High-tech startups reinvent lingerie industry squeezing the advantages of digitalisation [5 Reading tips]
Too tight. Too loose. Too small. Too big. Uncomfortable. Longer straps, ugly marks. No pain, no gain. This is the perfect illustration to describe the big frustration during the customer journey of many women pursuing the dream bra. Spending hours in a fitting room fitted and measured by a stranger to end up empty-handed. However, this annoying reality can be a matter of the past.
Cutting-edge technology is booming the lingerie market, warming up the environment and making women rise up and get a proper bra fitting, breaking down barriers and starting to challenge the dominance of Victoria Secret, the indisputable leader, focusing exclusively in a data-driven digitalized customer experience.
This is the formula of a few startups to tackle the never ending fitting challenge replacing tape measures, fitting rooms and standardized sizes by technology and the implementation of the latest trends in mobile and digital commerce: personalization, flexible and user-friendly return policy and the squeeze of social media channels to promote themselves, obtaining great revenues and causing a high impact in the market.
- They emphasize the uniqueness of every woman and consequently the disposal of a very wide and customized range of bras taking into account real women shapes, instead of only sizes.
- The use of ultimate high technology solutions to overcome the barrier of shopping online and find the right bra for every woman at one click.
- Free and easy return policy.
- Perfect and rewarding shopping experience.
But… what are the main differences between each one?
The main differences can be found in the technology used to achieve their goals:
Adore Me: just one quiz and VIP membership for a fullfilled bra shopping experience
The New York based-company, founded in 2012, is becoming the new rising star in the challenging lingerie online industry and aims literally “to slay Victoria’s Secret”, as Adore Me’s director of business and brand development, Sharon Klapka recently stated.
Inviting new mobile and web shoppers to fill out a quiz, they gather the relevant information about their style and measures to create a personalized showroom that you can see at first sight on the screen underneath the best sellers. From my point of view, the concept is slightly different from a pure tech perspective focusing on the perfect fitting and efficient measurements techniques, like ThirdLove does with their App, and stands out the crowd because it promotes not only the perfect fitting bra but also an stylish and confy shopping experience.
To do so they use a subscription-based membership service, known as “VIP Membership”, that let them enjoy offers, exclusive deals and avoid extra costs. The showroom changes every month by the implementation of Zara’s so called “fast-fashion” production. Once the members make the choices, the bras are shipped free to them.
Moreover, Adore Me is using A/B testing to make sure its ads and outfits have a great impact into its audience. Last but not least, it is making the most out of social media channels to promote their new fancy outfits and to appeal to their young target, the millennials, as well as using rewarding programs to stimulate the purchase and enrich the loyalty of the subscribers.
ThirdLove: Snapchat to pursuing the right bra without leaving home
ThirdLove was founded in San Francisco, in 2013, by the couple David Spector and Heidi Zak, who used their experience they have gained in previous roles in different Sillicon Valley companies to present a model that stands out from the crowd.
Their formula combines cutting edge imaging technologies, big data analytics and logistics and supply management in order to help finding the right size for every customer.
How it works? You take a series of selfies using the app (not yet for Android). Then, ThirdLove processes and converts the photo into 3D shapes and matches them up to its database of own-brand bras directly from your phone, so no selfies are ever uploaded, and suggest some models.
They are also using this data essentially to open up a greater range of sizes introducing half-cup measurements, what means an increase of 30%, to match a wider range of body shapes. Apparently, it is the only one in the market who dares to do so. The quiz is also the preferable solution.
This is what is cooking behind the scenes in the online lingerie panorama. In the era of digital and instant commerce nothing is impossible and a few startups, based mainly in US and UK, are climbing by a solid headway the big mountain of succeeding on selling online intimates.
Another underlying paradigm is the fact that technology is re-focusing the center of lingerie industry, putting now the stress on women, who actually wear this apparel, instead of men. The market is becoming more fair, realistic and feminine turning round the Victoria Secrets concept. Is the leader trembling?
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