Interview Spotlight: Redefining The Online Customer Experience
Yanko Slavov & Svilen Valentine, Founders at Size Me Up
Speaker at TREND: Luxury Fashion Digital Innovators, 28.03.18
Size Me Up was founded by Yanko Slavov and Svilen Valentine. Based in Edinburgh, they founded Size Me Up out of a desire to push the boundaries of innovation in customer experience. Their combined experience spans from mobile apps, IVR and chat bots, to project management in manufacturing and utilities. Size Me Up at its heart, solves an extremely difficult problem in a very user-oriented way.
They live by two very different habits, which is perhaps why being business partners works so well. Yanko refuses to ever snooze his alarm and drinks his coffee black, whereas Svilen snoozes three times every morning and lives off flat whites.
Tell us a bit more about Size Me Up, where did the idea come from?
Svilen was out looking for a suit for an occasion. He found one he liked in a big-brand store and quickly checked the pricing of the same suit online and found that it was 20% cheaper than in- store. Svilen met Yanko that very same day and shared the experience. The conversation eventually wound up at the point of Svilen purchasing the suit online, however, he did not know his size or how to measure his clothing dimensions. This really irritated him because he wanted to save the 20% but he knew that it would be a pain to send it back. – “We couldn’t be the only ones facing this problem, we had to solve it.”
What do you think are the main challenges online retailers face today with regards to user experience?
Far and away, the biggest hurdle online retailers face today is replicating the interaction the customer receives in-store with the one they receive online. Let us explain. Customers like the experience they receive in-store. They get to try, feel, smell, test and overall understand the product before they buy. However, customers also like the ease of purchasing products at lower prices, faster and in the convenience of their own home. So the challenge for retailers is to create a consistent luxurious user experience across different sales channels.
We have noticed more and more fashion brands are making efforts to become increasingly sustainable. How do you think image processing software like Size Me Up can help?
Our vision for Size Me Up is to work with retailers to educate their customers on the impact of returned products and give them a digital way to solve this problem. We will use our image processing platform to help customers choose the right size first time, reducing the likelihood of returning a product. We will provide the customers with the means to measure the CO2 savings they accumulate if they do not return the product. Furthermore, Size Me Up will dedicate 10% of their bottom line profit to planting trees. Long-term, Size Me Up will provide shoppers with knowledge around the carbon footprint of their shopping habits. Retailers benefit from using the technology both financially and by reducing their environmental impact.
Could you outline how Size Me Up works and the technology behind it?
Size Me Up is an image processing platform which requires end- users to submit two images and enter their height to generate the user’s body dimensions of their neck, chest, waist etc. The dimensions provided are cross-referenced with the retailer’s clothing specification and the customer receives a recommended size. Size Me Up tech uses image processing algorithms to analyse the two photos provided and extract body dimensions of the user. Prior to Size Me Up, this process has only been successful in a controlled laboratory environment. Size Me Up makes this accessible almost anywhere, in any environment. You don’t need a complex camera anymore as the tech works with any platform on any mobile device with a camera. Our long-term vision is to give users the freedom to use any of their photos from their social channels to complete this process.
In your opinion, which retail brands do you think are currently leading in digital innovation and why?
We think the current leading digital innovators fashion retail is with sports brands such as Nike and Under Armour. They invest a significant amount in technology to promote a healthier lifestyle. They are no longer just about shoes or t-shirts endorsed by an influencer. The focus of the product lines is to help clients measure how they are becoming healthier. Nike and Under Armour give their customers the means to measure everything from their sleep to diet to their daily exercise levels. These brands are using digital applications to create an ecosystem of products aimed at health-conscious customers (Apple ecosystem model). Retailers can charge a premium because their customers feel satisfaction from investing in their own health. It is fascinating how these companies use social trends to position their products in the market.
Can you give us a little teaser of what you’ll be covering in your workshop at TREND?
We will begin the workshop with defining the problem, which is how do online shoppers receive the right sized product? Audience members will be asked to take the role of a customer and take a short journey. Afterward, we will turn our attention to the innovation happening in the industries around us. In doing so, we will identify why it is important to constantly innovate and help you decide what is important to your customer. We will close by showcasing how we have solved the sizing problem and share our vision for a sustainable future.
Don’t miss Yanko & Svilen speaking at #TRENDbyVERB hosting one of our Ask The Experts workshops. The event is taking place on 28th of March at the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design. Reserve your place here.