As the global retail industry continues to feel the full impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Swiss retail technology company meepl – the easy-to-use and time-saving online shopping companion for clothing – has announced it will offer complimentary access to their smartphone-enabled, 3D body scanning technology for vulnerable SMEs working within the fashion industry.
There is no denying that this is an unprecedented time for the fashion industry on a global scale, with retailers forced to shut their doors, suspend manufacturing, furlough employees and even in extreme cases file for bankruptcy. Yet despite these uncertain times, research by the Centre of Retail Research (CRR), has identified that online retailers’ share of UK retail trade could be as high as 23% by the end of 2020. This growth is likely to be sustained into the future as consumer habits change coupled with the significant closure of traditional bricks-and-mortar clothing stores.
Access to meepl’s unique technology will allow tailors, brands and retailers to extend their service to include made-to-measure capabilities. Providing complimentary access to the 3D body scanning app will give vulnerable retailers and fashion brands within the industry important benefits: these businesses will be able to better respond to the negative impact of Covid-19; bolster the online experience for their customers; and address a crucial industry pain point around garment fit.
Ferdinand Metzler, Founder and CEO of meepl, said: “Many retailers and fashion brands are experiencing severe repercussions because of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the small and independent businesses who are being hit the hardest. During this unpredictable time, it’s important we all support one another to ensure the future of both the retail and fashion eco-systems.
“Now that consumer purchasing habits have been forced to change, this is likely to impact the way we all shop in the future. By allowing struggling retailers to experience our 3D body scanning service free of charge, we hope that this will improve the online shopping experience for their customers and therefore boost their trade, having a positive impact on the industry as a whole.”
While the industry is leveraging technology to drive innovation and improve the overall online shopping experience, the continuous issue around product fit is still leaving many retail shoppers dissatisfied with their online shopping experience.
Addressing this pain point directly, the meepl made-to-measure offering creates an almost 100 percent accurate body image with only two pictures in seconds. By using visual computing and deep neural networks, the two images will obtain 45-150 measurements of the body instantly. These measurements will also take into account body height and will use the latest body reconstruction algorithms to create a perfect duplicate of the users body. For online tailors, meepl is the enabling technology to make online tailoring scalable.
Additional services of the meepl technology extend to Size Recommendations and in the very near future a virtual dressing room experience.
For those who shop at various stores and brands, it’s evident not every item of clothing has an individual fit and size recommendation. Brands using meepl’s Size Recommendation can remove the guesswork (and frustration) about sizing thanks to the state-of-the-art machine learning technique. Combining individual clothing measurements with the body data, derived from the customer’s meepl profile, brands can recommend the perfect fit for their customers.
The meepl smartphone-enabled Virtual Dressing Room addresses another industry-wide issue relating to garment fit. Through artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision, meepl uses the accurate 3D avatar (or ‘meepl’) which allows the consumer to virtually try-on items of clothing in different styles and sizes within the online shop.
The benefits of these offerings for the retailer are significant – by encouraging consumers to shop online and virtually try on clothes, it ensures that the perfect fit can be achieved without the need to physically try the item on. The technology also helps return rates become an omnipresent topic, which incur significant costs for the retailer, as well as being detrimental to the environment through adding to landfill.
Ferdinand concluded: “As we continue to watch the devastating effect of Covid-19, it is heartening to see some of the incredible efforts and generosity from smaller businesses offering to support their communities. Consumer experience is a key factor in commerce, so we wish to serve those who could benefit from our platform; to ease the immense pressure these businesses are experiencing at this point in time.”