Online shopping and AI will make or kill the high street clothing store
Online shopping has become more and more popular in the last years and online retailers are ready to try anything in order to help their customers get what they want. There is a body scanner from Metail, called the Size-Streamer Scanner, that takes your detailed measurements and creates a digital avatar. For now, it is just a prototype with a curtain pulled around it and 10 sensors aimed at different parts of the body. The machine scans the body and takes the precise dimensions of a person and models them in a personalized 3D avatar.
What will happen next is that you can then dress your virtual model in different outfits and see how they look like. The retailer can also send you fashion ideas based on what would fit your digital avatar. However, it seems that this kind of tech is not yet taking in Western clothing outlets partly because retailers are worried that customer might be put off by what they see. Metail founder, Tom Adeyoola says:
“There’s no reason why we won’t move to a future where the idea of size disappears. It’s about dressing the best for your shape to make you feel good. If people want the most accurate way of capturing their body shape this is a great way of doing it.”
Although people are starting to love online shopping more and more, thus being able to avoid sitting in long ques and spending their time doing something they love, there is still the problem of not being able to try on the clothes first, that is why returns are generally high. For example, in Germany, there is a return rate of mail order shopping of 50%, while in the UK it is a bit lower than that. Therefore, out of the need to prevent returns, retailers have implemented the “try before you buy” service, which is available with Amazon, Topshop, Asos, and JD Sports.
Recently, a lot of online retailers have started focusing on personalisation services, like Amazon, who tried to patent a “virtual fitting room” app that can go through a customer’s social media photographs to try and predict their fashion style before offering suggestions. Or Outfittery, one of Europe’s largest online retail firms from Berlin, who uses 20 algorithms and human stylists in order to choose clothes meant to fit your preferences, size, personality, and aspirations.