Oversimplifying customers to adhere to supposed “types” based on averages is a lose-lose for retailers and consumers. After all, individuals add up to so much more than a simple sum of data points. The human body is endlessly complex, with curves that don’t fit into a neat and tidy numerical equations. This, plus individual style preferences and shopping behaviors, make it all too easy to end up with a shopping experience that consistently misses the mark.
Todd Rose’s book “The End of Averages” recalls the US Air Force’s midcentury redesign of the airplane cockpit using 4,000 pilots’ measurements. The averages of each of 10 different body dimensions resulted in a set of cockpit specs that did not match even even one of the referenced pilots – a particularly interesting outcome considering the rather homogeneous size of the sample set, as anyone too far from the “norm” wouldn’t be admitted to the Air Force in the first place. With the realization that the “average” cockpit was not suited to any of their pilots, they rerouted to a customizable design with adjustable seats and pedals for increased safety and comfort – and reduced crash rates.
The margin of error of fit recommendations based merely upon height and weight is remarkable. Using a sample of 900 of the CDC’s most “average” sized men, who are 5’9” and weigh 195lb, the True Fit Genome shows a mean waistband size of 35.6” with variance of up to 2.3” give or take. When applied to jeans, this disparity varied five or six whole sizes, depending upon brand. And the larger a shopper is, the more discrepancy in sizing, leaving enormous room for error, and near-certain high return rates. Beyond measurements, personal preferences around fit also affect whether an item will be to the shopper’s liking: does he or she prefer to wear clothes looser or more fitted? Do certain designers cut in a way that's flattering to their unique body shape? With all that goes into the perfect fit, it’s easy to see why easy-come “average” stats means next to nothing for online shoppers.
Every Shopper = One in a Million
Taking what is known about an individual, using multiple data points about the items of clothing that he or she prefers, measured against the data points of 60 million registered users and 400 million unique buyer profiles – plus billions of clothing measurement data points – the True Fit Genome has the power to create truly personalized 1-to-1 shopping experiences.
Download our newest report on The Flaw of Averagesand learn how connecting the right items to the exact people they were made for far surpasses “one-size-fits-all” merchandising.