Which one below describes your dressing style during Covid-19? Do you find yourself shopping more or lesser these days? When you are shopping online, do you worry about having the wrong fit or sizing and having to go through the trouble of returning your clothes? Or even worse… wasting your money if there are no return policies?
Isabelle Ohnemus used to share the same worry but swiftly came up with a solution for all of us when she founded her company, EyeFitU, that uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to provide a good estimate of customers’ sizings. She shared with me her vision of a sustainable solution to fashion shopping as we step into a more digital world today and how she shifted her business model from a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) to a Business-to-Business (B2B) model. EyeFitU has also badged several awards including the Loomish Fashion Innovation Award 2018, NOAH16 London Startup, Top App with FashInvest 2015 and FashNerd 2015 and having been emerged as finalist for Best App & Best Use of Innovation by Drappers Digital Awards 2017. EyeFitU has also paired up with many companies like Shopify, Oracle, WooCommerce and many more.
A Quick Chat with Isabelle Ohnemus fills us in with B2B Growth Tips on how she expanded her company…
1) Briefly introduce yourself
“I’m Isabelle Ohnemus, Founder and CEO of EyeFitU. EyeFitU is a Size-as-a-Service software company, that encourages a sustainable approach to fashion shopping. It offers sizing and analytics solutions to fashion retailers through its SizeEngineTM Artificial Intelligence Platform. It increases conversions, reduces returns and personalizes shopping experiences, all powered by data and Machine Learning.
Currently based in Zurich with my family, I am pursuing my passion for fashion and technology through the creation and ongoing development of EyeFitU.”
2) It is interesting to offer digital solutions through Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the retail fashion sector. How did the idea come about and what motivated you to start it?
“After more than ten years in investment banking and my knowledge in ecommerce and mobile, I decided to turn my passion for fashion into a concrete solution to the global chaos around sizing, that would encourage a more sustainable approach to fashion shopping, benefitting both consumers and retailers.
The idea behind EyeFitU was to create an innovative, on-the-go solution to the issues brought about by the global differences in sizing in the fashion industry, and the consequential waste and pollution created by the rising number of returns.
We‘ve developed a software tool for clothes and footwear shopping that uses Machine Learning and the specifics of each brand and user to recommend the best possible fit for males and females. Our unique selling proposition (USP) is our patented Sizing Engine for the apparel and footwear industry. It works with a small amount of information from users and garments and improves with greater quantity of people using the system and level of detail provided. Our core differentiator lies in our multi-parameter algorithms integrating AI. This is unique because no two people are created the same and body shapes vary widely and the information available from brands differs hugely as well.
I feel fortunate enough to have been able to pair my love for fashion with technology to create something that is ground-breaking. EyeFitU can positively change the face of shopping for both the customer and the fashion industry. Our solution matches customers’ size and fit preferences, using intuitive visualization and motivating them to shop with confidence. The complete Size-as-a-Service integrated in your shop.”
3) Why and when did you decide to shift from a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) to a Business-to-Business (B2B) model? What are the advantages of B2B over B2C?
“The B2C is a great platform to have Machine Learning kick in as well as offering personal fashion sizing app and platform. We always wanted to expand from being a purely consumer-focused platform to an integration sizing tool for retailers with an online offering. Having worked closely with the sizing of our affiliated brands and online stores, we saw the positive effect that EyeFitU can bring to a consumer’s shopping experience. Hence, we wanted this to be possible even when ordering directly through a brand’s website.
We were often asked the following from retailers: “Can we integrate your technology? How long would it take and how much would it cost?”. The industry has acknowledged that our mobile-first approach and added value is very interesting, particularly to online fashion stores that often have a very broad target audience and clothing from multiple brands where, of course, the sizes can differ a lot. Our app/web platform is seen as an extension of their stores.
Given the market’s needs, we launched our B2B offering – SIZE-AS-A-SERVICE SizeEngineTM AI Platform at the end of 2018. Our major clients are single and multi-brand fashion retailers.
Nonetheless, our key goal remains: to ensure consumers feel confident in buying the correct size when shopping online. With an EyeFitU integration, a brand is then able to increase personalisation, trust, engagement and profitability.”
4) What are some of the challenges you face with your business and how did you overcome it?
“Believe it or not, we are a ground-breaking platform and that in itself can be a challenge as everything we have done did not exist before. Therefore, obstacles are a natural part of the journey. From integration to testing, to automation to re-testing, we’re constantly learning and developing.
What’s more, we’re a start-up and being in the early stages of any new business brings a plethora of challenges. Speed and time to market to test if the value proposition works is hugely important. So, it is vital to balance this with retailers who sometimes, due to legacy systems, are not able to embrace new and advanced technologies very quickly. Luckily, and not surprisingly, for us many are keen to improve conversion and retention rates and are therefore eager to test technologies that can help with this.”
5) What is your take on digitalisation in the retail fashion sector in Switzerland? Do you think more needs to be done? Are people open to it?
“Multi-channel retailers are constantly challenged with being relevant and unique with the pressing need to invest in advanced technology. In an industry that is adopting technology as a means of retaining customer loyalty and driving sales, the creativity and extent that brands are going to is seemingly limitless.
The omnichannel experience we have all been talking about now for quite some time is ready to take off. Physical stores that are reorganised, should it be as showrooms, digital facilitators (payments etc..), experiential, to merge their customers with the online world will be the winners. The customer is multi-faceted as she/he is connecting with a brand through a multitude of channels and the brand must acknowledge and address it.
Then, there is also the challenge of being “mobile-ready”. Many brands that had already made the switch to a successful online platform, must now also do so for mobile devices. The number of shoppers making purchases on their mobile phones is increasing steadily, and retailers must be prepared for this, otherwise they risk being left behind. For today’s tech savvy consumer, multi-channel retailers must adopt accessible, exciting and unique methods to ensure that shoppers are engaged, spending and returning again and again.
I do believe that brands which are not embracing, investing and reinventing their physical retail stores experience and purpose will suffer even more than now in the future.”
6) Any tips for aspiring female entrepreneurs (who wish to start a B2B model) out there?
“The most important lesson is to be humble and open-minded. With many realities and changes happening in the retail sector, you always have to be ready to learn, to steer your direction and be agile. Another important trait is having the enthusiasm of challenging yourself and always aiming for better results. You must be passionate about technology. Through digital, the face of shopping is changing and so you must be interested and educated in the technological advances in this field. Stay ahead!
Be passionate, pursue your dreams and never give up on your ideas. Every day is a school day so make the most of it by maintaining a certain level of curiosity! And work, work, work”
Learn more about EyeFitU in the video below:[review position="bottom"]