Acquiring

Rakuten Sees Virtual Fitting Room Startup As Good Fit

Japan’s largest online retailer, Rakuten, announced the acquisition of fit preference specialist Fits.me yesterday (July 13).

The eCommerce company plans to utilize Fit.me’s virtual fitting room technology to strengthen its offerings and marketing solutions by providing a more personalized retail experience for shoppers, while also increasing operational insights and efficiencies for retailers.

“Fits.me represents both the fun and functionality of shopping online and is a natural complement to our growing portfolio of eCommerce and marketing services,” Rakuten founder and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said in a company release. “Not only does the virtual fitting room provide customers with a more realistic shopping experience, it also empowers merchants with the valuable data they need to continually improve their service.”

Fit.me’s virtual fitting room, which was established in 2010, aims to provide customers with a better understanding of which clothes fit and suit them prior to making a purchase. Merchants can benefit from the service by reducing the number of product returns and enhancing customer loyalty, while also gaining a deeper understanding of shoppers.

Fits.me CEO James B. Gambrell said: “Rakuten built its business by empowering merchants and brands to deliver authentic and engaging shopping experiences, which is exactly the vision of Fits.me. Many fashion retailers are still using basic segmentation techniques, but our fit preference insights help them deliver genuine personalization, which improves customer loyalty and lifetime value. We are excited to join Rakuten, with its leading eCommerce marketplaces and cutting edge marketing services platform Rakuten Marketing, as we build out our ambitious product plans and accelerate our planned growth in Europe, the USA and now Asia.”

Fits.me will operate as a standalone business within Rakuten and continue to support and grow current and future clients.

As a longtime client of Fits.me, QVC UK’s Director of Media Operations Brian Farrelly showed support for the acquisition and the potential benefits it sets to bring.

“Deriving insight from customer data that can be used to address challenges throughout the business is the next big frontier for apparel retailers,” Farrelly said. “We’re excited by Fits.me’s direction and potential to help us meet our challenges in this regard, while the backing and experience of the Rakuten Group promises additional big data expertise, technical resources and massive scalability.”

The acquisition of Fits.me seems in line with Rakuten’s recent announcement to raise $1.5 billion via a share offering. Back in June, the company said it was looking to strengthen its financial position as it moved to expand through acquisitions.

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