At an early-morning Shop.org breakfast in Los Angeles, Apparel got a sneak peak at some of the coolest startups innovating in retail technology. Here are a few highlights:
This Israeli startup pivoted away from its beginnings in hardware to focus on a more scalable solution to help shoppers find the footwear that's best for them. How does it work? It's simple, says CEO David Bleicher. Just step on the "dumb" ScanMat in store, align your heels along the supports at the bottom of the mat, open the Invertex app and scan your feet. The app supports multiple user profile, allowing a mom, for example, to create foot profiles for her kids and husband.
Once your feet are scanned, the app tells you what's your best size in that particular shoe brand. This saves time and frustration, and also helps to drive traffic to the brand's e-commerce site, according to Bleicher, as customers, empowered by the knowledge of which sizes will fit, are interested in learning more about products and options.
Bleicher also notes that Invertex helps improve customer satisfaction and reduce returns, a perpetual pain point in apparel and footwear e-commerce. Last year alone, Zappos lost $100 million due to returns — not exactly small change.
Current customers include Nike, adidas and Zara.
For the consumer who isn't 100 percent confident in dressing herself, FindMine can help to seal the deal, discover new products and personalize outfits. With the FindMine app, consumers can scan a product and explore additional garments and accessories that complement the initial item of interest.
CEO Michelle Bacharach demonstrated how FindMine works with American Eagle Outfitters. Scan a black and white flannel top, for example, and the app may recommend a trendy velvet tank and distressed skinny jeans that "complete the look." According to Bacharach, FindMine is driving a 6 percent sales lift on average across its current retail users.
Bacharach says she got the idea for the company by her own challenges with shopping and not being sure about whether she could "pull off" a particular garment. She's currently mulling adding an "ROI" feature to show shoppers how much of a return they'd get when purchasing an item.
FindMine also helps store associates provide a better experience and can help with visual merchandising, too. Retailers can use data gleaned from the app to identify best-selling outfits and dress mannequins accordingly.
Stay tuned for more insights from Shop.org!