It can be a huge letdown when you order clothes online, only to find that they just don’t fit properly. abof partnered with Metail to launch a digital experience that lets customers try on clothes before they buy. Shoppers who use the tool spend three times more, have a 2.77 times higher conversion rate and are 1.78 times more likely to revisit.
Sick of getting stuck in a vicious cycle of online ordering and returns? abof wanted to deliver seamless digital journeys that cut return rates, boost engagement and encourage repeat business.
With a digital experience that lets shoppers try before they buy, and personalized product recommendations online and on mobile, abof is making it easier than ever to find the perfect fashion fit.
Isn’t it annoying how clothes always seem to fit models perfectly online, but can manage to look less than flattering when you try them on in person? Not only do you have to deal with the disappointment of the ideal outfit not fitting, you also have to go to the trouble of arranging a pick-up or making a trip to the post office to return the order.
As a new player looking to shake up India’s e-commerce market, abof wanted to create a shopping experience that wows customers and makes it easier for them to find clothes that fit them perfectly.
An abof spokesperson elaborates: “We are sharply focused on millennials and know that capturing their attention and a share of their wallet requires much more than a one-size-fits-all experience. This is why we have built our brand around three pillars of differentiation: user experience, personalization and clothing fit.
“Our priority was to create a mobile-first concept that offered customers seamless shopping journeys across all touchpoints. We also aimed to shape experiences that were highly personalized and engaging. Nowadays, people are bombarded with so much content online that they have only so much time to take it all in. The challenge we face is finding ways to capture consumers’ limited attention and then hold it for as long as possible.
“Finally, we recognized that poor garment fit is one of the biggest pain points with online shopping—both for consumers and retailers. It causes frustration and inconvenience for shoppers, and fit-related returns can cost retailers millions, not only in terms of lost revenue but also because of the expense associated with shipping and processing them. We knew that if we could better match customers with correctly fitting garments, then we had an opportunity to win their trust and repeat business, and improve our margins.”
To turn its bold vision into reality, abof needed the very best e-commerce platform—and a joint offering from IBM and Metail proved to be the ideal solution.
Today, abof is engaging customers with a seamless, personalized shopping experience across all touchpoints. Whether shoppers choose to browse online or on mobile—via their desktop browser or the abof mobile app—they are welcomed with a continuous flow of fashion content, stories and style tips, all of which are linked to the latest trends from abof’s online catalogue.
“Our homepage has been designed with a similar look-and-feel to websites like Pinterest and Instagram,” explains a spokesperson. “Visitors can scroll through curated content and when they click through to a specific story, they are presented with photos of similar looks and invited to shop the story—leading them to a specific section of our catalogue, where they can browse and buy products.
“We find that presenting visitors with this kind of story-driven, ‘snackable’ content—as opposed to a huge wall of products—is a much better way to capture their attention, encourage them to spend more time thinking about and viewing our products, and ultimately inspire them to make a purchase. Of course, if a customer just wants to browse our main catalogue, then they can easily do that as well.”
When a customer finds a piece of clothing that they like, they can see how the garment might look when worn, using the Metail virtual fitting room tool. Users simply click a “Try me on” icon displayed next to a product, enter their height, weight and bra size, and the tool uses the data to generate a custom “MeModel” to visualize how the clothing will fit on their unique body type. Users can even mix and match different items of clothing to create a head-to-toe look. What’s more, the solution can provide personalized size recommendations based on the measurements supplied by the user and sizing charts from abof.
Currently, the experience is available to female shoppers, with a launch for male customers planned in the near future. Ultimately, abof plans to integrate sharing capabilities with the tool, enabling users to post the outfits they have created to social media.
Behind the scenes, abof is capturing rich data on customer preferences and measurements, which it will use to refine garment sizing and product recommendations.
“The aim is to match consumers to garments that fit both their body type and style preferences,” says a spokesperson. “By taking user data and feeding it into machine learning algorithms, we can start to build a more accurate picture of what products and sizes are likely to sell best with each customer. This will allow us to provide a much more personalized shopping experience that encourages consumers to buy. And better fit guidance will allow us to reduce return rates—boosting customer satisfaction and delivering cost savings for abof.”
abof’s fresh approach to online shopping is already delivering tangible results. In particular, the virtual fitting room tool is encouraging customers to make more purchases, spend more with each transaction and come back more often.
“Customer engagement has shot up,” remarks a spokesperson. “We are seeing that shoppers who use Metail tend to convert 2.77 times more, spend 3 times as much and have a 1.78 times higher revisit rate than those who do not.
“As we continue to refine our sizing and style recommendations, we expect to boost customer satisfaction and trust. We want to position ourselves as a go-to source for the latest in fashion, a retailer that understands consumers’ unique needs and someone they can trust to provide the right styles in the right size.”
By offering personalized content that grabs customer attention, and a novel way to interact with fashion, abof has created an online shopping experience that stands out from the crowd.
A spokesperson concludes: “We definitely believe that we are delivering a retail experience that consumers can’t get anywhere else in India—or even internationally—particularly when it comes to trying clothes on, online. In a market as crowded as ours, this kind of competitive differentiation is invaluable.
“abof was founded with a vision of becoming India’s leading online fashion brand, and we feel that we are making great strides towards achieving this goal. We are shaping seamless shopping experiences that capture consumers’ attention and spark their creativity, while also making it easier than ever for customers to find and buy fashion that fits them.”
To learn more about IBM e-commerce and merchandising solutions, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit: https://www.ibm.com/consulting/ecommerce
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