Today I want to introduce you to the German startup Outfittery. Well, in all fairness, they might even be a scaleup by now as they pretty much matured into the market and have a stable business model but are relatively fresh regardless.
It would also be good to give you a little information for you, the reader, to start with to better understand my points and perspective. I am familiar with various levels of clothing and without meaning to brag, I am doing fairly alright with evaluating quality. I would also consider myself as a millennial premium shopper with too little time and too little interest in browsing fashion in order to purchase new things, which are, however, required for private and professional occasions. It could be a wrong assumption but I thought that I am part of their target group.
What’s it like to buy at Outfittery?
So, with too little time on my hands, and a budget that allows for letting Outfittery pick my outfit, I thought it would be a nice idea to try this out not only from a fashion perspective but also from a technological perspective and provide you with the insight of how my buying journey and customer experience went.
I first went to their webpage and registered for a new account. They are promoting to give you a personal fashion and style consultant so naturally, they would also like to know a few things about your body and style preferences. That’s why they give you a bit of a Tinder-like experience of left and right-swiping examples of their products so they can better understand what you like and what’s not for you.
Also interesting: 5 Useful Sustainable Fashion Apps
Logging in to the Outfittery website is somewhat buggy for me and even though they connected my Facebook account too, it just doesn’t work to log in that way. The Outfittery app is equally buggy and my experience is that it just keeps on crashing and being unable to pull data from their servers after you’ve logged in. Only unlinking and logging in again would help to resolve but then only on the next day it would have the same issues again so I ended up uninstalling the app. The support told me that their technical experts are looking into it but I don’t know if anything further happened there. I haven’t ever heard from them again after that.
Expectations meet reality
My expectations were more or less based on the marketing theme to be provided with the help of a fashion assistant who picks me some clothes and puts it all in a bundle for me to review. That somehow happened but nobody really communicated with me and I don’t think that there was actually a person interacting with me.
The first batch of things they suggested had really nothing to do with my preferences and not really what I was going for. In this case, you can now reject items on the website and provide feedback on why you didn’t like it and what you’d rather have.
You’d then think this game would continue and go back and forth a bit until both parties are happy with the goods but that’s not the case. This happens only once and then they send you the bundle as they see fit without checking back with you first.
I also felt they were taking a long time for everything from my order until I got the goods. Here’s a quick overview of when what steps happened and you can judge for yourself if you’d be happy with that in the age of same-day delivery.
- 10th of September – I ordered their service
- 12th of September – They showed me their bundle for my review
- 12th of September – I provided feedback and swapped some things
- 18th of September – I was informed the parcel is on the way
- 19th of September – The package has arrived
So all in all this took more than a week and to me, that is a too long timeframe to accept for this sort of activity with this sort of pricing. I have now received a bunch of items that all in all resemble of a single outfit with two extra shirts. So far so good. There’s also a friendly
hand-written love letter computer font print-out greeting me and wishing me fun with the products.
And the results?
Unfortunately, however, I wasn’t too happy with it. From this point on, I need to distinguish between simply not liking the style of their picks and arguing the quality and production of a product. The suit was exactly how I previously told them I don’t need it because I have the exact style just bought elsewhere recently and it was not a fit.
The belt just as well as the shoes felt like they were mostly rubber and painted plastic. That alone wouldn’t have been so bad if the price would have been fair but it wasn’t. Also, the quality of the production was simply so poor that I didn’t really want to keep them, despite them being uncomfortable. Here’s a quick overview of what I got and how expensive it was, roughly calculated from EUR into USD.
- Mix and match blazer – $143
- Mix and match pants – $77
- Homebrew belt – $44
- Homebrew lace-up shoes – $110
- White Olymp shirt – $66
- Red/pinkish homebrew shirt – $66
- Dark blueish homebrew shirt – $66
I got three shirts which all had an alright fit for my body size. One was fine and I had nothing to complain, one was simply not a fabric and style that I wanted, and the third one was looking very nice but had production issues as well. There were holes to be found in parts of the fabric and while I am uncertain where they came from, I simply don’t want to pay premium bucks for a shirt with holes in it, even though they might be small.
To me, this is another indicator of quality assurance being absent and not really relying on a “personal shopper”. And that’s already all of it. Out of seven items, I suppose I’ll keep one even though the price for that one shirt was still higher than normal but that was to be expected to cover the service costs for a person picking you items based on your input. Even though I never talked to that person and think it might have been simply a (yet to be trained) algorithm.
The last thing I want to add is that their marketing and the preference survey suggests that they will send you products from known brands from the middle to higher class pricing segments. From the seven items, only one came from an actual brand that is not exclusive to Outfittery so I can not really comprehend how or where the others were produced. Again, I want to put the emphasis here on the pricing aspect.
I paid for the experience, service, and product quality but the bundle mostly lacked these aspects and therefore I consider it all overpriced. Certainly I am not saying that they are doing a terrible job, but they might want to tune some aspects of their service offering. I understand they are profitable and growing but I don’t understand why. I can only judge on the things that I have received but nobody who understands the quality of clothing would accept the items that I got.
Go AI or go full-service but go somewhere
They also offer a subscription and they offer to send you bundles automatically every two, three, or six months and I do think that there is a market for that but as long as they are using ambiguous poor quality items hidden behind the marketing of well-known brands I don’t think that the fashion-knowledgable customers could be kept happy. Yes, everything you don’t like can be returned and you don’t need to pay for shipping, but what’s the point?
As Outfittery has more or less acquired or “teamed-up” with all the regional competition already, I don’t have that many alternatives if I want to buy outfits without bothering to go shopping, so I am very sure that I’ll try them out again once more in the future and hope that they have changed their way of doing things either to leverage actual people who are fulfilling their assistant role or to leverage a fully trained computer algorithm to understand what I’m looking for. I wish them all the best for the future. There is, as they say, room for improvement.
YouTube: OUTFITTERY – How it works
Photo credit: The feature image is owned by Outfittery and was taken by Sebastian Stöhr. The sample photos of the box and the contents were taken by Christopher Isak for TechAcute. The personal and contact information that was part of the box has been taken out on purpose.