Despite the rise of e-commerce, the question of how to help customers find the right fit online is still yet to be answered by most retailers. Whether they're offering free returns, a courier service or measurement guides to help the process, it can still be a frustrating and time-consuming experience for customers.
Fashion tech start-up Pixibo is changing that and, last week, it opened the Pixibo Fit Centre at Centrepoint Mall on busy Orchard Road in Singapore. It's a physical store where customers can try on items they have reserved online for free from one of Pixibo's retail partners before deciding to buy them in-store.
"There are things about online fashion we love...but there are things that we all hate. Like the fact that I don't know if the product is what it looks like in the pictures and the four-step [return] process - buy something, try it on, request the refund, then wait for the refund. What if we could take the best of online and offline and put them together in one experience? Try-before-you-buy is the manifestation of that," explained Pixibo co-founder Rohit Kumar of the new checkout service.
In addition to fulfilling try-before-you-buy orders, the Fit Centre is also a curated space for customers to discover new overseas lifestyle and fashion direct-to-consumer brands, which are displayed in the store.
According to Kumar, Pixibo's try-before-you-buy service also benefits online brands that want to offer their customers a physical experience, but don't want to deal with the associated costs for having a presence in a popular sopping precinct.
"If you want a presence in Singapore, it will cost you an obscene five-figure amount a month and a two-or-three-year-lease. But now, you can come and go when you want. You can almost use [physical] retail tactically," Kumar explained.
"Nothing beats the power of being in a mall and now you can do it without a long-term lease, without the fitout and operational costs."
Pixibo currently has more than 30 retail partners on board and will likely have up to 50 by the end of the first quarter of the year. These include Goya, Waistlab, Babe Cave Swim, Ally, Vaezy Activewear, Seoul and Lux and more.
Other retailers around the glove have also dabbled in try-before-you-buy space. Through Amazon Prime Wardrobe, customers can choose up to eight try, buy' concept, where customers can reserve online unlimited items to ship to their nearest store.
Last year, Pomelo also began working with Bangkok-based yoga studios, cafes and other retailers, so Pomelo customers could try on items at their fitting rooms/