The problem of fit is often top-of-mind for e-commerce retailers. While more people are turning to their digital devices to shop, they’re often stunted before making a purchase — or return items after they arrive — due to concerns with fit.
One Silicon Valley start-up looking to solve the problem is $10.5 million closer to its goal.
Fashion software company Avametric said it received that much in Series A funding, led by Khosla Ventures, to help fund development of software that creates 3-D images showing how any item of clothing will fit on a user’s own body. (This is in addition to a seed round lead by Khosla with participation from Y Combinator, among others.)
Like a virtual fitting room, Avametric’s technology allows a digital try-on experience for online shoppers. A shopper can scan his or her body (using in-store scanners or, in the future, at-home scanning software) or input body size and shape to give an idea of what apparel and accessories will look like on. The software can be used on desktop or mobile devices, and can provide customized virtual lookbooks for shoppers.
Chief executive officer Ari Bloom, who worked at West Elm and Gap Inc., said this potentially could do for online conversion rates what fitting rooms do for in-store conversion rates, even while considering that online conversion rates are typically much lower. “If we can double the [online] conversion rates,” he said, “that would be a big opportunity.”
Avametric’s founder and chief technology officer, David Jackson, was working on self-driving cars and computer vision in Stanford’s Computer Science department when he realized that the same algorithms could be used to understand the shape of a human being. He partnered with Academy Award-winning digital animator and computer scientist James O’Brien, who is now chief science officer at Avametric.
Bloom said going forward, Avametric will be able to create personalized content for fashion brands to serve customers, and that first module will be to create personalized campaigns. For example, a customer might get an e-mail with a personalized lookbook of their body in six to eight looks. And rather than replacing models, Bloom said, the intent is to keep the aspirational aspect of models while allowing the customer to then make confident purchase decisions.
“Until now,” Bloom said, “[e-commerce] brands have been lacking the tools to rival the physical retail experience.” With Avametric, he said, brands can “create new ways to leverage the untapped retail potential of the internet.”
The technology has been in development for four years, and the company plans to introduce its first retail partner this spring.