Zafu - A New Approach to Jean Shopping?
Zafu is an interactive website that helps to "match jeans to you" for women. It literally launched this past Tuesday and is a novel approach to the problem of finding the perfect pair of jeans. By answering questions about how current jeans fit, your stats, and what you'd like your jeans to do for you (such as make your "butt look perky"), it makes suggestions about what brands of jeans would be the best for your needs.
This is a fabulous concept - but in my unhappy extreme case (see third picture), I'm out of bounds for a great many things (weight, jean size, and, heck, the other questions too!) that have an effect upon suggestion accuracy. Alas, while I'm sure that had anything really been available in my size Zafu would have eagerly dished out recommendations, I already know that the smallest offerings are too big.
But for the rest of you, it may prove to be a great shopping tool. While most of the jeans are designer or specialty brands - like 7 For All Mankind or Diesel, it also offers cheaper or more modest selections such as Chadwick's or Old Navy. I've noticed that the trend level tends to be mostly based on rise height (what a surprise right?). Any age group is welcome to use the tool (although everyone over 46 is lumped into one category!), although it assumes you are of a normal adult size.
When you're done with the survey, a detailed list of specific brands and models is given. What is incredibly wonderful about this is that specific reasons are given about why the recommendations have been given.
Zafu profits through a commission based model for every purchase made through its referral. I can see an online service-based model a little harder to manage than in person. High end stores can generate off (but can't guarantee) loyalty through personal attention and because goods are literally in your hand rather than in the proverbial bush. The good things about a product are much more upfront and personal, and sales pressure is much higher. Online shopping is much more analytical and price focused, since an extra 5 minutes of hunting might get you a much better deal.
All in all, I really like this site, even though I can't use it! (Hey, that must mean something right???) Users have an opportunity to save their information, both as a boon to the customer (if they are happy with the advice of the site) and to the company (for repeat customers). The comments and suggestions that Zafu gives are based off actual user studies, so it's not just force-fed marketing by the brands themselves. I'd love to see them add children's sizes - some designer labels definitely cater to the teenage crowd. Zafu should definitely do this, as the 'tween' segment is growing rapidly. And who doesn't believe that status and body conscious teenagers (and us poor souls who never grew out of that size range) wouldn't want to have these tools available too?