3-D Tech Lets Online Shoppers 'Try on' Clothes Metail creates a 3-D avatar of shoppers then digitizes clothing collections and merges the garment images with the customer's avatar.
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Apparel is one of the fastest-growing online retail segments in the U.S. Last year, thanks to better merchandise visuals and free shipping on returns, sales were up 15.4 percent to $224.2 billion, according to a report by eMarketer. Despite the positive news, high return rates--which occur in large part because consumers order multiple sizes of each item, then return the ones that don't fit--are costly for retailers. Metail, a London-based technology company, may have the answer to this dilemma.
Shoppers can upload a photo of themselves and information about their body size--height, weight and hip, chest and waist measurements--and the service creates a 3-D avatar that is 94 to 96 percent accurate, according to Metail's research. On the retail side, the company digitizes clothing collections by photographing items on a mannequin at various angles. The software then merges the garment images with the customer's avatar. So, if someone chooses a pair of pants, they can see where the rise and hem fall, whether the waistband lies properly and even how the fabric drapes on the body. They can add a jacket and check out the length and fit in the shoulders. They can even select alternative hairstyles to see which looks complement the outfit.