May 8, 2018

Amazon is 3D Scanning Customers’ Bodies to Improve Online Shopping

To help sell clothes more effectively, Amazon is reportedly inviting customers to a New York office for a detailed 3D body scan over a 20 week time period.

Online retail giant Amazon isn’t content to put an Alexa-shaped microphone in your living room. For their next big idea, they want to get inside your pants.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the company is inviting customers to an office in New York to 3D scan their bodies for changes in size and shape over the course of 20 weeks. In return, the participants will receive Amazon gift cards worth up to $250.

In an online survey seen by the WSJ, Amazon ask if participants’ weight and fitness levels had changed dramatically over the past year. They also want to know if they are pursuing any specific weight loss or fitness goals.

“We are interested in understanding how bodies change shape over time,” says the survey. The invite comes via Amazon’s new 3D body scanning unit, Body Labs, a startup it acquired in October last year.

Amazon Seeks to Reduce Costs with 3D Body Scanning

Providing greater accuracy in sizing is very important to clothing retail business. Technology to better model a human body — and how clothing will look on it — could mitigate the returns of ill-fitting garments.

Why is this desirable? Because dealing with returns are one of the highest costs for online retailers. It requires paying for shipping both ways, and processing and storing the item when it gets back to a warehouse.

Plus, because most retailers offer free returns as standard, customers have developed a bad habit. They tend to use their homes like changing rooms, ordering several sizes and styles, then returning what they don’t want.

Job postings for the division indicate that Amazon is currently creating statistical 3D models of human bodies, which it will then match to images and videos of people via deep-learning algorithms and other techniques.

Nor is this an isolated activity in the Amazon apparel department. The company also introduced an Echo Look device last year; it allows consumers to take photos and compare their outfits side by side for comparison.

Source: Wall Street Journal

License: The text of "Amazon is 3D Scanning Customers’ Bodies to Improve Online Shopping" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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