Me-Ality Virtual Fit Booth, Bloomingdale’s, NY
In a tech-fuelled bid to enhance the in-store retail experience, US department store Bloomingdale’s has introduced Me-Ality – a body scanning virtual fitting room designed into five of its shops across the US.
Developed by Canadian technology company Unique Solutions, Me-Ality provides complimentary 20-second scans and personalised apparel recommendations to help customers find flattering clothing in appropriate sizes.
The unisex system doesn’t even require shoppers to remove their clothes – marking it out as a step ahead of many previous models that lost in time what they offered in fit. Shoppers only need to remove leather or large jewellery.
When a customer steps into the Me-Ality fitting room, a scanning wand powered with millimetre waves (a high frequency radio wave similar to those used in airport security systems) circulates twice around the individual – collecting more than 200,000 points of reference from the surface of their skin.
After their scan, shoppers can view clothing suggestions on their online Me-Ality profile on their smartphones, or on a list that can be printed out at the Me-Ality fitting room. Suggestions currently include jeans, skirts, sweaters and tops from a variety of brands.
To date, 150 brands have been affiliated with the Me-Ality system, including German sports giant Adidas, US denim labels Citizens of Humanity and True Religion, and US fashion brand Betsey Johnson.
Though the brand will suggest a perfect ‘direct-to-body’ fit, shoppers aren’t inhibited by the system; they can choose bigger or smaller sizes to align pieces with their personal style. “Some people prefer a very tight fit or a very loose fit. If so, they can go a size bigger or smaller from what is on their shopping guide,” explained Kathleen Funke, a spokesperson for Me-Ality.
There are currently around 30 Me-Ality scanning rooms open to the public in shopping malls across the US, including locations in New York City, Chicago and LA, but Bloomingdale’s is the first retailer to install the device in-store. A recent drop in the machine’s installation and maintenance costs (which gave retailers a reason for pause in the past) has apparently helped bring Me-Ality to Bloomingdale’s sales floor.
For more on virtual fit innovations, both online and in-store, see Virtual Fitting Rooms.