Online giant now owns a 3D body scanning startup
Amazon’s newest acquisition could give a boost to the company’s fashion category — including its growing private-label apparel business.
The online giant has acquired Body Labs, a 3D scanning platform that uses artificial intelligence, computer vision, and body modeling to accurately create an avatar-like image of a customer’s dimensions. The 3D platform provider announced the news on its website.
While Body Labs declined to share details about the transaction, the deal is anticipated to be between $50 million and $70 million, according to TechCrunch, which initially broke the story.
The digital platform captures 3D body motions and shapes, and models can be applied to numerous industries, including gaming and apparel, according to Body Labs’ website. This is a natural fit for Amazon, as it could streamline how online shoppers virtually try on clothes prior to making a purchase, as well as reduce merchandise returns.
For example, Amazon continues to roll out new private label lines across men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, men’s and women’s shoes, lingerie and underwear categories. The company also operates its “try before you buy” Prime Wardrobe service — a subscription-based program that enables Prime members to order (and try on) from three to 15 items of clothing before they actually buy any of the items.
By integrating 3D modeling across both categories, more accurate fittings supported by Body Labs could reduce the rate of returned merchandise — as well as operating costs associated with excess returns, according to TechCrunch.
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Survey: Retailers are missing out on a big opportunity
For all the buzz about buy-online-pickup-in-store, not that many retailers are actually deploying the service.
Only 29.1% of U.S. retailers and 23.5% of Canadian retailers offer click & collect, according to a report by OrderDynamics, which notes that both countries are still in the very early phase of click and collect deployments. Of the more than 1,000 global retailers surveyed, 37% overall offer shoppers the option to buy online and pickup in store. The biggest adoption rate is in the U.K., where 67% of retailers offer the service.
Surprisingly, a large number of retailers with click and collect capabilities do not advertise this offering to customers, the study found. The U.S. was worst at advertising in-store pickup offerings, with only 38.5% of retailers with BOPIS alerting customers about the offering on their first webpage.
The study notes the importance of offering in-store pickups given that, in 58% of cases, it results in additional sales and is a way to keep shoppers coming back. It also recommends that retailers consider more than one pickup option for click and collect. Of over one thousand retailers in this study, Walmart stands as one of very few to offer four pickup options (in-store, pickup lockers, curb-side pickup, and postal outlet collection).
The Global Dynamics Omni-1000 report reveals the global and regional maturity, or lack thereof of a wide variety of omnichannel retail features. In other findings from the report:
- More retailers offer free shipping in North America (with a minimum order_ than the other regions surveyed. Seventy-five percent of Canadian retailers offer the service followed by 67% of U.S. retailers.
- Among the countries in the study, the U.S. and Canada show the lowest average minimum order for free shipping. The minimum basket for free shipping in the U.S. is $55.65, and $56.66 in Canada.
- Retail chains with more than 250 stores are twice as likely as chains made up of 10-50 stores to offer click and collect services.
- An overwhelming majority (90%) of retailers have standard e-commerce capabilities, such as the ability for shoppers to create a virtual shopping basket and purchase goods online.
- Sixty-eight percent provide basic inventory visibility to online consumers.
- Fifty-nine percent of retailers allow shoppers to buy online and return in-store.
Interesting article, but what is the source of this survey? When was it done, by whom, how many respondents, etc.?
Study: Shoppers want technology that transforms — not replaces — the store experience
For many customers, the ideal digital “store of the future” will streamline payments and make it easier to pick up purchases.
This was according to the “Consumer View,” a study from the National Retail Federation that tracks consumer awareness and adoption rates across a variety of retail technologies.
For example, shoppers are most interested in buy online, pickup in-store (68%) services, in-app store navigation (66%), and mobile payment (65%). Yet, many technologies still fall short of consumers’ expectations, suggesting successful implementation still has a ways to go—even for more mature technologies, the study revealed.
Specifically, more than four in 10 consumers (44%) said their experience with in-store digital displays (44%), tablet-/mobile-empowered associates (43%) or messaging apps (43%) had no impact on their experience. One in 10 said it actually made their experience worse (10%, 8%, 9%, respectively).
Despite wanting more practical solutions, customers are keeping a keen eye on emerging innovations. The two technologies that currently top shoppers’ “must try” lists are 3D printing and drone delivery.
Customers also continue to try new solutions, even if they are not yet mission-critical shopping tools. These include visual search (27%), voice search (21%), augmented reality (20%), virtual reality (18%), and smart dressing rooms (13%).
“While &lsquostore of the future’ technologies dominate the retail conversation, many still remain at the periphery of consumer awareness and usage,” the study said. “Today’s shoppers are much more concerned with the innovations impacting the most fundamental elements of retail: How do I pay for my items and how do I get my purchases?”
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