Fresh Pair Combats Technology Challenge with Adaptive Navigation

Mar 17, 2014 4:42 PM  By

Translating what people may feel about a particular product from the in-store experience to online, particularly with underwear, can be a challenge.  Fresh Pair, an ecommerce undergarment retailer, found that what everyone thinks about underwear is different.

Fresh Pair is in the process of replacing its static, one-size-fits-all  navigation with an adaptive navigation solution by Compare Metrics.

“It’s really difficult to translate those conversations that are happening in physical retail into an online experience,” said Matthew Butlein, president of Fresh Pair.

Adaptive navigation allows consumers to choose a product, see more products like it and then refine their preferences to better find what they are looking for. Butlein said adaptive navigation will allow consumers to see more product than they would otherwise.

Butlein said once adaptive navigation goes live, the website will be a different and dynamic experience. It will have a different flow than what exists currently on the Fresh Pair website.

“Right now what we have is very static,” said Butlein. “Once it goes live it will feel very consistent with the overall site experience.”

Butlein said Fresh Pair is trying to build a boutique experience.  One of the biggest benefits of adaptive navigation is that it will allow the brand to go back to what it is and the role they want to play in the industry.

“The challenge we have now is a technology challenge and you never want to be a situation where technology is playing a hard limit on how you can fulfill your brand promise,” said Butlein.

Butlein explained further that nearly all retailers have left navigation that is hard filters, where every link you click on will exclude products that aren’t linked to a category, subcategory, brand, attribute and/or color.

“Everything is treated as a ‘need to have,’” Butlein said. “For example, if you click on ‘black’ you are only shown products available in black.”

Butlein said soft filtering means that certain selections are treated as “nice to have.”  This more closely maps to the experience of working with a sales associate in a store. If you list what you’re looking for and they have something that meets nearly all of your criteria, but is highly recommended, they’ll still show it to you.