Borja Cembrero, CEO and co-founder of Naiz Fit, tells us exclusively about the process of creating his company and his path from the moment he left university to being at the head of one of the most valued Artificial Intelligence tools in the Retail sector.
We greeted Borja Cembrero as a colleague, although we had not met him previously, because he pursues a goal that is not alien to Analyticalways: to make Retail more profitable and sustainable. We begin with a brief review of Borja Cembrero’s latest activities as a representative of Naiz Fit.
You have participated in the National Retail Federation (NRF 2023) Retail’s Big Show. What has been learned from the experience at a company level?
We have learned a lot: first of all, at the product level. With SmartMirror, which is part of the MySize group, we see that it is starting to be the time for digital solutions. Especially after COVID and the digitization of customers or the need to generate in-store experiences that go beyond just shopping.
The second thing we have learned is that the American culture is much hungrier for technology and new experiences than Spain or Europe. While in European countries they ask you about your other customers before being the first to try your services, in the United States it’s the other way around: they don’t want you to be doing new things with other customers, they want to be the first. They don’t want to see how others innovate in technology and lament “I’m already late, I’m already wrong, this is already proven”.
Finally, we have learned that you have to be where your customer is. This type of event is important for us when it comes to building relationships, because you see people face to face and not just on screen, which generates healthy, good and lasting business relationships, which is great in the B2B sector.
You were the protagonist of a TED Talk entitled ‘There is life after university’ and went on sabbatical to Australia after his studies. What advice would you give to those who are graduating right now? What happened during that sabbatical year that pushed you to found Naiz Fit? At what point is entrepreneurial ambition born and how would you advise others who want to channel it into a successful project?
To those who are graduating right now, I would tell them to experiment; none of the decisions they make after college will be irreversible. It’s the ideal time to take risks and try crazy things: sabbatical trips, different jobs, new studies… Let them do whatever makes them vibrate a little. Let them think that this is the moment in life where a slightly crazier experience fits better, both professionally and personally.
As for my gap year, I got to work at a startup on the Google for Sartups campus. It was just what I needed to say, “I feel like entrepreneurship”. Then I had to decide on what, asking myself what motivated me, what pains I saw, what I wanted to solve.
I found the answer by thinking back to my time at Zara: one of my roles was to collect returned orders from the online store and replenish them in the store or warehouse. I found that more was being returned for online purchases than for physical ones and that didn’t make much sense. Also, a good friend of mine had an online clothing store and confirmed that there were a lot of returns due to size problems. I told myself that there was a lot of uncertainty with that issue. Mixing these variables, I returned to Spain eager to launch Naiz Fit.
As for my entrepreneurial ambition, I don’t know at what point it was born, but I do know that it was thanks to my curiosity, to ask myself what problems there are and how they could be solved. Ambition has a worse press than it should and I think it is healthy, it pushes you or at least it pushed me to be better.
And to get going, the best thing to do is to start doing something and take advantage of the fact that it is becoming easier and easier to validate any business hypothesis quickly and cheaply. When it is a little sketched and validated, when you see that it motivates and excites you, through trial and error you will learn to walk the path. That is what it has taught us the most.
The figures promulgated by the website are impressive, can you explain how Artificial Intelligence contributes to them?
- 50% conversion rate improvement
- 15% reduction of returns
- 6% increase in average ticket
It is true, the figures are spectacular: the business impact we have on customers is very good and that is a joy.
The best of the conversion comes from the fact that the user eliminates one of the great uncertainties they have when buying online: what size to choose. This, which in principle generates many abandonments in the purchase process, cart or purchase processes that do not even reach the cart, we have reversed it by giving the buyer the confidence to know what size to select. So fewer items are returned because of a wrong choice; that saves more than half of the returns.
The average ticket is also influenced by the purchase decision process (because the higher the value or the more expensive the product, the more reflexive the purchase). Customers who want to make a purchase of a higher-value product want to have as much information as possible and Naiz Fit helps to resolve doubts about size, so we contribute to increasing the average ticket.
In an interview you said that the trend in technology should shift towards “giving the customer directly what they want”, rather than “proposing things to them”. What does he mean and how is this achieved?
I think one of the biggest challenges in fashion is the conception of fashion itself. Currently it is an industry that works by collections, that provides assortment as a brand, buys, designs, manufactures or buys and then tries to sell. The strategy in turn is push, to push products in front of the customer to buy.
But I think the industry should move towards an industry more capable of capturing what the customer base really wants and giving them the exact product, reducing risk in planning production. We should pivot towards an industry model that detects quickly what the customer wants and that is also more sustainable by working with smaller stocks and on demand.
What challenges does the company currently face in relation to the Retail sector?
The number one challenge is omnichannel, and for this we have the Smart Mirror, the smart mirror, an extension of the online store in the physical store that allows you to have a personalized and tailored shopping experience for your iZettle. You can even mix similar products or complete the outfit from a screen in the physical store, and mix the stock of the store you are in, or nearby stores, with the online stock. So we bring the magic part of eCommerce or online to the physical point of sale.
And challenge number two, which comes a little bit with the previous question, is to help the design and product teams understand much better how they match their collections, their garments, and even the sizes of these garments with their customer base, so they can build the next collections more efficiently.
What makes Naiz Fit different?
That we go far beyond a simple sizing recommendation: we want to act on the entire fashion value chain. And not only this, but we have love for the garments. We touch them, we try them on real people, we work on the measurements of the garment. We also have a very, very deep knowledge of the garments, of the brands, recognizing that each brand and garment is different in order to do a fine and detailed work, serving in the best possible way to each customer and buyer.
What are the future plans of Borja Cembrero, as CEO, and Naiz Fit as a company?
In the short term, to continue with the integration with our new partner, MySize, with whom we will become a truly global company, which will also lead us to open new geographic markets, such as France. On the other hand, we want to join the growth that MySize is experiencing in Latin America, the United States, South America, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and so on.
And in the long term what we want is to enhance that feeling that a brand is able to generate when it gives you a garment that you love and fits you great, and take it to the nth power making each person find it in each brand.
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