sabrina and David if digital try-on has lead or if it will lead to content creation sometime in the future.  
  • David says that content creation will play a huge part in Drapr's future, where you won't be putting clothing on a body that looks like you, but you will be simulating clothing on your actual body.
  • This extremely personalized image of a customer in a digitally rendered version of clothing is immediately shareable and be considered content creation.
  • Brand loyalty doesn't necessarily translate to loyalty of the technology that powers it so how do you bridge the gap from brand loyalty to loyalty in technology?

Intimate Personal Knowledge: The Management of Body Data:

  • Sabrina discusses the conversations that Mizzen+Main had with Drapr regarding the usage of customer data and how that data would be managed.
  • Who will own the data in this partnership between Mizzen+Main and Draper, the brand or the technology provider?
  • Can body data of a customer base help in the future development of a brand?
  • Brian brings up how a 3D body scanning app is in on Drapr's roadmap amd David confirms that there will be pilot programs being released within the next few months.

Making It Easy: How to Use Body Data for a Tailored Customer Experience:

  • Creating audience segments and campaigns for these segments based on body data is a natural trajectory for Mizzen+Main's marketing plan.
  • Sabrina mentions how size data can be used for birthday specific marketing, as a pain point in birthday marketing is that advertised pieces would not always be available in the customer's size.
  • Customers want a more one-to-one experience with product recommendations in not just style and color, but with fit and size that make it easier for them to shop.
  • Brian asks Sabrina is Mizzen+Main's customers will come to expect a personalized experienced based on their body data in the future.

Beyond the Customer Journey: Further Uses for Customer Body Data:

  • With the knowledge of customers' sizes, Brian asks Sabrina if body data affects the supply chain in regards to planning production trends.
  • As their core customer starts to get older, the body types and sizes that sell the most products change along with the customer ages.
  • Sabrina enlightens us that they are using their own version of predictive modeling to plan how much to make of certain sizes.
  • When customers find another brand that has clothing in their size, Sabrina predicts that it might already be too late and you have probably already lost that customer.

Five Years From Now: What Does the Future Look Like:

  • David predicts that everyone will be shopping as themselves online due to the undeniable advantages of shopping online.
  • Technology is progressing to the point where you will soon visit a brand's website and see pictures of yourself there in that brand's clothing.
  • Sabrina thinks virtual try-on will replace size guides in regards to customer expectations on clothing sites.
  • The entire customer journey from email, to advertising, and even to browsing websites will be tailored to an individual level.

Brands Mentioned in this Episode:

As always: We want to hear what our listeners think! With body data becoming more robust, where do you think the future of retail personalization will be within the next few years? Is there a point where customer data goes too far when it comes to intimate physical knowledge of customers' bodies?

Let us know in the content section on Futurecommerce.fm, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Linkedin.

Have any questions or comments about the show? You can reach out to us at info@futurecommerce.fm or any of our social channels; we love hearing from our listeners!

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