An Algorithm for Everything–Bras

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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128 thoughts on “An Algorithm for Everything–Bras

  1. david.p

    1. What applications of this particular kind of algorithm do you think would be valuable in the marketplace?
    This particular kind of algorithm would be considered a competitive advantage. It allows online producers to distribute products to a wide range of consumers. The world is evolving, and the human race is becoming more impatient. Consumers are more demanding. Consumers want to be able to shop efficient and effectively. The majority of people do not want to waste their time shopping. It ticks the consumer off if the product is not available. Our generation has become lazy. We would rather do it in the comfort of our own home.
    2. Will this e-commerce application replace brick and mortar stores for this application? Why or why not?
    Although e-shopping is becoming more popular. I do not believe it will result in shopping centres becoming obsolete. Some people prefer to test their clothing in person, as opposed to buying the wrong product online and having to go through the hassle of returning a product. Another problem that arises is the problem of the digital divide. Although the world has rapidly adapted to technology, some people are not skilled in using technology software, and some do not have the technology available.

    Reply
  2. Matt Hickerty

    I think this type of algorithm is very useful for the marketplace because it is able to give the customer exactly what they want. In the case of the bras, it is a perfect example of a tough product to buy online because of not knowing really how it’ll fit, but the development of this algorithm solves that problem.

    In my opinion, the current technological trend is shifting towards online shopping. I have a few friends who go to school in Butte Montana, and they always tell me about how easy it is to buy anything from Amazon online. They even have next day delivery, and they always have deals and sales, especially for students. Online shopping is the most convenient way for a person to buy clothing, groceries, anything really. And as a consumer, it’s safe to say that the most convenient way, is the best way. Will clothing store go out of business anytime soon? No absolutely not, but the way in which they do business will eventually change I feel. Especially when online store are able to offer the same, if not better, prices on the same brands that are in brick and mortar stores.

    Reply
  3. Ashley-Raye Miles

    I believe that is algorithm is extremely useful for online shoppers. The convenience of it alone is impressive – customers can order what they want, when they want from the comfort of their home. Shopping online can be done anywhere so there does not have to be a specific trip to made. Along with this convenience aspect, the product can also be customized to whatever the customer desires – and it is always “in stock” whereas if you were to go to a retail store, there is the risk that they do not have the item. I believe that with these algorithms, consumers will be inclined to spend more money on a “specialty” product – or the product that fits perfectly.
    I do not think that e-commerce will completely replace physical stores. Even though shopping online may be made extremely accessible and convenient, some people like the actual experience of going out to a store and looking around – something to do or an activity that can be planned. E-commerce for online retail has definitely grown in popularity but some people may be too attached to the experience of going out and shopping for it to completely replace physical stores.

    Reply
  4. Jaylen Korver

    I personally see a large amount of potential for this algorithm. It allows people to have more choice, and allow for more variety and options for everyday buyers. You could go online shopping for a particular item, and get it made exactly how you want it. Shoppers are no longer subject to a few certain colours and designs, the choices are endless! This algorithm would even be beneficial for someone like me, who has difficulty finding clothes that are long enough for a body that is 6’7” tall. Sometimes, online, specialty made clothing is the only way to go for me. Businesses need to take advantage of this online application, or they will be choked out of the market.

    I don’t see this way of commerce ever fully eliminating the need for brick and mortar stores. As nice as it is to go online and shop, sometimes what you get doesn’t exactly match what you ordered. I personally even like going face-to-face with someone; it makes the experience more personable. You also lose the advantage of trying something on before buying. Not all generic sizes fit the same way, and sometimes the fabric or even the way the clothing is made feel weird. I think online shopping will be bigger like 10/20 years from now, but in the immediate future, brick and mortar stores will be more popular.

    Reply
  5. Esther S

    1. I think this kind of algorithm would have a huge impact in the online marketplace. There is so much that a consumer can do during their time shopping, they can shop in the comfort and in the privacy of their own homes, they choose a variety of items and compare with competing brands etc

    2. I think that this could replace brick and mortar stores but not in the nearest future and not easily. It would take a while before it can fully dominate the actual stores. The technological rate in this era moves at such a rapid speed , especially in this generation, it wouldn’t be a surprise if it does take over in the nearest future. It would be hard because some people are not technologically inclined and/or do not generally like shopping online. It is also easier to go into the stores, get measured or try on the items before buying them to avoid errors. When shopping online, the chances of getting the wrong item is high, regardless of speaking to a person or not. Also, one does not enjoy the benefit of getting the item right away when shopping online.

    Reply
  6. Aaron Krein

    1. The algorithm described in the article could be very useful if applied to product development. If a bra manufacturing company were to create an algorithm for their products they would be able to better understand what women are looking for in a bra. Everyone is a different shape and size and clothing companies tend to make and design clothes that cater to the needs of large groups of people and by doing this clothes always seem to fit “okay”. Some companies may be unaware of what their consumers really want from their products. They could collect the data when it is entered into the algorithm to make new designs for their product lines that are a better fit for their customers.
    2. It may not necessarily replace them but it will definitely start to hold more of the market share. Certain individuals will always prefer to have the experience of going in to a physical store and having a salesperson walk them through it. However I believe for something as personal as bra fitting that many people would prefer to do it in the privacy of their own home while possibly receiving a more suitable product. For less personal applications however I believe e-commerce will eventually overtake traditional brick and mortar applications.

    Reply
  7. Bobby Hamilton

    I feel that an algorithm for this particular bra selling website is a great idea. The article states that some customers decide to come in, get fitted in person and then order their products online. The other option that customers have is to take their own measurements at home and work with customer service representatives to get the correct fit. The article also states that only ten percent of the items purchased online are returned. If the bra selling website has a strong reputation for quality customer service, I consider that a ten percent rate of return to be respectable. The ten percent rate of return could most definitely be based on an unacceptable fit, but I also know from personal experience that sometimes the product simply does not do it for you once it is in your own hands. Retail and online businesses will really benefit to have an algorithm in place with actual sizing and measurements available. It will make it much more simple to have faith in ordering something online, knowing the actually measurements of the product, rather than just simply XS, S, M, L, XL, etc. If a bra purchaser has a certain measurement of bra required, they will be able to have faith in the fact that their certain measurement will equal the size that they ordered if the algorithm is in place.

    Reply
  8. Joan G.

    In my opinion algorithm will be a valuable tool in the market place especially with the retail industry. Many consumers is having a hard time to find the right fit for them, with this kind of technology it’s going to be a big help with consumers and retail businesses. For consumers it will reduce the frustration of not finding the right fit for them, and being able to shop online comfortably in their own home. With retail businesses it will reduce product returns and minimizes unsatisfied customers.

    Even though this is a great application it will not replace brick and mortar, because there’s still a lot of people that prefer to shop in a brick and mortar store than online. Customer sometimes don’t trust online shops, that is why other people often feel more comfortable making purchases in a brick and mortar where they can check the product they want, and they can use it right away. Also people like to be able connect with other people to help them regarding a product that they want to purchase and this can be very important for certain products. Not all people are good at using technology, some people are having hard time using them and can’t do online shopping, and that’s why brick and mortar store are still needed. May be in the future where everyone is using technology that’s the only time that e-commerce will replace brick and mortars store.

    Reply
  9. Travis

    The use of this algorithms allows for the ability to sell bras via the web. Without such information to do so would be impossible. This allows for a far greater reach of customer markets around the world. This algorithm could be used for any type of clothing measurements and allow for the sales of clothing via the internet. An algorithm, may also be used for marketing tactics. Through the use of Big data one can find what is popular and what purchases a particular customer is buying. Based on this information a marketing strategy can be applied to advertise to particular individuals based on taste. First however one must decipher what information is relevant and what is not. At this point an algorithm would be necessary to analyze and use data to its maximum potential.
    Though it may stop the growth of particular “brick and mortar” stores it will not replace them. A front to an operation will still be needed to both hold and display merchandise in a physical format but also to deal with, as mentioned in the article, niche customer with unique problems and desires. Therefore through the use of e-commerce will provide a new aspect of growth for businesses but to maintain greater success a retail storefront will currently be relevant.

    Reply
  10. Megan Melvin

    This type of algorithm seems significantly useful in today’s marketplace, particularly for women. By allowing customers to be independent in their decision making through completing an online quiz and selecting their favorite styles as well as providing suggestions, and allowing the customer to try on the products in their own home, the customer can feel more secure as bra fitting in a normal store setting could be a sensitive experience. This privacy makes for a more pleasant experience overall, a meaningful factor when it comes to selecting a woman’s most intimate clothing. The algorithm also offers the customer with a convenient shopping experience without having to leave the comfort of home. In my own personal experience, having to go as far as Calgary to go to Victoria’s Secret to have a proper bra fitting is much too far and what is offered closer to home does not compare. To be provided everything at home and still pay the same price for the actual bra, that would be an amazing prospect.

    While this e-commerce application is likely very profitable and beneficial to a company like True&Co, it could not replace a brick and mortar store. Many women prefer the experience of a professional fitting them in a proper bra. In many cases, women do not actually know their actual bra size, something a professional in a store could properly identify and provide suggestions.

    Reply
  11. Taylen Oancia

    1) I could see a large amount of potential applications for this algorithm, all across different areas and sectors of the marketplace. Customers are constantly looking for more and more unique and individualized products across all sectors and especially as more and more consumers switch to remote (online) shopping, there will be more and more businesses who take advantage of these shopping algorithms. The fact that this system allows people to shop for individualized, specialized items remotely will overtake and revolutionize traditional and online shopping, as the convenience of remote shopping continues to push traditionally-focused businesses towards either adapting, or failure.

    2) I do not believe that this new type of commerce will ever completely replace brick and mortar stores, yet this algorithm technology will affect all stores and sectors in some way, whether it is large or small. There will always be a need for some physical stores and shopping, but as the use of these sales algorithms becomes more widely utilized across different stores, some stores will certainly shift a large amount of their business toward online, as what happened in the article. This implemented service will absolutely bring in sales and cut costs, yet not all products are purchased by consumers in the same method, and due to the wide variety of both products available, as well as different shopping habits, e-commerce will never be the only type of commerce practiced.

    Reply
  12. Grace DeVries

    1. What applications of this particular kind of algorithm do you think would be valuable in the marketplace?
    What a neat idea! This algorithm is very valuable as it creates suggestions to the client, that perhaps would have never been considered before. This is somewhat similar to how Netflix collects information from the client (by the movies you watch or rate) and gives suggestions. These types of applications will improve online shopping, and sounds like will lessen the amount returned. With sending 5 items, one item is bound to work, which will keep the shopping experience positive. Positive experiences will increase the return visits from each customer.
    2. Will this e-commerce application replace brick and mortar stores for this application? Why or why not?

    I do not believe that having the e-commerce option will eliminate the psychical stores. The demographic of people that like to receive the tangible reward instantly will continue to support the storefronts. As well as the few customers that still have fitting issues will have to purchase in person. However some people don’t have the option to shop in person as they simply live to far away. By having both options this company is maximizing purchases by providing both options to the public.

    Reply
  13. Lindsey Hughson

    This type of algorithm could prove to be very valuable in the marketplace. It is able to discern certain characteristics about a customer and make recommendations based on what it learns. The article states that this results in more sales. This type of customer specific marketing would work for many types of products. More specifically, this would work for products that are frustrating to buy. For example, many people become frustrated trying to find a pair of jeans that fit well. If customers could answer a questionnaire that would help alleviate some of the frustration that would be quite appealing. This would attract even more customers to e-commerce, and e-commerce could result in lower costs and greater sales. It is a win-win.

    I do not think that brick and mortar stores will entirely disappear. There are many reasons for this. One such reason is the older generation. The older generation predominantly feels more comfortable going to stores and seeing things in person. Similarly, there are people of every age that prefer to try things on beforehand. I personally hate shopping for clothes due to my crippling insecurities about my body, but I feel more comfortable shopping in person because I know I can try on so many items of clothing. I do not want to order dozens of items, find two, and have to go through the hassle of returning the rest. Because there are those of us that prefer shopping in a physical store, I do not think brick and mortar stores will disappear.

    Reply
  14. Pat Templin

    I believe this kind of algorithm is very useful in today’s marketplace. Today’s consumers are very independent and prefer convenience. Going in-store can create more pressure on the consumer when giving up sizes or styles to a complete stranger. True&Co gives a very unique feeling to their customers, giving them the opportunity to customize for a perfect fit. The 15 question questionnaire allows the consumer to tell exactly what they want without any pressure of buying and a feeling of importance when their preferences are taken into consideration. The ability to have products and services suggested to you based on other pieces of information related to you specifically is a fantastic way to make the shopping experience much easier for the buyer by showing them what they are looking for instead of making them search for it.
    I believe the e-commerce applications will not completely phase out brick and mortar stores but will reduce them. Consumers still like to be able to browse clothes, touch them, even try them on in-store. Added costs of buildings, rent, wages to sales associates compared to e-selling are something businesses should focus on. The variety of what one can find online rather than in-store is another big factor. Businesses don’t have to fill their stores with tonnes of product that they could be forced to sell cheap if it is not bought. The consumer base is very big with e-commerce, not only are you providing products to local consumers, but anyone in the world is able to purchase online. Many businesses are turning to e-commerce and I believe we will see more online purchasing in the future.

    Reply
  15. Mark Hoshowsky

    1- I think this type of technique would be very useful in the marketplace. This could be a very effective way of pushing merchandise onto customers. Chances are a customer will find one, if not multiple products out of a variety. Also having some of the stress of finding a product that fits properly is eliminated by the questionnaire they ask their customers. Any time you can take out the hassle in the purchasing process, to me that is a huge upside and can motivate customers to choose you instead of a competitor. This can also reduce staffing costs because there is less need for customer service.

    2- I think e-commerce will take over a lot of brick and mortar stores, including this application. As younger generations move into the money accumulation phase of their life, e-commerce will become even more popular. It is the older generations that prefer brick and mortar to e-commerce. This will also help with people who are uncomfortable asking customer service for help with personal items such as bras. Also brick and mortar stores can at times be a hassle, so having the luxury of shopping online with the benefits of the questionnaire could be largely preferred over going through the steps of getting to the mall and shopping without the questionnaire.

    Reply
    1. Kyle Paulson

      An Algorithm for Everything – Bras

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

      Based upon reading the article, “An Algorithm for Everything – Bras,” the introduction of their application of coupling an online catalogue, with a 15 question questionnaire of fitting preferences, cup size, current best fitting bra and improvements that could be made to current best fit, replaces the need for an “in shop experience,” perfectly. After answering the questions, the customer’s information is then added into the True&Co algorithm where it draws from 2000 different body types to get the best fit. Lastly, five bras are mailed out to the customer, 2 of the customer’s choice and 3 of True&Co algorithm. Ultimately mailing back the ones that the customer does not want. True&Co claims that women buy more of the bras chosen by their algorithm than the ones they chose for themselves.
      As an ex-collegiate baseball player who played many different positions on the field requiring different baseball gloves for each position as well as different cleats for pitching; an equipment company that could implement a similar algorithm as True&Co to maximize fit and performance could target a large audience of players like myself. The struggle of determining between brand, glove size, metal or molded cleats, all are factors that could be answered with a similar algorithm. This type of business model could be applied to many companies in the marketplace that rely on revenue generated primarily on customer satisfaction.

      Reply
  16. Billie Loder

    The applications of this algorithm than I think would be valuable in the market place is that True&Co use a questionnaire to help decide the best bra for this customer. The questionnaire is detailed in the fact that they can choose a bra that would best support your particular needs. They show this by stating that more women end up buying one of the bras chosen for them over one they selected themselves. This algorithm can be expanded into other markets and could potentially change the way online shopping works. You can find what you are looking for and find others that would complement your body, lifestyle more appropriately. With all that it makes the experience more personalized and enjoyable. If the customers is satisfied there is a higher chance of the customer returning.

    I do not think this process will replace actual stores. This algorithm just makes that sales consultant that you find in the store available online as well. Everyone is different and some will people feel more comfortable going into the store and trying it on. Personally I enjoy going into the store and roaming around finding the outfit that sticks out and than trying a few on. I enjoy asking the sales consultants at the store to help me find outfits that I might normally look for. I enjoy the human contact. For me this would make it convenient to shop when I am sick or just cant get into town to do some good all recreational shopping.

    Reply
  17. Brittany Doell

    This type of algorithm would be very beneficial in today’s marketplace. With the trend of technological advances, it appears that more and more people are turning towards online shopping because it can save a person a lot of time and also gives us access to stores that may not be close to us. If the marketplace were to offer this type of algorithm based shopping, it would limit the amount of transactions needed in one day while increasing customer satisfaction. This would be especially useful with jeans. Their are people of a variety heights, widths and weights and using this algorithm based application would benefit all those who find it difficult to find a size that fits them right.

    Although I do believe that e-commerce and online shopping are increasingly becoming more and more popular every day, I do not think that it is going to completely take over brick and mortar stores. People still do like physically going to stores and trying things on before they purchase it. You are also able to experience the product more that you are buying when you go in to the stores which may influence if you actually buy it or not.

    Reply
  18. Chris Hansen

    I could see this being useful in a variety of different situations, I would definitely use something like this for other types of clothes that are typically thought of as “you have to try them on.” Pants and shoes would probably fit in to this category.

    I’d think that other products that are personal in nature and vary between producers would benefit from this algorithm as well. Maybe things like watches, glasses, and other accessories could be dealt with online as opposed to meeting someone in person and having them try to fit it to you.

    I think it absolutely will have an impact on the brick and mortar stores. However, as the article pointed out, there are still people that literally can not be dealt with online or over the phone. There will always be some market for people who want an actual person to help them, and to feel what they are buying before they do so. In addition to the sizing requirements, whether this catches on with certain people will have something to do with their personalities. For instance, if I have the opportunity to do so, I’ll buy something online. I’m a homebody, and given the chance, I’ll stay at home.

    Reply
  19. Sabrina

    The application of this algorithm is valuable in this marketplace because it is based on customer’s choices, brand, band and cup sizes and what they could improve about their current bras. The customers choose their different styles based on the 15 question quiz they take based on their answers. However these questions are very similar to questions like a cosmopolitan magazine dating back and may not be relevant for current body types. For example it even states in the article that one manufacturer’s 32C may work better for certain shaped breasts even if the women is used to buying a 34B. So the problem right there is that not all bras fit the same which is maybe why there are women that are hard to fit. This algorithm may not be ideal for such a hard personal item to sell but may work better for other products that aren’t so personal like music.
    This e-commerce application I feel will not replace store’s completely because there are people who still like to touch and feel what they are know before they decide to purchase the items. They like to know what they are getting before they buy. They don’t like the incovenience of going out and shopping but they like the physicalness of touching something. And especially for bra shopping, such a personal thing, people do need to shop around for different brands that other stores may not have in order to find the right fit.

    Reply
  20. Brett Wisse

    1. I can see these algorithms being extremely valuable in many different goods or service markets. The ability to have products and services suggested to you based on other pieces of information related to you specifically is a fantastic way to make the shopping experience much easier for the buyer by showing them what they are looking for instead of making them search for it. The company can keep this data on individuals stored so as to use it again when the customer returns to make their shopping experience again very easy, as well as sell more things to the consumer by giving them similar option based on what they know works for the consumer.
    2. I believe this e-commerce application will almost completely replace brick and mortar stores because it will be so easy for a buyer to shop online there will be virtually no reason to see an item or get recommended a service when they can just do it fast and easy at home on their personal computer. I know that personally I hate going to the mall, its busy, stressful, far away, etc., I personally would much rather do everything from home and have it brought to me. It would save a lot of time and energy and that is very important to me and I think very important to all consumers. It’s the reason e-commerce is becoming more and more dominant in the goods and services industries.

    Reply
  21. Surf Yohanes

    1) This type of algorithm can be applied to almost any market out there and can add substantial sentimental value to the goods that the consumers are buying. With the option of personal customization, a consumer will find that the product that they have purchased or will purchase is better suited to fit their lifestyle, essentially making them feel better about the product. This algorithm isn’t tied down to bra fitting but can be applied to the whole retail market ranging from better fitting shirts to accentuate certain muscle groups to getting custom christmas socks for dad. This algorithm can also be applied to many other markets such as the automotive industry and real-estate. If a company is able to increase customer satisfaction through personal customization, they have a higher chance of increasing return customer purchases and in turn creating more profit.
    2) No. Face-to-face stores offer personal interaction and communication which a computer does not. Stores also have staff that can better help you fit your clothing requirements (in this case its bra fitting) and help with the little adjustments that this computer algorithm may not encompass. Also, in store purchases gives the customer a better physical feel of connection to the product that online shopping would not give to the shopper.

    Reply
  22. Shelby Barrus

    1. What applications of this particular kind of algorithm do you think would be valuable in the marketplace?
    I think this particular type of algorithm is very beneficial to the product suggested in the article. For many, the quality of the questions asked by the website will provide a great deal of comfort to their customers as they are given the control to pick the best item for them without any external pressures that may come from a retail shop. Through this algorithm, customers are able to shop all the available options in the comfort of their own home.

    2. Will this e-commerce application replace brick and mortar stores for this application? Why or why not?
    I think brick and mortar stores will always serve a strong purpose in the retail industry. For many, the idea of a private consultation and one on one interaction with a sales associate can be very beneficial, especially for those who are not used to technology. Therefore, many are not comfortable purchasing such a personal and quality item, such as a bra, without the confidence of trying it on in store. For many, the act of waiting for a product to arrive at their door is out of the question, so the convenience of going to the store and going home that day with the desired item is very appealing in comparison to the waiting period associated with shipping. However, I think in the future this practice of purchasing private apparel online will be more common, as the comfort of the younger generations will lie within technology even more so.

    Reply
  23. Jason Ferrie

    These types of algorithms can be quite useful. Customers and shoppers today are looking for something that sets them apart, more individualistic and personal. It gives the person a sense of feeling important and that their preferences are taken into consideration. These algorithms give the individual the opportunity to fulfill those wants. It allows for companies to be able to be more productive and better server customers wants and needs. It can also be applied across many different industries creating opportunities for many businesses to better improve their business.
    E-commerce I don’t think will completely eliminate brick and mortar buildings, but will possible decrease them. Simply because of the cost of having physical buildings compared to online selling. E-commerce give companies the ability to reach customers well beyond the customers that live and shop near the physical building. The continued emergence of e-commerce is giving customers most of the experiences as they would have going to a physical store. In this article the company sent multiple bras for the customer to try on and choose which they like best, but without having to leave the comfort of their home. At the same time there is still value to having a physical building to to. Like in this article talking about clothing I think people still like to be able to go somewhere to browse, touch, and be able to try something on right then and there. Thus the physical building may not go away anytime soon.

    Reply
  24. Marilou D

    In my opinion these algorithms can be a great asset in many different markets. It is really appreciable when, as a customer, you can personalize a purchase specially when you can design your product to match your style, but also when it can match your morphology. A company that would keeps track of size, and fit down of each individual would have a competitive advantage over competitors. For example in the shoe industry a company having this algorithm would provide the exact shoes that the customer want, it would be the perfect shape of your feet so it would be comfy and it would meet your preference in matter of design. What can we hope more as customers in this situation, it responds fully to our customer needs. This algorithm in retail industry would provide great opportunity.

    No, I think this e-commerce application will not replace storefronts. A lot of people like to shop online, but others like interactions with sale people and like to touch and try products before buying, specially when it’s clothes. Let’s be honest it is so annoying to return items when they don’t fit which is a reason why many people avoid buying clothes online. Moreover, replacing storefronts by e-commerce applications is a 10% loss of customers.

    Reply
  25. Chris Rushworth

    If components of this algorithm could be confirmed for being accurate it would be a very powerful tool within the clothing industry online. Online shopping would become even more convenient when buying those products in which people feel the need to go try on. Having the opportunity to get sized by using this algorithm and not having the pressure of making the purchase is also a big hit. It’s a win-win situation. I would love to feel confident when buying shoes online, as it always difficult to do especially when buying different brands for different activities.
    It will be difficult to replace retail stores completely with this kind of information as there is always a use for human interaction. The ability to go inside a store and communicate with people regarding a product is priceless and can be very important for certain products. The is also a very large trust factor in the fact that people often feel more comfortable making purchases in a physical store where they can see everything going on and walk out with the product. I could certainly see online shopping becoming a bigger hit were it as accurate as claimed within the foreseeable future but it would take time to grow and trust would have to be built up throughout the marketplace.

    Reply
  26. Daniel Rottger

    This kind of algorithm could have many valuable applications in the online marketplace. Consumers love customization, It gives a sense of ownership and uniqueness, not to mention the warm fuzzy feeling of a perfect fit. While these particular companies mentioned in the article are not necessarily customization companies, this could easily be another component in the algorithm. Application of this technique has a very wide range of potential users and markets. Anything from car shopping, equipment acquisition, and house hunting, to the simplest of purchases such as finding the perfect type of sock. Perhaps the most enticing feature of these types of applications is their ablilty to take the work out shopping. Consumers no longer need to shop around for the product that meets their requirements for purchase, nor research the product information.
    This ease-of-use and feel good factor make this type of application very eligible to replace brick and morter stores. It is hard to see a downside to this system that can provide near tailored customer service, while also offering competitive prices and massive selection (something the neighbourhood tailor never could)

    Reply

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