There Is an Algorithm for Everything, Even Bras

Description: THE two and a half miserable hours that Michelle Lam spent in a fitting room, trying on bras, one fine summer day in 2011 would turn out to be, in her words, a “life-changing experience.” After trying on 20 bras to find one that fit, and not particularly well at that, she left the store feeling naked and intruded upon

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 23, 2013

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Professional bra fitters have also moved online. Linda Becker, whose family owns two bra stores in New York, says she sells twice as many bras online today at LindaTheBraLady.com as she does in her stores. Some of her online customers have previously visited one of her shops and been fitted in person. But new customers take their own measurements and work with customer service representatives on the phone. She says only 10 percent of online orders are returned.  But some customers turn out to be extremely hard to fit and it’s hard to tell why, Ms. Becker says. “That kind of customer will be impossible to fit online because the problem is unseen. There’s no way of figuring it out over the phone.”  Read Rest of Story 

Definition of algorithm: a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end especially by a computer.

 Questions for discussion:

1. What applications of this particular kind of algorithm do you think would be valuable in the marketplace?

2.  Will this e-commerce application replace brick and mortar stores for this application?  Why or why not?

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38 thoughts on “There Is an Algorithm for Everything, Even Bras

  1. Ryan Orr

    This type of algorithm technology discussed in the article is used frequently today in online marketplaces such as itunes, netflix, and other similar sites. Moving this technology into the clothing industry is interesting and is very helpful if it works properly. Personally I would like this technology to be integrated into jeans where I could say what kind of jeans I like and it could bring up suggestions. I don’t buy suits frequently but I may in the future and that would be another great application for this technology. Once your suit specifications are uploaded you could simply find a suit you like and it would be tailored and sent over. This would save the consumer time and bring more business diversity to the seller. I think that for some businesses it is not crazy to think that they will not need to have physical brick stores anymore; if a business can run solely online they would not have to hold such large inventories and would not have to pay people to run the store. E-commerce is all about convenience for the customer and profit for the seller.

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  2. Yuliya

    This is one of the most curious algorithms ever to be developed! It would be really neat to try something out like this to see just how accurate this algorithm is. However, I have doubts over the success of this type of e-commerce. Each bra, at each store may fit you slightly different at each store. This type of personal item is definitely an article that an individual would want to purchase in person. Ironically their questions during the purchase are designed for women who have trouble shopping for this type of garment. This is why you need to go to someone who has experience with fitting, that is a professional. Women have all kinds of different shapes and sizes and I don’t think that an algorithm can replace the traditional in-person experiences of being fitted. They did touch on an important aspect when providing reasoning for an online experience. The authors noted that the women has the worst experience being fitted for bras. Perhaps all that is needed is for businesses to focus on this aspect of delivering value to their end users through improving the experience of being fitted for a bra. If they can make their customers feel amazing and extremely happy with the product they receive, they can improve their business models without having to use online algorithms that completely lose the personal touch of traditional service.

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  3. Jarett French

    I feel there are many applications for this specific type of algorithm. There are many types of needs that brick stores feel need a personal touch to be fulfilled, when in fact, the solutions to the need could be figured out without the building, without the sales staff and without the actual product. I am one who does not much like going into stores. If I can get something I need but don’t want to shop for without having to go out and enter a building then I am all the happier. I feel there is a need for being able to purchase something as big as a car without having to go to the dealer and deal with a shark of a sales person. The idea of online non physical stores replacing actual stores is a frightening thing to many people. I on the other hand am willing to embrace this. I will especially embrace such an idea when returns are effortless and easy in case of a product not being up to expectations. I believe that in many different marketplaces that sell many different types of products that ecommerce can and will replace traditional brick stores and that they will become a thing of the past.

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  4. Jingyi Wang

    Shopping on the internet is going to be a trend in the business market, more and more people choose to stay at home and shopping with their computer. Nowadays people not only buy digital devices, but also everything including those seems impossible like bras. We used to think that shoes, glasses and bras need to dress on to try whether or not it suitable, you can not decide the size by just watching the pictures on the internet. But in the article, the online bra retail store has make it come true. they have made an agorithm with about 2000 body types, before selling bras, they will ask the customer to do a 15 questions form to help making sure the customers’ body type, and provide them with choices. Obviously this agorithm works well with only 10% return. This application can also be extened to the glasses and shose markets.
    We can only say that the e-commerce is developing so quickly but many customers still like shopping in the shopping mall, that’s two different experience, the two kinds of shopping methods can both exist and competing to each other, but none of them can be replaced by the other.

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  5. Edwin Owen

    I think that is possible to sell almost every kind of products on the Internet, including bras. In our e-commerce course, we have learn that it’s possible to sell everything online but two kind of products aren’t very well suited for the e-commerce. First, the unbranded products, because customers want to be sure they will buy quality products so they need to be confident in the brand. I think that this problem can be overcome for every new sites if they succeed to sell enough products in the weeks following their launching because they will acquire enough reputation in order to reassure a lot of potential customers. The second kind of products are the perishable products but it’s not the case of bras so it’s not a problem for the site presented in the article. I definitely think that is possible to launch a successful e-commerce site which sell bras.
    I am also ready to believe that their algorithm can be helpful in some situations. Apparently, theirs statistics show that this algorithms is more efficient than the personal choices of the customers. However I don’t think it works all the time. So it’s a good idea to send each time several bras to allow customer to find at least one product which will fit.

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  6. J. Pointer

    At the mall are a variety of different stores. In each store, you can find items in varying sizes. So you go into the first store, try stuff on and find that a M fits. Okay, great! You go to the next store on your agenda, pull out a M and you can barely pull it over your head. I thoroughly enjoy shopping, but I, like many women and especially men, HATE trying things on and will just guesstimate, purchase and return if it does not work. I do not like the feeling of having to ask an associate for the next size up as it can be a little embarrassing. This the application of this algorithm in retail stores will help individuals, like myself, know the size they should be seeking, as well as help the store reduce its daily return volume. Therefore, an app should be developed in which you plug in your measurements, and upon entering a store you can scan a barcode with these measurements. In return you get feedback on what sizes you should be looking for. This way, you can go into a store and not have to worry about trying things on as your measurements are sufficient information to pull up a size and companies will increase their profits in-turn lessening their return rate!

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  7. Adam Christensen

    Algorithms such as this one could prove to be quite beneficial & valuable in the marketplace. As I said in an earlier discussion, we live in a time and age where time is the most valuable asset to a lot of people and this could help make things convenient for those that work long hours and seem to never have enough time in the day. There are a lot of people that would be won over to e-commerce as well if these algorithms turned out to be successful because they hate having to shop and they hate crowds of people in stores and malls.
    I don’t believe that this would replace actual stores because there are still a lot of people out there that don’t trust the internet and would rather do things themselves rather than depend on a “machine” or in this case an algorithm. Maybe in the future, these types of applications will take over all commerce but I can’t see that happening all that soon.

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  8. Warren Murley

    Having accompanied my wife on many bra shopping expeditions, that most of the time result in “settling” for something, I think that an algorithm for finding a bra is an excellent idea.
    I think that this particular kind of algorithm would be valuable for a lot of clothing items. Even when shopping for a pair of shoes, or a pair of jeans I often have difficulty finding something that fits. Regarding shoes, that come in various styles, shapes and sizes that aren’t consistent from brand to brand, I think algorithm would be helpful. I usually spend hours trying to find a store that has my size of shoe at the store, and most don’t. So if i find a shoe I like they have to “order” that size in and I have to come back and try it on, and it may or may not fit. So ordering online using an algorithm would take just as long but be more effective, in saving time.
    Even though technology continues to evolve and more and more shopping can is done online, I don’t believe e-commerce will replace brick and mortar stores. The person to person contact is what creates customer loyalty, and if stores can continue to provide customers with positive shopping experiences than people will continue to go to the store front, at least I will.

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  9. Callie Matz

    I think the application of this algorithm would be helpful as an extension into other fashion products. I personally hate shopping and would benefit from having an algorithm that increases the likelihood of the clothes I buy online actually fitting. I would be open to purchasing clothes that I normally would not buy online such as jeans which can be a horrible experience to purchase. I especially like that True & Co sends samples of their product to prospective buyers. Given that they only have a ten percent return rate I would feel confident purchasing their product online.

    I do not think that this application will replace brick and mortar stores any time in the near future. I think that people still worry about security issues with making purchases online and feel more comfortable buying things in the physical store where they receive the item when they give the money. Shopping online also takes away the customer service aspect to shopping that many customers place a very high value on. People who enjoy having face to face interactions with the sales associate will not be swayed by the convenience of having their purchases shipped to them especially when shipping can be over a week.

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  10. Alicia Dyck

    I think that this algorithm is brilliant. It would be great to be able to punch some characteristics you like in clothing, or anything else, into a computer and have it pop out something that will most likely work for you. This would make shopping a lot easier. It would get rid of having to sort through racks of clothing, such as jeans, and try on every pair to find that one perfect pair that fits just right. This type of thing already exists within some stores in the USA. However, putting it online is also an amazing idea. People are buying more and more of their products online and being able to buy clothes that are more tailored to your shape, or preferences would make the process cheaper and faster. If an algorith figured out that the best top for you was in a batch of 5, you could try them on and only send back a couple. Without it, a shopper is still stuck ordering 15 things to try on, then spend more money to send more of them back because it looked cute online, but frumpy on them. That would be the worst.
    This type of algorithm will affect classic stores, but not a lot. This is because many people enjoy going out to shop. It makes the experience more fun. Also, some people do not like to put their information online to pay and receive orders. Going out to make your purchases is therefore, not only a good way to keep information to yourself, but a great way to interact with others and enjoy the experience. Brick and mortar stores have nothing to worry about.

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  11. Kelsey Allan

    As e-commerce is growing more and more around us, I’m not surprised that there are new companies on-line trying to find the best fit of a bra for women. However, I do not believe that this is going to be successful because I don’t think that women can completely allow all of the choices to the company. Also how does the company choose what is the right size for you, because depending on the bra, women can go up and down in cup sizes. I also think that shopping is really something that can be replaced. As a girl this is the first major shopping trip you have with your mother. I think that honestly that in itself cannot be replaced. Also most times I don’t think that women go to the mall only looking for a bra, most of the times its for other things, picking up a bra just seems to be an extra. I don’t think that all women find it painful to go bra shopping. The biggest thing that is learned is pick one store and stick to it, you won’t fluctuate much and won’t even have to try on the bra. I just ultimately think that this e-commerce cannot replace the shopping part of buying a bra.

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  12. Litchi Peng

    If the algorithm for bars is so successful, I think this would be valuable in the marketplace for many products. Actually, there is a very successful website called Taobao in China. There are millions stores sell different products even some famous brands. You can find anything you can image in that website. I bought cloth through that website even I did not try them on. At first, I was a little bit worried that these cloth may not fit on me, but the nicest thing is that , there are lots of information about the cloth on the website, the quality, the size, and some comments from other customs who bought the same cloths. I can get a plenty of information about the cloth I wanna. Usually, getting cloth or shoes is way cheaper via internet rather than buying them in store directly. People can try cloth on in store, and buy them on the internet which is a super nice way.
    I do not think the e-commerce application replace brick and mortar stores for this application. Because still lots of people would like to really try stuff on and they are worried they may not fit well, and they need to return, it’s inconvenient. Like my mother, she has never bought cloth or shoes on the internet. She thinks it better to touch them and feel them and try them and then she can decided to buy or not. This e-commerce application is easier for young people or some people do not have time to go shopping.

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  13. Jarrett Potvin

    The type of applications an algorithm like the one described would be best used in a marketplace where you desire being matched to your interests. One such place would be when searching for music. You could fill out a survey and be matched with songs, some of which you have never heard of, and based on what you listen to and like will have a whole new selection of music to listen to. This kind of algorithm may also be helpful in allowing consumers to see all available options as well as show them that maybe their current selection may have room for improvement. In that case this algorithm allows for consumers to make them best educated decision based off of their preferences/dimensions. This e-commerce application will not replace the brick and mortar store front. If anything e-commerce will be used as a tool to help improve customer relations as well as provide more convenient access to a company without having to actually go to the store. But while e-commerce offers more convenience it fails to offer the same experience as going to the store itself. This is why e-commerce will not replace the brick and mortar store fronts but aid those businesses that utilize it.

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  14. Josh Bodnaruk

    It would be valuable because the information stored inside would be pertinent for marketing to those people. Knowing a person favorite brand can let a competitor know what market they need to capture, or let an already thriving business know its on the right track. Furthermore,this type of algorithm would be excellent to use on other clothing items, allowing people to get a custom-fit everything. In addition, the ease of access of such a system could literally let someone from home do the whole transaction process. This assuming that they used some sort of website to do advertising and promotion for the product.
    There is always the possibility of a new company diversifying to some sort of online business. However, ultimately when it comes down to business transactions, its the assets which are exchanged. Therefore, there will always be the need to have the product ready to be grabbed off the shelf.

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  15. Chance Olsen

    I don’t think that this kind of e-commerce will replace actual walk in stores anytime in the near future. People will still like to go in and see and try things on. I myself have bought many products online but never something that I think has to fit just right, like shoes for instance. Even if a shoe company picked up on the same process that the bra company has, I don’t want to wait for them to send me 5 pairs of shoes for me to try, and then for me not to like any and have to send them all back and then wait again for a few weeks, when I could have just gone to the store and picked a pair up. However I think that if the algorithm was used in stores it would be a huge success. I would love to go into a store, having filled out a form online before hand and then having the sales people read my results and bring me a few shoes to try on with of course the shoes that I myself would pick out. I think by implementing this kind of algorithm into the stores it would be very beneficial.

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  16. Matthew Chipman

    I think that the concept of an algorithm for consumer preferences is a very useful idea for certain types of consumer goods. One of the main things that keeps me from buying clothing items and other personal goods online is that I am not sure if they will fit or be what i am expecting and wanting when I get them. Alot of people are skeptical about e commerce shopping still and i think marketing these types of algorithms in an online business will convert alot of shoppers to spending alot of their money and time shopping online at their convenience.

    However I think that it is important note to make that while ecommerce has grown and will continue to do so, it is not dangerously threatening the majority of building based stores. There are always going to be people that prefer face to face interaction with experts, seeing with their eyes and touching in a store where they can get immediate help. There is also the shopping mall experaince that people enjoy and will always prefer to go to. I could see the emergence of and greater shift towards alot of new e commerce businesses but i dont believe brick and mortor stores are going under any time soon.

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  17. Mariam akinola

    This algorithm for bras have proven successful in different bra online stores. E- commerce has made life easier and conviviality for people without going to a physical place to get what they need. For example, you don’t have to go the bank to transfer money, you don’t have to go to some clothing stores before you can get a pair of jeans or a top. This e- commerce has shifted to bra companies also. As the article said stores like Victoria secret offer online bra purchases. Using algorithm for bras tells us that it can be valuable in the market place if applied to the right sector. It can be used in the shoe section by providing steps for the cusp tomes to order their right size and also be comfortable with the shoe when they wear it. It can also be applied to hairdressers. Customers can book an appointment online and they can inform the hairdresser the kind of hair texture they have, types of shampoo and conditioner they use and how they like their hair to be made so when they walk in to the shop they re ready to begin.
    E- commerce is a type of business that is growing and it is increasing in popularity. It has both advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages are that it reduces time for people and people can spend more of their time doing other important things. It has also reduced cost such as gas. A draw back for e- commerce is that it eliminates the physical interaction with ther people. Tough e-commerce is successful, it cannot wipe out physical stores completely because a lot of people still prefer the traditional market place.

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  18. Alphine Bindiridza

    I think having an algorithm is more efficient and effective. People will get to buy their perfect sizes and the fact that you don’t have to go to a store makes the idea way too awesome. By having this technology people will become more comfortable with buying clothes online. They are some people who don’t have time to go shopping and spending time trying on different clothes so they can find the perfect fit, and they are some who are just lazy to go to the fitting room, this technology might become handy for those kind of people. This e-commerce can never replace brick and mortar stores because most people like going to the mall with friends or family for shopping. Not just shopping but some people would love to go to the mall for just browsing around and window shopping. There are times when an event come up e.g a party or date and you have to buy an outfit immediately, that’s when the brick and mortar stores come in. No one would be willing to buy a dress online that will arrive in 2-3 weeks time.

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  19. Stacey Demchenko

    This algorithm based fitting method could be really useful for almost any type of clothing, and other items too. It’s really convenient for those that don’t have the time or don’t like to go out and spend a day shopping. The algorithm ensures the “best fit” by using a variety of different questions, and if there’s no obligation to buy, the process is a win win. I don’t think that this technology has the ability to completely replace brick and mortar stores, because there are people that do in fact enjoy the shopping experience, and would rather the face to face communication with a sales associate. Not everyone feels comfortable with online shopping because of the different sizing scales, and so forth. But with an algorithm that incorporates so many different aspects of measurements and size, it would be something I would try. And if I did try it and get ‘the best fit’, I would spend less time shopping in stores, and more time online. Maybe this would work in the favor of brick and mortar stores to increase online sales, however still allowing them to keep their doors open to those who want the actual shopping experience.

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  20. Leisha Hansen

    If the algorithm for bras is so successful, I think an algorithm for shoes would become highly desireable. I can spend months looking for the pair that fits and feels right without giving blisters or hurting my arches. I would love to find an affordable company that would take my foot shape and match it to a perfectly fitting shoe, sandal or boot. It would be even better if I could customize colours and styles.
    I don’t think brick and mortar sales for clothes will ever truly be replaced. There are too many people who find it pleasurable and fun to wander through stores to find a sweet deal on something new, fun and creative. Shopping is often inspirational, or an activity shared with friends. Buying a bra online, or any other item, can become a hassle because you wait for its delivery, have to try it on and decide by yourself if it fits right, then go to the post office to return the things that don’t fit right. Brick and mortar locations are needed for those last-minute emergencies and for the convenience of being able to run out and make a quick purchase. Often store locations also have excellent deals on desirable items that you won’t find online.

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  21. Brad Zander

    Times are changing. Consumers are often found shopping online for almost everything in our day and age. This article is a perfect example of how an online business can use an algorithm to gain a competitive advantage. Some critics say that bras cannot be selected for people, but the article reveals otherwise. There is the idea that with technology evolving and people enjoying the shopping experience from the comfort of their own home, on their computer, that brick and mortar stores will become a thing of the past. I disagree with this. There will always be people that prefer to go to the store front that a brick and mortar store offers. Also the human interaction aspect and the ability to gain trust with customers is much more difficult for an online store than with a brick and mortar store. Personally, there are some things that I prefer to buy online (for example board games), and I do a lot of online shopping. While others, such as shoes, I would never buy online. This preference is different for each individual person, as we are all unique. This difference in preferences will always provide opposition to the online market. One cannot say that e-commerce will replace brick and mortar stores because of this.

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  22. Michael Jensen

    Using an algorithm to determine something as personal as a bra size only goes to show how amazing and capable businesses are to provide solutions for customers. I believe that this type of algorithm would most certainly be a valuable asset for a variety of different people. For instance, the convenience of the online shopping is very efficient for people who do not have time to visit a shopping center to try on clothes for hours on end. The idea of determining an algorithm leads to a variety of potential online goods, such as shoes and clothing. The algorithm is definitely beneficial to the customers who struggle to know what exactly they are looking for, with a click of a mouse.

    The e-commerce businesses are expanding, and will continue to expand in the near future. That being said, despite the convenience of e-commerce applications, brick and mortar businesses will not become obsolete and diminish completely. Brick and mortar will still prosper because e-commerce businesses only have a limited amount of product in most cases, and lack face-to-face confrontation if you are seeking for assistance. I believe that in most cases, the most effective way to run a business and cater to a diverse demographic would be to use a combination of e-commerce activities along side with brick and mortar business.

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  23. Kevin Robichaud

    Algorithms such as this can be extremely helpful to the common shopper. If you can eliminate the need to travel to a store to get a product that you know your size would give you a huge advantage in the market place. Many customers who know what they need and just need a re up would love to have the option of simply placing an order. Another thing is many people would love the ability to browse through pictures to select a size in private instead of doing it in a public place like a mall. The internet can act as a privacy tool to shoppers who are modest and shy.

    I do think that this does give you a huge advantage in the market place but for an industry as personal as this it is important to have the actual infrastructure so that first time buyers can get the perfect fit without the hassle of having to do returns. I know myself for example have a tough time trusting online shops for that reason, although they only get 10 percent returns i bet there is a significant amount of people who try it once, dislike the fit and decide to return to a traditional shop while keeping the original bra because the inconvenience of returning something in that price range is not worth there time

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  24. Chyane Tibert

    I loved the idea of the algorithm to help me find my perfect match; it can become extremely frustrating wasting a day just to find one article of clothing that you buy because it is the best fit you found and not because it actually fits well. The time factor of trying on different styles of the same thing can become very pressing if you have a small child like I do and the idea of not even having to leave the house for tedious chores is very attractive. Having the luxury of trying them on when you have time, aka when the kids are asleep, and having the proper fit already picked out reduces unneeded stress. The only problem I could see having with this system is the shipping costs. With most online purchases the cost to ship the products can increase the costs too much by almost a third of the price or more. Also the article said that you could return any of the unwanted bras but did not specify who had to pay the return shipping, which in most cases is the customer which will bring the price of that one bra you did want from $45-$62 to $100 or more. To me this is not a reasonable cost for convenience. Just as a note of caution always read the fine print, I just ordered online with the offer to return all products that were unsatisfactory. I paid shipping for the article of clothing that did not fit, not only to my house but the return as well; just to find out that they would not return my money but only give my account a credit.

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  25. Yu Chao

    It is very useful algorithm for us, even I do not need to buy the bras. Sometimes i want to buy a pair of shoes, but I hang out whole day but I still can not get the shoes which is fit me. The algorithim can help me to have online shopping and caculate the right size for my shoes.

    Also , I do not think that onine shopping can replace the “real “shopping in the mall, because people sometimes are not only to happy to buy the goods, but also they enjoy the process of shopping

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  26. Megan Jackson

    I think this type of algorithm would be valuable in he marketplace. For people like me, I find it very hard to make a decision or to try out new things. I feel very overwhelmed going into stores because of all the choices. I feel like a website that keeps me out of a store and that helps me make a decision is going to be not only valuable to me but to others like me.
    An algorithm for finding the perfect bra fit is genius. However, how accurate can it really be? My only skepticism of an algorithm of this kind is that I would be doubtful that it would actually work. I feel indifferent to try out a site like this and I feel like at the end of the day it would be more trouble than it’s worth. More so, I think I would most likely have better luck on my own in an actual store.
    E-commerce is rapidly replacing many businesses methods of doing things. Thus, I think that an e-commerce application has the ability to replace brick and mortar stores. However, there is still a portion of the population who are skeptical of this kind of application and who simply like going into a store physically than doing their shopping over the web. Due to this, I do not that think e-commerce will replace this type of business entirely.

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  27. Jacqueline Wegener

    I feel that this type of algorithm would be extremely useful in the marketplace. Having an algorithm that picks out the best fit for you dramatically reduces the time that we have to spend trying on bras in a fitting room. We all have busy schedules these days and don’t typically have an entire day to spend at the mall looking for the perfect fit in clothing. With this algorithm, it could determine the size and brand of clothing that fits us best and take out the time of having to go and determine this on our own. An algorithm that could pick out our clothes would increase the ease and convenience of shopping on line.
    I don’t think that this type of algorithm will replace brick and mortar stores because it is always nice to be able to physically try clothes on to get an idea of what you would like to purchase. There are also the individuals that enjoy walking around the mall window shopping and trying on the occasional article of clothing. Having this algorithm could potentially increase the enjoyment of shopping in physical stores because individuals will have a better idea of what the “perfect fit” is for them.

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  28. Lanre Paulissen

    I agree with the school of thought that algorithms like this would be tremendously useful in the marketplace. Reading this article made me understand the kind of troubles my sisters go through in a bid to purchase bras. I was perplexed when a friend took a trip from Lethbridge to Calgary because she heard of a store that stocked bras that could fit her; now I understand! I kind of find it difficult to get myself pants that fit; if I get the perfect waist size, I don’t get my corresponding length. If I get the perfect length, I don’t get a waist size that fit; in short I simply do not get my size. I love to visit a store and try on what I want to buy but it gets frustrating when I wade through their inventory and I am unable to get my size. I had the same issue this past week trying to buy a pair of jeans. If I can fill in an algorithm from a store I would like to purchase from and I am able to find my fit, I don’t mind to go to the store’s nearest outlet to pick it if they have it in stock; if they don’t then I wouldn’t mind ordering.

    E-commerce would not completely replace brick and mortar stores, it sure would bite and hurt their market share and it does that already but it’s not going to totally rid them of relevance. Personally, I still prefer going into a store to try on what I need and I am certain a few others do as well.

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  29. Brennan Lowe

    I think that there are many applications that this particular kind of algorithm can provide that would be valuable in the marketplace. The first, and to me the most important, would be the ease of getting products. I may not know about how to find the perfect bra, but for buying shoes, I have a size 13 men’s. I know when I go to a shoe store, they always have size 12’s and 14’s, but usually never 13’s, and if they do, it is usually one that I would not want to wear. So if I am in a desperate need, I can easily go online and buy the shoes I want in the proper size, the only downside is waiting for them to arrive to me, but I have the ones I want in the correct size. This may also be useful for buying dress clothing for men and women. If you need certain sizes or designs, an algorithm can help you get the proper clothing you need. Using an this kind of algorithm would also be useful for people whom are hours away from the nearest city to buy clothing of their favour to just go online and purchase the clothing they need or want with no difficulties and usually find, within minutes, what they are searching for.

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  30. Lauren Gallimore

    I believe that having an algorithm to more effectively fit customers needs and style is applicable to all areas in the clothing industry. Using an algorithm to cut down the time and effort needed to wade through all the available options and variations would be a welcome addition to consumers. The sheer amount of choices a consumer is met with can be overwhelming and may end with the customer giving up in fear of wasting time and not finding what they are looking for. Having an algorithm to tailor the search to options the customer is more likely to want will not only speed up sales, but increase customer satisfaction and decrease buyer’s remorse.

    The global trend seems to be leading towards more e-commerce because of its ease of purchase and unlimited variety of products. This will no doubt have a large impact on brick and mortar stores, however I do not believe that it will ever be able to completely replace the traditional store. Many people, including myself prefer to go into an actual store to do a majority of our shopping. A small picture on a website does not give me enough information to be comfortable when buying most items online. Online colours may look different, styles look different on each person and even with the help of an algorithm, it will never be able to work all the time. I would prefer going to a store and being able to try clothes on and buy exactly what I want rather than order something online and have to send it back because it is not what I expected.

    Reply
  31. Carla Hornecker

    I think that this kind of application will be extremely valuable in all facets of the clothing industry. I can certainly relate to this article, and I think that most people have probably had similar experiences while shopping. This is particularly true of articles of clothing that require a good fit, like bras, jeans, and shoes. It is also especially relevant for people whose bodily dimensions are not average, and who therefore have a much harder time finding clothing that fits. So often, I only shop at one or two stores, because I am familiar with their sizes, and I can avoid the unpleasant experience described in this article. If they could make shopping at every store that easy, I would be a lot more likely to try different stores and different types of clothing.

    While I think that this e-commerce application will be very successful in the marketplace, and will certainly enhance businesses ability to compete on a new level, I do not think that this application will replace brick and mortar stores. I think that for most kinds of clothing (depending on the shopper), an important aspect of shopping is the ability to see and feel the materials before paying. Personally, I would not be willing to buy bras online, even if I was able to return them later – it would be too much of a hassle.

    Reply
  32. swatigade

    I think this particular kind of algorithm would be valuable for people who have a hard time shopping for clothing that fit their body shape. Every individual have different body shape and not everyone is going to fit in the clothes off the rack. Lots of people get alterations done for the clothes to fit them properly. Clothing such as jeans, bras and jackets are common items of clothing that people have a hard time finding a suitable fit. This algorithm can help people find what they are looking for by having a variety of options. People will have the convenience of shopping online and have the opportunity to try the clothing before buying them. It will save a lot of time for consumers to have everything online. This e-commerce application will not replace brick and mortar stores as some people like the shopping experience of a mall. Some people like teenagers do not have credit cards to do shopping online so they would still use the brick and mortar stores. The safety and privacy of online shopping may be another reason for people to shop at brick and mortar stores. Online shopping takes a longer time for the product to be delivered than shopping at your local store. There are also added shipping costs involved with online shopping. A price conscious shopper would want to save every penny they can and might choose to drive down to the store to avoid the shipping costs.

    Reply
  33. Richelle Merrick

    I loved this article because it spoke about something everyone deals with. Not necessarily buying bras but going to a store to shop for a particular item and leaving frustrated and miserable because you couldnt find what you wanted. Having this happen to me numerous amoiunts of time I love the idea of having an algorithm to help me find my perfect match. What really sold me on this idea is that they compare your favorite item to other companies and actually account for the differences in the brands! About 90% of my bras come from one place. I know my size there and I know their styles. I will go into other stores and look for bras and end up leaving pissed because I found a really cute bras but it didn’t fit me like my other bras do. That goes with any article of clothing!! True&co is the first company I have seen draw attention to this. I think this algorithm is amazing and will help many girls who are new to bra shopping, want to try more than one brand, or are self concious and don’t want strangers measuring their boobs in public. I love that it eliminates all the awkwardness of bra sizing in public places but it does have its faults. Getting bras sent to me and then having to send them back seems like alot of excess time and energy that I probably wouldn’t enjoy. I barely go to the store to return clothes out of shear laziness so there is a good chance I wont end up returning these bras. I am then buying five bras when I only wanted on.
    Although online shopping has become a very commong thing I don’t think it will replace trips to the mall. The biggest reasons are that people like to see the fit on them before purchasing, they like to feel fabric, some don’t like putting their information online, and some people do last minute shopping. These are all things online shopping can’t compete with. For all those Christmas eve shoppers online shopping is not exactly practical!

    Reply
  34. KJ

    I see this being helpful to compliment the experience, and may work for some items but share the concerns that for particularly customized garments it may be more difficult. Since I have no experience buying bras I couldn’t tell you how it would apply in the context but I know when I try on a pair of shoes, despite the sizes being the same, I still feel a difference from a size 10″ shoe to another. I can see this application being used to compliment, but not replace B&M stores. I think there is an experience that goes with the store buying experience that no amount of e-commerce tech could replace entirely.

    Reply
  35. Devin Phalen

    Being a guy, I had no idea it was such a legitimately lengthy process to find the perfect bra. I guess I’ll be a little more tolerant of the marathon shopping trips from now on. The algorithm is a great idea; I have a certain brand of jeans that I buy over and over again, but would like to find another brand with similar characteristics for some variety. Amazon has something similar to this on their website–allowing customers to find similar products to the one’s they are looking for. I find this very helpful, but it can get hard on the pocketbook. I also like the idea of the being able to try clothing on in the comfort of my home, but the shipping expenses could get pretty costly. I generally try things on in-store and then compare online prices + shipping with in-store prices–purchasing from the cheapest source.

    I agree with everyone else commenting that this technology will probably not put a knife in the back of the brick and mortar stores. It will hurt them, no doubt, but I believe a lot of individuals enjoy the “mall” experience. The ebb & flow of petroleum prices and resulting shipping expenses will also dictate how successful this will be.

    Reply
  36. Akina Morimoto

    This could certainly be useful in the marketplace, especially since some people prefer the convenience of online shopping in the first place. This also opens up the flexibility of when customers want to shop if they lead a busy schedule. The idea of an algorithm to determine the “best fit” for all different types of clothes, accessories, or shoes could change the concept or idea of online shopping. This could be especially beneficial to those who struggle to find clothing attire that fits them right, or those that want to purchase something that is identical to the way a piece of clothing fits them. With that being said, I do not think that this e-commerce application will replace brick and mortar stores. This could increase the use of customers using these e-commerce applications, but there will be individuals that will prefer physically trying on something, knowing whether they like it or not. As well, people like spending time window-shopping or shopping itself with friends or family; it is quality time. If e-commerce were to take over brick and mortar stores, this would mean that this time would be eliminated. However, with these online quizzes to help determine the “best fit”, it could help eliminate future shopping experiences, whether it be online or at the physical location.

    Reply
  37. Jonny Kostiuk

    I think this technology would be very useful when you are purchasing jeans because when I go to buy jeans I usually don’t pick the first one I see, I like to try a couple and pick the best fitting and comfortable one. I think if they combine this technology within brick and mortar stores with some kind of in store technology that that could be very successful in making shopping more efficient to customers who don’t shop online keeping brick and mortar competitive with e-commerce. I do not believe this technology would ever fully take over brick and mortar stores because people like to go shopping and try on different things. When doing this online you still only have a limited number of choice and you still have to deal with shipping and all that goes around with that. Other things I think this technology could be used for is any other clothing products, any other smaller objects that we buy online.

    Reply
  38. TJ Winn

    This is a very interesting article that I will definitely share with my wife! She is the exact same way and it takes her about half a day of trying on bra’s to find one that fits! I think the idea is genius.

    I think that this or a similar algorithm could be used for almost all types of clothing from panties to shoes to pants to shirts and beyond. Simply because this ‘algorithm’ is just taking some of the steps out of the finding process of clothing that would otherwise remain.

    Jeans for example; everyone has a favorite pair of jeans and wears those jeans most often. Why not have an algorithm to figure out what make those jeans a favorite. Then be supplied with options and lists of similar jean fits. Then simply try on the jeans that are similar to your other favorites and pick from a quiver of favorites rather than spending so much wasted time trying on multiple pairs of jeans that you don’t like and then purchasing the ones that you like the best out of those ‘un-liked’ jeans.

    Thought this e-commerce application can be so helpful I don’t see it replacing the brick and mortar stores in the near future. There will always be people wanting to go down to an actual physical location to do their shopping. I don’t feel that the online shopping experience can replace a physical experience all the time. However, I do feel that the physical stores could use this to help limit choices of products for customers and narrow searches and thus leading quicker and more effective purchases.

    Reply

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