Dec 19, 2013
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UK firm Select Research offers solution to sizing problem for clothing sales

Dec 19, 2013

For three years now, Select Research, the UK's largest research firm in the field of body morphology, has been working on a project that should solve the problem of sizing, currently one of the most important issues for the footwear and clothing industries. The system developed by the British firm enables consumers to find their exact size by simply taking a picture of themselves with their mobile phones. This new technology was mentioned a few weeks ago at the Lycra Fiber Moves forum, organized by Invista in Verona, Italy.

Photo Select Research

"There is no such thing as one size fits all," emphasized many footwear industry experts gathered in Verona. According to various presentations given at the forum, "finding the perfect fit" has become the major concern of consumers, both in the areas of legwear and clothing. But how to find a system that perfectly applies to everyone? This issue has become even more crucial with the development of fashion e-commerce. The return of merchandise due to wrong size is a major cost for online retailers.

"Good size and fit have become the top priority for professionals in meeting their clients' needs. But the problem is complicated because each person's perception is very different. We tried to solve this equation through 3D technology, which provides a complete analysis of shape, reproducing an exact photocopy of the human body. Over 15 years, we have scanned the bodies of nearly 35,000 people, compiled into a single database," said Richard Barnes, managing director of Select Research.

Various initiatives were tested to find solutions for retailers, brands and consumers. For example, a scanner was installed in a shopping mall, bringing in 15% more shoppers.

A body scan data sheet

But, as Richard Barnes notes, such an initiative is expensive and difficult to replicate. "That's why we developed this revolutionary new technology that allows consumers to "scan" their bodies in 3D with a simple mobile phone. The photo must be taken front-on and in profile. It is then sent to our database, which analyses the image and determines the exact size of the customer without any margin for error," said Richard Barnes.

Select Research benefited from the support of eight retailers to develop its process. One major British chain in particular wanted initial exclusivity for this new technology, which will be launched in 2014.

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