ThirdLove brings digital bra-fitting to physical retail with its first store

Discussion
Photo: ThirdLove
Jul 23, 2019
Tom Ryan

“Nobody wants to go bra shopping,” Heidi Zak, co-founder and co-CEO of online lingerie seller ThirdLove told Business Insider in September 2018. “I started the company so a woman wouldn’t have to go to the store.”

Despite that original mission, ThirdLove has become the latest digital native to test a physical location. The retailer will run a pop-up in Manhattan’s Soho section from July 24 through the end of 2019.

Since launching in 2014, over 14 million women have been fitted online through ThirdLove’s Fit Finder technology, which is said to take 60 seconds to complete, asking women a series of questions about their current bra and unique breast shape. Proprietary algorithms developed in-house by ThirdLove’s female-led data science and design teams then help find the perfect fit across the brand’s broad range of 78 sizes, including half-sizes.

In a statement, Ms. Zak said ThirdLove is opening the pop-up because “a lot of our customers have expressed a desire to connect with our brand in person.” Management is also testing what women are looking for from an in-person ThirdLove shopping experience.

The store will seek to “replicate this digital experience by making shopping for a bra more convenient and more educational, so women have the knowledge and support they need to know how a bra should properly fit.”

At the pop-up, “Fit Stylists” will tap Fit Finder technology to avoid the anxiety and awkwardness of having an associate use a tape measure for bra fittings. 

Over 60 percent of the 1,000-square-foot space will be dedicated to fitting rooms, including some with drawers in the back that allow associates to slide garments through to the customers without having to walk in or pass items through a flimsy curtain. Larger fitting rooms will be available for a higher level of one-on-one assistance.

ThirdLove’s pop up arrives as a number of brands, including Adore Me, American Eagle’s Aerie and True&Co, are increasingly challenging the largest lingerie player, Victoria’s Secret, with more inclusive offerings and marketing. 

Also adding technology to bra-fitting is Chico’s FAS’s SOMA brand, which recently introduced the SOMAINNOFIT Bluetooth-connected bra and an accompanying fit-predicting app to “measure your shape in seconds.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is most challenging for customers about the bra-fitting experience? Is fit technology such as ThirdLove’s or SOMA’s the answer or are reworked fitting rooms? Does ThirdLove need a store to optimally deliver its fit solution?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"I’m skeptical that removing humans from the equation will lead to better-fitting bras and happier bra wearers."
"The comment “customers have expressed a desire to connect with our brand in person” makes me think that the Fit Finder technology isn’t fully cutting it."
"I also see the pop-up as a strategy to further bring brand awareness to ThirdLove beyond their digital experience."

Join the Discussion!

7 Comments on "ThirdLove brings digital bra-fitting to physical retail with its first store"


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David Weinand
BrainTrust

I can’t really answer that first question! But I do have all females in my house and hear the complaints. A better process to enable a better fit is definitely winning customers as I’ve heard great things about the ThirdLove brand. To extend it into a physical environment of course makes sense as it adds a channel and enables another point of experience.

Heidi Sax
BrainTrust
The most challenging part of the bra-fitting experience is, essentially, finding a bra that a.) fits and b.) is visually appealing to the shopper. Women have preconceived notions about the way a bra *should* look, and bras that fit well often don’t look like what the shopper wants. ThirdLove attempts to address the major obstacle — sizing — by offering more sizes than your average bra vendor so that women aren’t disappointed when “cute,” “sexy,” or simply functional bras don’t come in their size. There’s a well-publicized disparity between the bra size a shopper has been wearing and the size a bra fitter will tell her she is. Some shoppers just don’t want to hear it, and are pre-programmed to shut down any suggestion that another size might work better. As to the second question, it’s not an either/or. It’s less about measuring shoppers for the right sized bra as much as it as about eye-balling the fit based on experience and brand expertise. It’s not a sure thing that an algorithm can do this,… Read more »
Joy Chen
Guest

The most challenging element in any store is the customer experience. This includes getting knowledgeable help in bra fitting while having a positive in-store experience that is different from other bra fitting experiences. I also see the pop-up as a strategy to further bring brand awareness to ThirdLove beyond their digital experience.

Joan Treistman
BrainTrust
As they are coming of age women reach an intersection with regard to bras. How do I want to look? Which bra helps me look that way? Sometimes teenagers depend on the images they see and want to imitate. It doesn’t mean they will enjoy the self-image if they create it. Do they want to look sexy? Do they want to look trim? Do they want their breasts to take on a different shape, look fuller, look less full? Sometimes teenagers depend on someone else telling them how to look; their friends, the associate at the store where they shop. In the wide expanse of possible garments, it can be a real challenge just to determine which ones to bother trying on. This is all true for women of any age who wear bras. And it explains why shopping for a bra can be daunting. It’s when you look in the mirror with the new bra on and your clothing on top of the bra that you can actually determine if the fit is right… Read more »
Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Listen, getting fitted for a bra ain’t no picnic. Bras aren’t cheap, that’s why good bra fitters are worth their weight in gold. They don’t measure because they can determine your size just by looking at you, and their recommendations are almost always right on.

Most women don’t wear the correct bra size, and a lot of us compromise the fit because buying a bra takes time. There’s a big difference between buying a bra at Victoria’s Secret, online or even a department store. A true lingerie retailer, with skilled bra fitters and beautiful stores, will win every time. The comment “customers have expressed a desire to connect with our brand in person” makes me think that the Fit Finder technology isn’t fully cutting it.

Shelley E. Kohan
BrainTrust

ThirdLove is an excellent brand with good bra-fitting technology. Women dislike trying on jeans, bathing suits and bras. The biggest issue is lack of consistency in sizing across brands. A woman who is 32b with one brand is 32d at brands that use vanity sizing. Brand consistency in sizing is key to providing retailers with a loyal following. ThirdLove does this well.

Shikha Jain
BrainTrust

Trial is important for anything that is related to “fitting” and “custom-made.” While generic apparel shopping has gone online, pure eComm apparel retailers will have to reverse the trend and go offline to fulfill on their custom fit promise. It’s a one-time thing. Once you’re fitted, then the replenish/re-order process can be completed online. Bonobos is a great example of this new shopping model — find the fit/style you like in a store, then buy the print you like online.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I’m skeptical that removing humans from the equation will lead to better-fitting bras and happier bra wearers."
"The comment “customers have expressed a desire to connect with our brand in person” makes me think that the Fit Finder technology isn’t fully cutting it."
"I also see the pop-up as a strategy to further bring brand awareness to ThirdLove beyond their digital experience."

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