Shopping search kiosks roll out into US malls

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on August 9, 2005

Shopping search kiosks roll out into US malls

In an effort to make mall-based apparel shopping easier by helping consumers find clothes that fit them more quickly, Intellifit Corporation has launched a pilot of its measuring and sizing kiosk and 'Find What Fits' apparel search engine in six US shopping malls.

The company is rolling out its Intellifit System in six malls owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), General Growth Properties, and Westfield Corporation (whose managed properties represent 30% of all malls in the US, according to Intellifit).

The first mall have an Intellifit Kiosk installed is at Willow Grove Park, Philadelphia. Other kiosks will soon be installed at the Garden State Plaza (Paramus, NJ), Citrus Park Town centre (Tampa, FL); Arcadia centre (Los Angeles, CA); Tyson's Galleria (McLean, VA); and Northbrook Court (Chicago, IL).

How it works When shoppers step into the cylindrical glass booth (fully clothed, of course), the system captures their body measurements in around ten seconds. The system then analyses their measurements and compares them to garment sizing data provided by participating retailers in the mall.

The shopper can then use the Find What Fits touch-screen search engine to choose the types of garments they want, and the system prints out the brands, sizes and styles of clothing that would fit them best. Better still, online shoppers can always make use of their 'fitting profile' print-out to help reduce guesswork and returns when clothes-shopping on the web.

No changing According to Ed Gribbin, president for Intellifit, "In about 30 seconds, Intellifit can virtually eliminate the hassle of dragging armfuls of clothes into fitting rooms because shoppers generally don't know what sizes will fit them best in the hundreds of different brands they see."

Private and safe The system was designed with consumer convenience, safety and privacy in mind. Unlike many earlier concepts that used body scanning to determine clothing sizes, the system captures the measurements using low-power radio waves (at only 0.001 times the power of a typical mobile phone).

And perhaps mercifully, the system doesn't produce a picture on the screen, although it does collect aggregated shopper sizing data to help the participating retailers better understand their general stock and sizing requirements.

Retailer adoption Since its first installation in mid-2004, a number of US retailers, specialty boutiques, and department stores have tested or installed the kiosks. Current retail partners include Macy's, Levi's, Dockers, David's Bridal, After Hours Formalwear, Catherine's Stores, Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Limited Too, and Lands' End. Furthermore, the company says that Levi Strauss & Co. has recently completed an eight-city campaign to collect sizing data and gauge consumer acceptance of the technology, and found that the system helped increase store traffic, conversion, and sales.

Howard Landon, executive vice president of production and sourcing for American Eagle Outfitters, commented: "Anything that can help increase brand awareness, customer loyalty, store traffic and sales without sacrificing floor space, or having to train or add sales staff, is a boon to retailers."

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