While online retail is one of the fastest growing e-commerce areas, it still faces challenges, mainly because its virtual environment does not allow a proper fitting experience. In the past years we've seen few technology companies trying to solve the fit issue, and change the way people shop for clothing online. At the same time we are seeing more technology incorporated into the physical fitting rooms across the stores. In this panel of experts, sponsored by the industry leader Fits.me, we will take a look at some of the most innovative solutions invented to improve this century's shopping experience.
ABOUT Fits.me: Fits.me is a virtual fitting room for online clothing retailers. It has brought together competences from diverse fields ranging from apparel design and anthropometrics to IT, robotics and engineering. Lack of a fitting room is the biggest problem for apparel eCommerce. Fits.me is helping clothing retailers increase the sales, and decrease costs associated with returns. We've been named by CNBC as a top 20 breakout brand for 2011 and have been featured in Vogue, WWD, The Financial Times and upcoming on Reuters TV. We believe the best way to predict the future, is to invent it.
1. Heikki Haldre - CEO and Co-Founder, Fits.me Virtual Fitting Room. Heikki believes the analysts who declare that 1-in-4 brick-and-mortar clothing shops will close by 2018 - and he’s got data to support it. As technology evolves, the online apparel retailers can both maintain and grow their markets by replicating the brick-and-mortar experience – and making it better. They can give customers ability to try clothing virtually - without going into the shop while knowing their purchases will fit the way they want. Heikki, frequent speaker on the future of retail, is a recipient of the British Council Award. Chosen by CNBC the Top 20 Breakout Brand for 2011, Fits.me is also the winner of Innovator 2010, Bully Awards 2010, Plugg.eu European Technology Award, and others. Heikki believes that the best way to predict the future is to invent it.
2. Loree Lash-Valencia - Senior Vice President Business Development at MyShape, a breakthrough online retailer that allows women to easily find clothing that fits their unique shape and style. MyShape’s patented technology matches shoppers with items that correspond to their personal measurements and preferences, solving the age-old problem of finding clothes that fit and flatter for millions of women. Loree Lash-Valencia is a 20-year fashion industry veteran with a track record for brand building and penetrating new markets. A visionary fashion executive with a demonstrated track record of success on both the design and business side of working with multi-channel merchandise, Lash-Valencia's career includes serving as vice president of sales and merchandising at Lois Hill Accessories, where she worked with national retailers Nordstrom, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor and Dillard's and design positions at BCBG, Guess and Tommy Hilfiger.
3. Alex Richardson - Managing Director of Selling Machine Partners and founder & Former CEO of Netkey (sold to NCR Corporation). Alex has 20 years of experience in building value in retail, high-growth and start-up technology companies including: Polo Ralph Lauren, TheLadders.Com, The Home Depot, Target Stores, JC Penney, Starbucks, Fidelity Investments, BMW Automotive, Borders Books, Ticketmaster, Bank of America/Fleet, Microsoft, IBM and many others. Alex's teams are adept at managing complex, worldwide projects for Fortune 100 companies, retailers, brands and emerging growth companies. In 2007, Selling Machine Partners received the highly coveted, Kioskcom Industry Innovator of the Year Award for work at a major luxury apparel brand.
4. Brooke Moreland - CEO and co-founder of Fashism.com, an online social fashion advice community and iPhone app. Brooke started Fashism in 2009 after a frustrating dressing room incident led her to seek out a solution for her sartorial indecision. She wanted a way to snap a photo and ask a group of people, “Honestly, does this look good on me?” And thus Fashism was born. What started as a way of gathering feedback from a small group of fashion-conscious buddies grew into a global fashion community with over 60,000 registered users. Brooke has contributed to the Huffington Post, Mediaite.com, and Yahoo’s OMG. She also edits the Fashism blog.
5. Lara Crystal - Vice President of Brand Marketing at Rent the Runway, a luxury online retailer that has revolutionized the fashion industry. The ‘Netflix for fashion,’ Rent the Runway provides a platform for women to rent designer dresses and accessories for 90% off retail prices and most importantly, to have a Cinderella experience. Launched in November of 2009, Rent the Runway is a members-only exclusive community that has already reached over 900,000 members. As a founding member of the Rent the Runway team, Lara has been leading marketing at Rent the Runway since before launch. In her role as VP of Brand Marketing, she is responsible for the complete brand experience including Public Relations, Social Media, Email Marketing and Online Merchandising. Prior to Rent the Runway, Lara received her MBA at Wharton and had a variety of experience in luxury retail companies including Coach, Chanel, and Cole Haan.
6-7pm - networking, drinks
7-8pm - speaker panel
8pm and later - networking, drinks