Retailers Turn to Analytics, 3D Tech to Promote Fit, Reduce Returns

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family and is now looking to move into a hybrid production/brick-and-mortar store aimed at generating foot traffic and brand visibility.

Kit currently is housed in an apparel factory staffed with resettled refugees that come from countries with strong clothing businesses. “In a weird way, the refugee resettlement system is re-shoring that talent,” Guthrie says. “We’re leveraging this workforce and then we want to create training programs of our own.”

Guthrie adds that as Kit grows, some of these processes will likely have to automated—like using a laser cutter to cut garments instead of doing it by hand.

BodyBlock AI doesn’t manufacture clothes, but rather works with retailers and brands such as Stitch Fix to connect shoppers with items that fit and won’t be returned.

The company works with its customers in two ways. Shoppers browsing clothing click on a “Find My Fit” box and enter basic information like gender, height, age, and weight, which will be analyzed against the company’s bank of 3D body scans. The algorithm offers the shopper a display of scans of several body types and the shopper picks the one that most resembles them. Then, the algorithm recommends the appropriate size for the article of clothing.

For three particular clothing brands—shirtmaker Stantt, apparel line Sene, and denim maker Unspun—BodyBlock AI has an arrangement by which shoppers can get their own body scans done (Fit3D says it has scanners in health clubs in the U.S. and 48 other countries) and create an account with BodyBlock AI. Shoppers then log onto their account with the retailers and fit their fit.

Either way, BodyBlock AI says its technology can give those retailers and brands hard-to-come-by market intelligence such as which sizes people are shopping for, who made purchases and who didn’t, and the measurements of those individuals. The idea, the company says, is to provide deeper insight than just which SKUs are selling or not.

“No one has perfected online analytics from the metric of body shape,” Donnelly says. “They know what goes in their Starbucks coffee or [their] marital status but don’t know their true waist size. We’re setting a new standard for brands.”

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