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Waste Not
New Retail Platforms Aim to Take Waste Out of Online Clothes Shopping

As we enter the season of giving — and the season of returns — two new, next-gen online retailers aim to address the rampant clothing waste inherent in e-commerce; and reward users for donating their used, unwanted clothing.

According to recent figures, we will consume 102 million tons of apparel per year — an increase of 63 percent from 2017. And the EPA estimates that nearly seven times more apparel and footwear waste was put into landfills and incinerators than recycled in 2013. That was five years ago; the number has likely grown since then — and it means brands, retailers and consumers are not utilizing their various options to curb apparel waste. But two new e-tailers are aiming to buck the trend.

ShopYourFit launches to save holiday shoppers, and brands, time, money and textile waste

  Image credit: Shop Your Fit

A new online fashion retailer, ShopYourFit — launching just in time for the holiday gifting season — features a new technology that fixes two major problems brands and online shoppers face every day: wrong fit and returns. Compatible with Apple and Android phones as well as Chrome OS, the platform’s AI technology scans consumers in real time for quick and correct selection of size, fit and style every time they shop.

“The online shopping experience can be really tedious and frustrating, especially during the holidays, when a lot of time is spent looking for the best gift for everyone on your list,” Matias Gath, CEO of ShopYourFit. “ShopYourFit was created to improve both the consumer and the brand’s shopping experience. By utilizing our software that accurately measures size and body proportions, consumers can simply share the perfect gifts for them — all with their phone.”

How it works: Shoppers can generate and send a link to friends and family to get scanned on the Check My Fit tab. Once the link recipients have been scanned, the sender will receive an email notification to log into their account to see their friends’ sizes and body types. An account for the link recipient will be created, where this information is stored for future shopping, as well. When shoppers select a gift, ShopYourFit will recommend the best size to buy based upon the individual’s scan. With accurate sizing information, shoppers can give gifts in the right size and style, leading to more purchases and less returns. For every person that scans with the initial customer’s unique generated link, ShopYourFit gives a 10 percent discount off their next order. The link recipient also receives 10 percent off their next order if they complete the scan process from the referral link.

ShopYourFit is launching with a special holiday referral campaign, “Shop for a Friend and Don’t Fail,” as well as offering customers up to a 70 percent discount on orders.

“We’re fully committed to bringing innovation and technology to the fashion industry and are convinced that fashion commerce cannot be separate from sustainability,” adds Lucas Gath, CPO of ShopYourFit. “Our platform not only enhances the customers’ online experience, but improves the overall retail process by helping reduce the number of returns and shipping; as well as its negative impact on the environment. By alleviating the difficulty of finding the right-fitting garment for each customer, we reduce the carbon footprint from packaging, transport, etc. We also partner with brands that align with these sustainable values.”

Featuring a variety of collections from brands including Carol Chugani, Tom Foolery and Vertigga, the ShopYourFit marketplace prioritizes brands that demonstrate inclusion, diversity and a wide size range. ShopYourFit’s goal is to include every body type — regardless of size, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity. 

Flip Fit ‘Social Shopping’ platform aims to bring in-store shopping experience into the home

  Image credit: Flip Fit

Meanwhile, last month saw the launch of another shopping platform, Flip Fit — which features the first social media application that enables users to receive a “fitting room in their living room” of items they specifically requested to try after seeing those items on friends and influencers they follow. Flip brings all of the best parts of the in-person shopping experience — trying on different sizes and styles, seeing what your friends think, and easy returns — into your home. Flip’s innovative social media platform — which launched with $3.75 million in seed funding — is poised to transform the industry by creating a social media experience where users can find inspiration for clothes, receive items customized to their style, and benefit from first-of-its-kind peer validation as friends help users decide what to buy. The goal is to ensure that people purchase only what they will actually use.

Merging e-commerce with social media

Flip’s Social Shopping platform blends the power of social media with the convenience of e-commerce. Customers receive pieces of clothing based on their preferences, likes and interactions. The fitting room is then flipped into the living room, where they can try on everything and share photos on the Flip social platform to get a thumbs up or down from friends on what looks best. Then, users only pay for the items that they keep — the rest can be returned, for free.

“Fashion shopping has always been a social experience,” said Nooruldeen Agha, co-founder and co-CEO of Flip. "The decision for today’s shoppers to buy happens once they receive validation from friends and family, but e-commerce has made shopping very isolating. We are connecting the social behaviors of shopping, which were previously only possible offline, with a virtual experience. Flip is embracing the physiological aspect of decision-making with a technology that is unprecedented in this space. We are excited to build a social media community at the center of fashion shopping."

Through the Flip social app, users can receive inspiration for what items they want to try on by flipping through photos of what other users are trying on. One of the essential elements of the Flip platform is the ability to share your new looks with friends to help you make your buying decisions. While providing support through voting yes or no for their community in their “try to buy” decision process, users can also request similar items to try on at home. These social interactions within the platform help the company determine style preferences. Users will be rewarded with credit they can spend on new clothes for bringing their friends onto the platform ($10 for each new voting user) and for each vote they give ($1 for each yes or no vote).

“Flip is the evolution of social media and e-commerce – birthing the baby of Instagram and Amazon and creating the first physical product marketplace where your likes and actions impact the products you receive,” said Rona Segev, general partner at TLV Partners, which led the round of Flip’s seed funding.

Flip is working with more than 100 of the top denim and t-shirt brands across the US, including AG, JBrand, Hudson, Retrobrand, Boyish, MadeWorn, Junkfood, Mavi and Edwin.

Revolutionizing returns

Flip is also revolutionizing the issue of retail returns, by accepting it as a fact of shopping and implementing it as part of the business model. For Flip, returns are the default.

In today’s retail climate, returns account for 50 percent of items purchased in the US — and amount to a cost of $350 billion a year, with 5 billion pounds of clothing and textiles winding up annually in landfills in the US alone. This is coupled with the fact that over 50 percent of people don’t return products because the return experience is too cumbersome, making this truly a $700 billion problem.

Flip makes the return experience seamless. The box includes a pre-printed return label and customers can choose exactly when they want UPS to come to their door and pick it up.

“Returns are our default. While the rest of the industry is fighting this phenomenon, we are leaning into it,” said Jonathan Ellman, co-founder and co-CEO of Flip. “Almost half of all fashion shoppers bracket their online purchases, buying several pieces to try on at home with the intention of returning what doesn’t fit or what doesn’t match what they saw online. We believe returns should be as easy as the purchase; and by making the shopping process more efficient and effective, we’re keeping clothes out of landfills and in your closet.”

The company also accepts used clothing — users can earn shopping credit by sending in old clothing for cleaning, repackaging and donating to people in need.