When you are ready to spend $30, $50 or more on a shirt, a pair of jeans or even a T-Shirt, retailers want to make sure that you can quickly and easily find something that fits. Because, when they do that, it increases the probability of you buying something there and it probably prevents you from returning ill-fitting clothes later.
Enter the “Me-Ality” machine.
As Abha Bhattarai wrote on The Washington Post last month, it is
A futuristic-looking machine that uses radio waves to measure 200,000 points along your body. Ten seconds later, the system uses that data to spit out a list of jeans, sorted by color, style, fit and brand…
Me-Ality representatives say the machine uses the same technology as airport body scanners. Customers are asked to take off their shoes and hold their arms away from their bodies while a wand-like contraption circles around them twice.
“We want people to feel comfortable,” said Ahmed Aslam, regional manager for Me-Ality. “We don’t want them to feel like they’re at an airport.”
Aslam would not disclose how much each machine costs, but reports show that similar airport body scanners cost about $180,000.
At that price, not every store will be able to afford them of course (so will large malls perhaps offer them as a service for small tenant-stores? Or, will Me-Ality offer the device on a lease basis?). Those that do may be able to differentiate themselves and win over more shoppers.
PS: Interestingly, from what I can tell, the machine’s recommendations are tied to sizes in specific brands (Ex: “Size 6, Lucky Jeans”). What this means is that shoppers could presumably get their “fit data” and then shop elsewhere (online?) based on price…which hurts the retailer whose machine the shopper used, but not the clothing brand itself.