Amazon Wants To Scan Your Body So You Make Better Online Purchases
Did you hear that Amazon wants to scan your body so you make better online purchases? Amazon is about to take your relationship with them to a whole new level of intimacy using 3D body scanners. It is reported that they are using test groups consisting of volunteers to accomplish this. Do I really want Amazon to invade my spatial bubble in such an invasive way? Do you?
For the past several years, shoppers have abandoned local malls in droves in favor of an online experience. Today, 40% of men between the ages of 18 and 34 would prefer to do all of their shopping online — which is excellent news for big internet retailers.
But as many consumers know, shopping online is not always foolproof. While you get to avoid the driving, the crowds, and the dressing room, the tradeoff for making purchases in your PJs is that you might not always receive what you think you’re getting. Not only is quality easy to fake with Photoshop, but sizing can be all over the place. It’s a good thing a lot of companies have instated a free returns policy.
However, Amazon is hoping their newest development could eliminate the need to send back clothing items altogether. With help from 3D body scanning technology, the company hopes to collect customer data that will allow for more accurate fit suggestions from the start.
Online shoppers have learned to be somewhat discerning, with at least 66% of consumers saying they want to see at least three photos of a product on an e-commerce website. But photos alone aren’t always enough. Not only can they be misleading in terms of quality, but they may not totally capture the proportions or fit of a garment.
Even when there’s a retailer size chart included, measurements may not always be accurate to the actual garment. Amazon is hoping to help both its customers and itself by turning to tech.
Amazon recently acquired a computer vision startup called Body Labs and has developed its own body scanning team as a result. The company is asking volunteers (who are chosen via survey) to visit their New York offices twice a month for a 20-week period to participate in body scanning.
They’re offering volunteers Amazon gift cards worth up to $250 as compensation and hope that the data they collect will allow the company to better understand “how bodies change shape over time.”
The 3D models of human bodies will then be matched to photos and videos of people through deep-learning algorithms and other tactics. Essentially, the idea is that customers who upload images of themselves to the website can then be matched with those models and given personalized clothing recommendations that consider more minute details.
According to Body Labs, their technology can “accurately predict and measure the 3D shape of your customers using just a single image.” For Amazon, that has big implications. Being able to minimize the number of returns processed through their warehouses and even postage costs could result in huge savings.
Given Amazon’s increased focus on fashion — including its own house brands and wardrobe features specifically for Prime members — arming customers with more information could increase consumer satisfaction and keep more money in the company. And since Amazon is predicted to overtake Wal-Mart as the largest apparel retailer in the U.S. this year, the body scanning efforts couldn’t come at a better time.
But whether the data will actually result in a more perfect fit is not yet clear. And it’ll certainly be a while before this information can even be implemented for customers. Until it is, online shoppers will have to continue taking a leap of faith by checking size charts and hoping for the best when their order arrives.
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