Retail Customer Experience: Body-Scanning Kiosks a Perfect Fit for Retailers
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion
is a summary of a current article from Retail Customer Experience, a daily
news portal devoted to helping retailers differentiate the shopping experience.
average woman tries on 15 pairs of jeans before buying one pair, according
to Women’s Day magazine. That’s a lot of self-torture in the dressing room.
However, there’s a new kiosk on the market that promises to make shopping a
more pleasant experience for both retailers.
The mybestfit kiosk, designed by
Unique Solutions, is a body-scanning booth that takes body measurements and
then matches those results to the sizing specifications of specific apparel
brands listed in the kiosk’s database.
Currently, the only mybestfit kiosk is
inside the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania, but Bob Kutnick, the company’s
vice president of technology, said the kiosks will be in 45 malls nationwide
by year end. The service is free to both malls and shoppers — specific
retailers pay the company for inclusion in the database.
“The malls benefit because it gives them a competitive edge over other
Kutnick said. “And they aren’t out anything. We compensate them for the
space we take up and help them market it and hype it up to shoppers.”
shopper registers basic demographic information, steps into the booth fully
clothed and stands still for about 10 seconds while the scanning wand rotates
around her. Radio waves send and receive low-power signals to collect more
than 200,000 points of measurement. The signals are similar to, but have far
less power (1/1000th) than, a typical cell phone call. The software then electronically
compares a customer’s body measurements to the sizing specifications of apparel
After being scanned, the shopper creates a Shopping Guide at one of
the touchscreen monitors at the kiosk. The guide pulls from the kiosk’s database
of clothing brands and styles at the mall that will fit her perfectly, and she
can filter the list by brand, style, price or retailer, Mr. Kutnick said. The
whole process takes about 10 minutes and utilizes a ranking/matching system similar
to dating websites.
Although specific brands such as Old Navy or The Gap must
pay Unique Solutions to be listed in the database, Mr. Kutnick said the return
on their investment is huge.
“The conversion rate is going to be 50 to 90 percent higher because
if it tells you to go to the Gap to buy a pair of jeans, assuming you like
the fabric, you are going to buy it because it will fit you,” he said. “You’re
not going to try on a bunch of stuff that doesn’t fit, get frustrated and leave.”
also encourages people to try on clothing because being worried that something
won’t fit is often the biggest reason shoppers don’t want to hit the dressing
room, Mr. Kutnick said.
Within the year, the machines will work in a variety
of different settings, including the health, fitness and automotive industries,
Discussion Questions: Will consumers respond favorably to body-scanning technologies such as the mybestfit kiosk? Are the benefits great enough that you think large numbers of retailers will invest in this type of technology?