Metail, a London-based retail tech start-up, has been granted a new US patent to allow the social sharing of 3D body models, which will pave the way for it to lead a new era in online shopping, driven by consumer social sharing – and helps turn social media sites into quasi-marketplaces for retailers, brands and individual sellers.
The move comes as Amazon plans to move into online fashion and is to lead off with 3D body modelling from Body Labs, which it bought for some $70million in late 2017. The era of enhanced online fashion shopping has arrived.
Metail’s aim is to make clothing fit for all by digitising every garment for every body to try on. Its patented technology enables customers to try on clothes online before they buy, reducing returns for retailers and improving the consumer experience.
This patent also opens the door to peer-to-peer social selling, where clothes can be bought and sold with the knowledge that the seller and buyer have similar body shapes and sizes.
The market for social shopping has huge potential, particularly amongst a younger generation of shoppers. A 2015 study by Deloitte shows that 47 percent of millennials are influenced in their purchases by social media, and that consumers who use social are four times more likely to spend more on their purchases. As the use of social media rises, this is only expected to expand.
“The granting of these patents puts Metail in pole position to lead the future of social shopping, enabling shoppers to interact with brands in a completely new way. It will also open up new channels and possibilities for retailers to widen the reach of their online offering and to provide an experience that will keep consumers returning to their business. Technology is changing the traditional face of the fashion industry, from manufacturing to customer experience, and I’m excited about the prospect of Metail’s central part in the next social phase in retail’s evolution.”
– Tom Adeyoola, founder and CEO of Metail
Amazon is also though to be planning a play where it will use 3D body images and AI to help shoppers virtually try on clothes prior to purchase as the marketplace looks to extend its reach in online fashion.
The move would dent retailer sites as they have yet to get this technology, but reinforces the idea that retailers and brands should look to marketplaces to help them leapfrog their rivals to deliver the technology that shoppers crave.
The move by Amazon would also help it to develop a ‘custom fit’ service with other retailers and brands and could also help Amazon control costs on its Amazon Prime perk Amazon Wardrobe which lets shoppers try before they pay, returning what they don’t want. Having pre-fitting through 3D imaging would help reduce the number of returns.