Custom apparel brands are scrambling to create virtual fitting rooms as COVID-19 is forcing this age-old industry to adapt.

WHAT HAPPENED: Bespoke suiting brands are scrambling to create virtual tools that make it possible to create and buy custom suits online. One brand, Alton Lane, transitioned to virtual fittings over FaceTime and Google Hangouts.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • Businesses historically reliant on in-person shopping have no choice but to translate their operations online. Bespoke suiting brands that invested in online tools like fit quizzes and digital catalogues before the pandemic outbreak have an advantage while stores are closed. While these investments are costly, they are necessary and will force brands to consider their multi-channel operations in a very different shopping landscape. But brands also need to incentivize clients with added perks. Alton Lane, for example, is offering clients a complimentary virtual closet review if they sign up for a virtual fitting. While the current shut-down is temporary, brands that invest now in differentiated offerings—and keep them going well after stores reopen—will be ahead of the curve.