Even Bras, An Algorithm for Everything

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

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?


30 thoughts on “Even Bras, An Algorithm for Everything

  1. Mark(Xiangyuan Ma)

    I don’t think e-commerce can replace brick and mortar stores. The products are not the only thing a brick and mortar store provide. Service is another thing that is provided. However, I think it depends on the products. Undergarments, shirt, T-shirt are really sensitive products because they direct contact with our skin, and it would be extremely uncomfortable if it’s not fit. Different people have different bone structure, so it is impossible to fit everyone under one standard procedure. That’s exactly people need to go to store to shop those kind of things. Also, even those people who have same height and weight will have different effect by wearing a same cloth. That’s why we need a shop assistant to help us, it would also save us a lot of time looking stuff blindly. Nevertheless, I guess it’s also depends on the person. Some people probably do not care much about those things. If a person can not even feed him/herself, he probably wouldn’t care about what kind of cloth he is wearing.
    In another hand, applications of this particular kind of algorithm would be valuable for other products, such as shoes, socks, outer cover and so on. People can shop those kind of things with out go out their house.

  2. Hayden Rintoul

    I believe that this algorithm is very valuable in the marketplace. Being a male I don’t have any personal experiences with buying bra’s but the woman made her experience seem very frustrating and I am going to bet that if it was not a good experience for her she has not been the only woman in the world to have a bad experience with bra shopping. The algorithm seemed to help the women pick a bra that was suited for them even better than if they had gone to the store and actually picked one out themselves which makes me believe that the algorithm works well. I believe that this e-commerce application could possibly replace brick and mortar stores. I believe this because when people go into a store and it is very busy or the employees are not very helpful the customer that was most likely interested in buying their product may become flustered and leave the store without purchasing any of their products, which is why I think that it could. On the other hand you have the possibility of buying an item like clothing, which may not fit right, and you will have to take it back to the store which would defeat the purpose of buying it online in the first place. I believe this is a good question and it will be interesting to see what happens in the future.

  3. Nothando Ngwenya

    According to the dictionary I use, an algorithm is simply a set of rules of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps. This definition does not suggest the employment of computers,and it, as a result, serves well the purpose if supporting my view on this topic. I think that the fact that this company decided to issue questionnaires that lead to the selling of the “closest-to-perfect” bra for women is a great idea. Speaking from a woman’s view point, I do believe that this method could result in the idea of buying a bra seeming less tedious and, actually, almost as enjoyable as that of buying any other clothing item, as it makes it much more efficient and assures whoever is buying a bra of the fact that, a greater percentage of the time, they will have success in finding the perfect bra upon their first try. This algorithm is one that retail stores should really consider using in order to increase customer satisfaction, and probably even boost sales for themselves by serving women with a more enjoyable bra-shopping experience. I, however, do not think that this online service could one day, take over the traditional manner of shopping for bras. This is for the simple fact that, just as is mentioned in the article, this is a garment that is very personal to its purchasers meaning that women will always want to “interact” directly with the bra choices that they have to make a purchase from. In as much as the online version of buying this makes the experience more effective for people who are unable to go directly to a store to make a purchase for whatever variable reason, it could never replace the experience of one going to buy one’s own bra and walking out with the knowledge that what they bought is best. The online version does present certain faults, such as the fact that one has to wait a long time to receive the five bras, then they have to try them on, only to possibly buy two, and then send the rest back. This could be a long, pressuring method of buying if one wants all five bras but has to keep sending bras back and forth until they get their final fit. Walking into a store gives the guarantee that one will walk out with the exact number of bras that one wants, in one shopping session. Therefore, although I do believe that the online algorithm is great and efficient when needed, I also think that it will never take over traditional methods of buying bras as it does not provide certain pleasures that retail stores do.

  4. Chelsea Minor

    I think this kind of algorithm could be valuable in the marketplace. With the evolution of the web it makes everything more available to shoppers. I find it very interest that people are starting to venture into selling such personal materials online. From the articles it seems as though the online service tries to satisfy all the needs that may be met if you were to physically enter a store from the comfort of your home. When stores are busy you may lose the one on one contact that online shopping can provide which may cause you to leave the store empty handed. With regards to if e-commerce application will replace brick and mortar stores for this application I believe that this could be possible. I think for industries such as shoes and jewelry that online shopping may become more prevalent, however for clothing and personal items such as bras that online shopping and physical stores could go hand in hand. As the article mentioned bras are very personal item, ones that may look good in a picture may not fit your body type the way you had expected. Personally I do buy some stuff online and try my best to decided which size will fit best but every brand fit differently. I have had successes and failures when it comes to online shopping but I prefer to go into stores to try stuff on. This also eliminates the time and money I would spend on returning an item I had bought online if it didn’t fit.

  5. Britney Anderson

    This kind of algorithm has the potential to be used in many valuable marketplace applications. With the evolution of the Web, and e-commerce, more and more people are shopping online. Since online shopping involves little human interaction, there is little opportunity to provide a “personal touch.” The use of algorithms allows e-commerce providers and online retailers to provide a more customized experience to their customers, which helps customers find the product that best suits their needs. This can help online shopping sites remain competitive with retail stores. An algorithm is being used to provide some of the services traditionally offered by a sales associate in a physical store.

    One potential use of an algorithm that I think would be particularly cool would be using an algorithm to help skiers identify which skis to demo before buying. An algorithm could analyze an individual’s physical make-up, skiing style, level of expertise, etc. in order to recommend which skis to try out. I am an avid skier, and I spend a lot of time trying out skis before I buy a new pair. However, an algorithm could help me narrow down my options and would make the buying decision a little easier.

    I do not think that the e-commerce application will ever fully replace “brick and mortar” lingerie stores. As the article mentioned, a bra is a very personalized item, and as such, women need to try them on to ensure they are the right fit. I personally would rather go to a store then have items shipped to my home. Those items that do not fit have to be returned to the retailer, and if a customer is not satisfied with the selection of bras sent out, they would have to order another shipment of bras to their home. The shipping and return process may be time consuming and a bit of a hassle. Also, a computer cannot tell how a woman’s bra is currently fitting, and as such, may not correctly identify the problems with current fit. Also, if a user enters inaccurate information into the online quiz, then the algorithm may select items that are not best suited to the individual.

  6. sophia burgess

    In the process of buying a bra, the algorithm explained in the article seems to have touched on all the factors you would take into account when buying a bra. By having this algorithm, we see that we are spared of many things. As mentioned by others things such as comfort, time, and privacy all are alleviated when you can shop online. In the instance of privacy, not everyone feels comfortable getting fitted by a stranger for a bra so having the privacy to do it at home and get the same results seems reasonable. Also in the marketplace, more bras can be sold as seen in the article. Sometimes in stores its so busy you cant wait in line to try something on so you leave empty handed. However when shopping online this cannot happen.
    No this will not replace brick and mortar stores. I believe many people still like to physically go into a store to shop.Seeing the things physically and trying them on allows that person to still having that shopping experience. Not everyone has access to the internet as well or feels comfortable making purchases online. The risk of having your personal information online is a risk some people are unwilling to take.

  7. Ekow Botwe

    Algorithm of this sort will be very useful in a situation like this. More often than not, people would like to go out to a physical store to purchase personal items than online shopping. On the other hand, shopping can be time consuming and even have other costs associated so others would also prefer to have an algorithm that will facilitate the process. Algorithm is a very useful in the marketplace since it provides an automated way of making decisions based on data collected. For some people, algorithm drives better results and saves time but the disadvantage is that its mostly considered as one size fits all. This does not always work for the most part for every situation. There are similar algorithm processes for shoes, clothes and other personal items which gradually is penetrating the market as far as e-commerce is concern. This does not mean that physical stores are going to be replaced by e-commerce in the long run. E-commerce cannot replace physical stores anytime soon. Issues to do with satisfaction can be flawed with online purchase. One might receive an item which he/she may not be satisfied with. Algorithm to do with wearable items such as shoes clothes and bra (in this instance) for me isn’t as effective as walking into the store to have a real feel of the item of interest. This i believe will not eliminate but reduce the rate of return rather than online purchases. Personally i will go to the store to get what i want rather than to waste my time to get quizzed online for something that is going to take a while to arrive. This way i save the stress of having to wait for days or even weeks for items to be shipped, delivered and possibly returned. Arguably, algorithm is a convenient way of finding items for some people but for me its not the best of processes since it does not work perfectly for every situation.

  8. Bayo

    My opinion, from the definition of an algorithm it’s a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end especially by a computer. There is no doubt, we are going into a more computer driven age as seconds goes by, considering the growth in population of females .
    I personally believe this kind of algorithm is a good approach in satisfying the need of this exponential gender growth. There basic issue is developing the right algorithm for a particular market.
    As for the effect it would have on brick and mortar stores for this application, I believe this would improve the general patronage , I think people would rather answer few questions online wait to get 5 samples to try on in their homes at their convenient time, privacy and return those that don’t fit as much (from a males perspective) .

  9. Karleen Clark

    As an avid online shopper I am delighted to know there is one more thing that has become easier in my life. I will give an example to shed some light.
    You are in the change room of a lingerie store with 6 bra options someone has picked out for you based on the measurements you think you might be. It’s hard to tell at this point because Christmas (and the 5lb weight gain) was only a month away and you’ve only half committed to your new years goals. You are sweating because it’s the last weekend of January in the middle of a horrendously cold winter and you were forced to wear your puffy oversized parka to the mall. You just ate a delicious carb filled meal at the food court and so you are feeling a little fat and bloated. You try on the first 2 and realize they are too small and you start to feel even fatter because this size fit you a mere 2 months ago. You are too embarrassed to ask for a bigger size so you throw on your parka to hide your bloated body and head back home discouraged. Or…you can order a few online based on a questionnaire that doesn’t give your love handles judgy eyes. And you can try those few on when you feel the skinniest – in the morning after an easy 8 hour fast/sleep.
    Shopping from the comfort of your home eliminates so many of the doubts and issues you can run into. Impulse buys are more common and you may buy more than needed because ‘an extra item in the cart will give you free shipping’. It’s a genius marketing strategy that True&Co has perfected. Bra shopping is an incredibly vulnerable thing and I love the idea of being able to do it behind the comfort of a computer.

  10. Devin Gerstenbuhler

    One of the most valuable aspects of their algorithm was that they compared the bra they were sending you with the bra you currently favoured. This allows for the company to match any uniqueness of the pedestal bra and even to go as far as exploiting the particular feature (e.g. If the good bra is strong, why not make a super bra by super reinforcing it (sorry for my ignorance, I really don’t know a lot about bras)). Another act that may give Linda’s company an advantage was that she sent her customers 5 potential bras to try (free of charge). This would of course give the buyers more choice and more exposure to the other types of bras. As a result, instead of buying just one bra, they can buy as many as 5 if they are very satisfied with the product. I don’t think that it will replace the traditional bra store. As convenient as it may be to shop online (sometimes cheaper as well) there will always be shoppers that enjoy physically going to a store to do their business. Shopping for a lot of people is an event; an event that is complimented by a food court lunch and a tasty orange Julius beverage, its an experience that for some can’t be replaced by an LED screen. Some people also enjoy the human interaction of service. Though the quiz sounds personable enough (not to mention puny, “Do your cups runneth over?”) there are still those who would rather have a live person directing them toward the perfect undergarment.

  11. Onyinyechi Dikeocha

    Let me just state first and foremost that I was really surprised that a woman would spend more than an hour trying on bras. Her size probably does not exist and probably needs it custom made. Even with this on-line vision it still wouldn’t help her situation.
    I concur with the critics calling it ridiculous. E-commerce is here to stay no doubt about it. If it is strictly for business purposes then it should be stated clearly and not for reasons of making bra shopping easier because I cannot get my mind wrapped around on how it helps a shopper. It is even made more strenuous in my own opinion. I have to take a quiz like I am in school for shopping every time I want to purchase a bra. What about if my bra size changes for some reasons then what? Or what happens to the other bras if I selected two out of five. Would I keep bras that I don’t need or have to drive to the post office and send it back which cost money and time?
    This application would be better for items such as shoes, clothes, cosmetics and even electronics to help determine your style and then offering suggestions on varieties based on your taste and not size. For this business reason of bra fitting, such an application will not work because of the above reasons. As noted in the article, what about things such as feel, colour and their physical attributes which are all important when making decisions for purchases. It is much more difficult than merely sending out five bras to test at home. The time of delivery was also not stated. Would it take longer than going into a store? I am very sure it will. It would probably cost more if asking for express delivery, and what assurance is there that a selection will be made from the batch sent. Honesty, the price of the bras are also really expensive, just saying. Thank God for La senza and Victoria secret.

  12. DongkaiZhang

    To be honest, the store is using its costumers’ personal information to make money. This is the biggest problem that happened when big data used in business. How to get the data that used to create the big data legally?

    We set a company a which is a online shopping company has the plan to use big data to improve their sales. The first step to using big data is create a database and search the useful data to full the database. At this time, the company a should be very careful that what kind of data that could be collected. The company a also should be very careful about the way that used to collect the information. After the company collects enough information to get the database work, some new problems happened, how to use the data. If there are some personal information that collected from the customers, could the company use this information to get the big data that may used for other people else. If the company a change the target market, could the company sell the big data to other company, or, should the company delete the whole database. Could the company a just use the information for the person who allowed them to collect information. With this way, the cost of using big data will increase and the share market rate will decrease. And Big data will become a joke.

    When a new goods produced or a new kind input used, the government should begin to do some change to limit or product the new goods or the new input.

  13. Loraine MenicocheMoses

    This is a very interesting way to shop. The application of this particular kind of algorithm would be valuable in the marketplace, because it does save time and that is what our society is into, all about saving time. The use of this algorithm for shopping especially for bras does address some of the issues that happens when shopping for bras, trying on many types and sizes and not finding the perfect fit, so the shopper would to go to the next lingerie store and start the whole process over again. This way the shopper answers the questions and then submits the information that is required including their favorite brand and then the online company sends some bras to try on and then if some fit then the shopper purchases them. This is a perfect way to shop for women who live in the bush and who live in small communities and do not have the luxury of travelling to places to shop for their bras, other than ordering from Sears and waiting for it to come and find out that it does not fit.
    This e-commerce application will not replace the brick and mortar stores but it can be successful along with the actual stores, as there is a market for online shopping. Shopping for intimates is an experience that is like having your nails manicure and pampering yourself, that is why there will always be the brick and mortar stores.

  14. Jessica Bermel

    Specifically with True&Co, their algorithm helps to build consumer loyalty through efficiency. The store literally goes to the consumer and provides the service for finding the good. Thus saving time, and an awkward shopping experience. By using the algorithm of finding out what specifically the consumer wants it helps to build a relationship, in the form of “we know our consumer and we will provide to them their individual and intimate need”. When consumers become accustomed to such an intimate and easy experience, they are more likely to keep returning to it. These algorithms seem to be gaining popularity and seem to work as you see more and more of them out there (ie. JustFab or Shoe Dazzle). It is valuable in the marketplace as it creates value for the customer.

    Its hard to say if e-commerce applications for shopping will replace the brick and mortar stores. For many consumers, shopping is an experience. While online shopping is rapidly increasing due to speed and convenience, many consumers still enjoy going out to stores and becoming attached products that they can physically touch and try on as well as the idea that going out and shopping is a social activity. However, with an algorithm that picks out things you would like, it goes back to how fast and convenient the shopping experience is becoming. Not to mention by mailing their product out to people, they can reach a farther spectrum of people, specifically those living in rural areas without access to the stores or malls.

  15. shane grant

    The algorithm is a very interesting thing to be added to the business model. As a man it’s kind of hard to relate how personal it is to buy underwear…cause in all honesty if it fits, it works. The quiz that the customer take I guess adds a fun factor into the processes that’s generally not meant to be fun while gathering useful information to select what the customer would like. They say the customers pick two out of the five that are shipped out to them so it must be efficient.
    I think when we get further into the digital age you’ll start to see more personal e-commerce applications like this getting more use out of it but and I don’t see brick and mortar going away anytime soon. The fact with e-commerce is that you have to wait for the product and that you are having a non-tangible experience in the process, while with brick and mortar you can go the store pick out what you like and have a tangible experience.
    I believe there will be a time in the future where there will be a fine balance between e-commerce and brick and mortar but it all depends on who the demographic is and what goods and services the companies are offering.

  16. Carmen Wu

    This concept seems interesting to me at the first sight, but I probably will not give it a try. There is a lot of things that need to be done before you actually get your bras. You need to filled up a quiz, wait several days to get the bras and finally try them on while you can simply go to a store to try some bras on and get the one you like right away. I do understand that there are still lots of women who will feel uncomfortable trying different bras on in store and asking favors from the salesperson, but the fitting room is still an isolated space that you do not have to be seen half naked in front of the sales as long as you know how to put on a bra correctly. There are more and more people doing shopping online now instead of going to the actual store. I have done so shopping online too, such as shoes and clothes. Most of these stuff fits pretty good, but there were at least 2 pairs of shoes did not work out, because they are too tight. Different shoe companies have different fitting, so do the lingerie companies. While you fit perfect in one specific size in this store can result in a completely different size in other brand of lingerie store., that is the main reason I like trying on bras in actual stores. On the other hand, regardless of sizes, different materials have different feeling too. As some of the ladies would have some allergies towards some specific material. Overall, I enjoy doing shopping online as I don’t have to line up to try clothes on and line up again at the cashier, but buying lingerie , I still prefer trying them on at the actual store.

  17. Courtney Minor

    This algorithm process seems very interesting because it provides a personalized options for online customers. I have bought many articles of clothing online and I have found a lot of success. Not everything I have bought online fits perfectly but most of it does! Most websites these days include measurements which is what the sizes are based on. I believe that these online systems could be very useful because shopping for personal items such as bras can prove to be very embarrassing. Most women do not want to be half naked in front of a stranger so taking the measurements and then ordering online could increase sales by large amounts. This online systems could also provide women with a variety of options to chose from instead of the the limited selections that are available in the stores. Most people today lead very busy lives and this system could eliminate the time consuming effort of actually going to the store. However this eliminates the “shopping experience” which includes a more personal customer service. Being able to actually go to the mall and be able to see exactly what product you are buying and ensuring that it fits is important. The major issue I have with online shopping it privacy. Most stores now provide customers with the ability to purchase clothes online, however this means that multiple sources now contain my personal information such as my credit card number and address. With all the cyber crimes that now occur on the internet giving all this information could result in identity theft or worse.

  18. Anton Golubin

    As a man it is sometimes hard to understand women roblems with some kind of think, but in this particalurs situation one can clearly see how e-commerce systems can alliviate ladie’s busy live. Fortunatelly, this kind of systems can be used almost in all aspect of a contemporary live, especially when it comes to buy something online. It is not a secret, that prices in Canada are higher than in USA so many people buy clothes there online. Sometimes it is hard to find the same thing in stores to try how it will fit. This kind of systems can help to avoid these proble by answering some questions , measuring one’s body parameters and so forth. The problem is that sometimes it is hard to get a full conseption of bying things by only images on the Internet.
    Answering question on a e-commerce site can help to avoid it by letteing consultants to find the most suitable option for one. Unfortunately, even with this option in mind, there are a great chance that you or a consultant make a mistake. Hence, it is hard to expect that the role of physical stores will diminis in the future. The other reason for that, that buers will face a luck of quality of bying online in comparison to traditional stores. There is no stirct regulation for Internet shops so a great chance to buy a low-qulity copy of desired product. However, even from that point of view, there are a lot of space to improve and develop such systems. Hence, for example, men can use it for ordering jeans, jackets, suits to some extent and with more developed algoritms for choosing cars ( by indicating desired characteristics ). But in most cases the finall desicion will be taken only in mortar stores because in many cases one cannot rely only on a system advise ( for instance, byuing a car without a testdrive will not be really logical) and need to “feel” it before buying.

  19. Mia Angelica Alcantara

    1. What applications of this particular kind of algorithm do you think would be valuable in the marketplace?
    I used to sell online Mentrual cups and babywear accessories and algortithms of these kind help me get “near” to the specification of the buyers. Without these algorithms, it would be harder to satisfy the customers and I would incur more returns (which can be costly due to shipping and losses). Customer centric businesses would benefit would these types of algorithms if it were correctly defined.
    2. Will this e-commerce application replace brick and mortar stores for this application? Why or why not?
    No. Like what the article said, there are still outliers or people who do not fit the algorithm and they need assistance by visiting the physical store itself. Besides, “shopping” is not merely buying stuff but also an experience of trying it on, walking through an unknown store, getting bargains, etc that cannot be fully replaced by browsing online. Humans have the need to touch, feel and experience something once in awhile.

  20. Jared Arsenault

    I don’t think it would be possible for this type of business to become strictly based online with no brick and mortal stores at all. Even the company in discussion sends out samples and then purchasing decisions can be made after seeing the product. For something that is worn by an individual I think the majority of sales will still be made in person at existing stores. E-commerce can facilitate online purchases but I think the market for these types of sales is limited when considering personal items. It wouldn’t surprise me if most brick and mortal stores disappear for products that are not purchased for aesthetic reasons. But if you are judging a product by how it looks I think it would be very difficult to make online purchases the norm. Customers way want to see and perceive the utility of the product which is essentially impossible when just using a computer. I think the company has a nice compromise between e-commerce and brick and mortal by sending the customers suggestions with no obligation to make a purchase. Algorithms such as this one are used already in the market by industry leaders like amazon to help make suggestions for future purchases based on you previous purchases. I think online promotions like free shipping and free return policies make online shopping more feasible but these companies will always struggle with the, “I want it now mentality.” I think there is room in the market for e-commerce but it varies between products and the more products available by the company the batter their chance of making sales.

  21. raeesa jiwa

    The algorithm process is something to get excited about, the ability to problem solve step by step without human interaction can seriously eliminate some of the mundane and redundant tasks of daily life. I do not believe that there is an algorithm for everything, but this certainly can replace and revolutionize e-commerce. Certain things (such as bras, shoes, clothing etc..) being available online can both save consumers time and money but it can more importantly increase accessibility as the internet usage increases and more and more people shop online. Another important facet of True&Co is the increase in personal service that consumers are seeking when they spend their money. True&Co have not only used an algorithm for this particular product and site, but have created a new standard of service for e-commerce. This is great because for many individuals who are uncomfortable with online shopping, this would ease them into the process incorporating human interaction over the phone, and online customer feedback, True&Co are demonstrating the value in combining both technology and human interaction into creating the best experience and valued products.

  22. Vanessa Kerychuk-Matus

    This is a very interesting concept. I have never actually bought any item of clothing on line because it seems likely that most items would not fit me the way I like without me having the opportunity to try them on. That being said, and as someone who is always short on time, eliminating the time-consuming nature of going to the mall or shopping outlets seems very appealing. Additionally, technologies such as this will eventually cost less for retailers, manufacturers and customer which will encourage online shopping, even for more intimate items such as bras. I also like the idea of being able to try on items in the comfort of my own home without invasive sales people trying to earn a higher commission. The idea of having more options also seems as though it would attract a very large customer base. Overall, this algorithm technology seems like a very resourceful use of a technological advancement. With all these advantages in mind however, I would still not likely purchase a bra over the internet for numerous reasons. Personal, face-to-face customer service is of higher quality and more valuable to me than an automated system that may not understand my particular needs. Additionally, the issue of privacy when shopping online is a large concern of mine. It may come off as paranoid, but eliminating the amount of personal and financial information I share online is a priority to me and as such I would rather spend my money in ways that I have always been comfortable with – in person at a store.

  23. Emmanuel Makoni

    This algorithm would be very useful in the marketplace as it provides personal/customized options for shoppers. Shopping can be time consuming, and not everyone has the time to go out to a physical store where there are a lot of other things that they do not interest them. It is resourceful to have this algorithm because it essentially costs less to actually have products that you possibly want in the comfort of your home or anywhere that you have access to the internet. For example, you would be paying for gas to go to the physical store and you would be using a lot of time too. This is a disadvantage to those who do not have a lot of free time on their hands. As good as this e-commerce application is, it will not replace brick and mortar stores – at least not in their entirety. The physical stores are great because a lot of people want the thrill of actually walking around shopping centers where they can easily bump into products that will interest them and products they can actually touch and feel. On a global scale, this algorithm wouldn’t work because there isn’t an ease of internet access. So this algorithm application wouldn’t work for third world countries. Nonetheless this application is good as to provides more options to all customers. We are in a growing world of options, and these are essential to ensure that we find ways that people can do what they need to do at the most convenient ways.

  24. Megan Plummer

    The algorithm process is very intelligent! It’s interesting to see how technology can come into play with such an everyday task that wouldn’t have been possible before. It’s only going to keep happening in the industry. I have recently seen commercials with similar algorithm methods for shoes, jewelry and even nail polish. It adds a heightened level of customer service and an option for busy clients who perhaps can’t make regular operation hours. Personally I don’t know if I am a fan of this. I like to try on what I’m going to purchase beforehand and know it is something I want to purchase. I think it simplifies the process and struggles consumers face though when trying to pick out appropriate styles and sizes for their body types, it makes the task seem less daunting especially for people who hate shopping.

    As far as e-commerce replacing store-fronts goes, I don’t see that happening. It will of close come close with items that don’t have to be tried on per say ( ie: books , electronics) . However with bras and other clothing, many consumers want the experience of trying on these items and seeing how they sit, feel and look on their bodies before they purchase, myself included. I do think e-commerce has its benefits in the sense it adds to a consumers experience in a way it might not have before (enhanced customer service, someone available to help you as soon as you are ready ect). I can’t see it ever taking over completely though.

  25. Philomen Kadima

    This e-commerce application could lead to the elimination some of the brick and mortar stores but not fully replace them because many people, myself included want to go to an actual store especially when shopping for a bra. Some businesses are really just not equipped to be fully operate online, and sellers of items such as bras are one of them. I may purchase a bra online in passing maybe here and there just as a try but I absolutely want to go to the store to get fitted because different manufacturers’ bra sizes can significantly vary just like blogger Sindhya Valloppillil stated in the article. The quizzes required to match customers to bras are too long and require way more work on my part that doesn’t really interest me. Customers would also be required to mail back the bras they do not purchase obviously; overall it will be easier to just go to a bra store to purchase one, it’s even easier to purchase a bra while grocery shopping if one really needed a bra at stores such as Wal-Mart and Superstore, that also carry and sell bras. Buying items that one wears such as clothes and shoes sometimes isn’t as effective or the best experience because one might have to return them because they did not fit exactly as one may want. Trying on shoes and clothes reduces the return when those types of items are purchased; and also the service one receives in the actual store has a lot to do with the sale, therefore purchasing a bra online is really not the most effective way to go about it.

  26. Josh MacNevin

    This step by step way of solving problems can be used by almost everyone. Information is paramount when trying to make decisions, and personally I would rather have too much information than not enough.
    As far as this online e-commerce medium totally replacing the store-fronts, I personally don’t see that happening. Many people still want that “feel” factor, or that shopping experience. I do think that this type of application can add to the consumers overall information and aid in the satisfaction of purchases.

  27. Kelly Bateman

    I think this kind of algorithm is a very smart thing to do! Many women, me being included have hard times finding a bra that fits perfectly! I’ve spent the money on having my own custom bra made, to the exact measurements and styles that i wish. Every woman is a different size, shape and form, so why not make it available to make your own bra carrying the qualities you are wishing for! I don’t think it will completely replace brick and mortar stores for this application just because the tangible side of being able to try bras on before you buy them – but i do think it will enhance the bra shopping us woman have to do.

  28. Sidney Bouma

    I think that the algorithim that True&Co used will be a valuable asset in the marketplace for many years. The idea of personalized online services is only growing. The fact that woman can thousands of different combinations makes this service very helpful. Women are bound to find a sequence that fits their needs and desires. This type of technology will continue to grow in many industries. It can be seen in all types of clothing and personalized items. It is much easier for people to go online and order than to go down to the store and find it. Companies will need to employ this technology in the future in order to stay competitive. Their competitors will be stealing customers by being convenient. I dont think that this ecommerce will completely get rid of brick and mortar stores. There will always be some customers that will want to get personal service and deal with real people. I think that the undergarment business is quite personal and private that people will want to go into stores and physically try on products.I think that the best method would be a combination of both. This way both types of consumers can be served and maximum profit can be obtained. The company will enjoy large profits from their online sector and most likely pull in the profits from their physical stores. Personally i havent bought many clothes online but i always like to try them on that store. This way i know they fit right away and dont have to deal with waiting for shipping or sending them back when they dont fit. Thats just my opinion but the world is changing dramatically.

  29. Cory Hoffner

    I do not think this e-commerce application will remove brick and mortar stores. Although ecommerce has grown exponentially over the years, there are some business types that still require these brick and mortar stores. I believe that an undergarment store can provide better customer support and produce a better customer experience when it is conducted in a physical store versus online. I think e-commerce businesses that sell non-clothing products can produce healthy profits and increase customer satisfaction, and can replace some brick and mortar stores. When it comes to women buying bras, I would think it would be better to go into a store and be able to touch and feel the product and try on many types. I just don’t feel that an e-commerce selling bras can even compare to a brick and mortar store for this particular product. In my own personal experience buying clothes online, I find that it is just not effective as buying in a store. The pricing is usually a lot cheaper buying online, but a lot of the time the quality of the material and the fit of the product is different than that of the same product bought in the store. True&Co is a great innovative and competitive idea that many customers may enjoy and become repeat customers, but there is something to be said about being able to touch and feel certain products, especially undergarments.

  30. Easton Smith

    I believe that Ms. Lam’s e-commerce venture with True&Co is a valid an personalized attempt to create more convenience for customers. I’m a guy so I guess I’m not too interested in ‘personalization’ when it comes to buying undergarments. As long as the boxers fit, and are decently comfortable and moveable I’m good with it. I can see a valuable place in the online market regarding women’s bra’s however. There are a lot more traits that women seem to take into consideration than men. For instance, with shampoo many women consider quality, brand, price, colour, scent, effectiveness, ect. I bought my last bottle because, well, it said shampoo. I think applications of this particular kind of algorithm are valuable in the marketplace because they help women find out exactly the kind of bra that will fit best, and they can shop in the convenience of their own homes hanging out in their pj’s. Getting feedback from customers on their all time favourite bra by answering which manufacturer made it, the size, and other quality’s, and then trying to find an even better fit and feel for them really goes to show the speed at which technology is advancing, and what companies must do to stay competitive. I don’t necessarily think that this e-commerce application, although innovative, will replace brick and mortar stores regarding women’s bra’s. I think it will enhance the shopping experience for women, and increase profits greatly for this company, however, I believe many women will still want to try their bras on before making a purchase.


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