Apr 02, 2019 | By Joanne Thomas
A few years ago Amazon was making a major assault on the fashion sector by signing up as many brands as possible. Today the approach has widened and become more sophisticated with own-brands, higher-end and – importantly – a tech focus that reflects the fact that Amazon is one of the tech disruptors of recent decades.
Its latest move is to acquire Body Labs, a startup that makes 3D body-imaging software. The company hasn’t announced the purchase but the Body Labs website now says it has happened.
Ok, there are lots of body-imaging options out there but this one claims it’s able to produce a 3D graphic of a customer’s body based on just single image. And the key? Artificial intelligence, of course.
Reports have suggested the company paid anything between $50m and $100m for the firm, which may not make it the biggest acquisition in history but it’s still a significant sum, even at the lower end of that range.
Body Labs was founded in 2013 and has raised over $10m in investment cash since then. Amazon hasn’t commented on what it will do with the firm, although its fast-growing fashion ops are the obvious link.
The kind of software it makes can be used to create customised gaming avatars and Amazon has been pushing into this area. But its fashion ops are a more obvious application and here it could help shoppers get clothes that fit them first time. That would not only boost customer satisfaction but would cut down on the returns that estimates have suggested could be as much as one-third of all web purchases. And it could also help the company create customisable fashion pieces further down the line.
The new accusation will join its other recent fashion-linked tech initiative, Echo Look, that sees its Alexa digital assistant and Echo smart home device being used to offer in-home styling advice to customers. If the Echo Look could use Body Labs tech to understand its owner’s size and shape much better, then that would provide a huge boost to its functionality.
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