Just a quick thought for this week.
With a few weddings coming up this Spring and Summer (including mine), I’ve recently taken an increased interest in suits and formalwear. Shopping around this weekend for a few items to fill in my wardrobe, I found something very interesting in regards to sticky business models.
Indochino is a website out of Canada that makes custom suits and shirts for relatively low cost. I have bought some things from them in the past and have been pleased with the results. When I first ordered from them I visited a “fitting event” in New York City (where they have tailors measure you) and I’ve since spent a relatively long time tweaking and iterating on my measurements so that the clothes I order from them fit perfectly. When I sat down this weekend to do a little online shopping, I figured I would do a little comparison-shopping to make sure I was getting the best deal. To do this, I logged onto Indochino, wrote down my measurements and then went to go look for other stores that made custom clothing. To my surprise, the measurement schema the Indochino uses (as well as the measurement schemas everyone else uses) is completely proprietary. There is practically no way to take my perfect measurement profile from Indochino and apply it anywhere else.
I actually did a little more research on the topic and found that some websites didn’t even look like they shared your measurements with you. They claimed to use body-scanning technology where they would electronically store a perfect mapping of your dimensions so you wouldn’t have to worry about remembering your size (or worry about being able to shop anywhere else).
Competitively incompatible sizing: just a nice little trick to keep your customers coming back.