Zalando acquires body scanning technology company

European online marketplace Zalando has announced the acquisition of Swiss computer vision technology company, Fision.

The newly acquired business has a body scanning app and virtual dressing room product that enables online customers to see how their garment would fit on their body prior to purchase. 

The move is part of a long-running battle by Zalando to improve its purchasing success rates, and reduce the items returned by customers due to unsuitable sizing. Indeed, it has been one of  the online fashion sector’s major obstacles to growth since the onset of online retailing.

By incorporating Fision’s technology into the Zalando platform, the online retailer hopes it has gone some way to improving its service further.

Jim Freeman, Zalando’s CTO, commented: "We are constantly on the lookout for new teams and technologies that can help us provide the best experience to our customers along their entire fashion journey.

“We will continue to invest in strengthening Zalando’s tech capabilities in order to propel us on our path to become the starting point for millions of fashion customers across Europe.”

Using the new technology on Zalando’s site, customers will be able to generate precise body measurements which they can use to receive more accurate size advice than they could before. The information will be fed back to brands selling on Zalando, so they can gain a deeper understanding of how well-fitted their garments are for their target audience.

Stacia Carr, Zalando’s director of engineering, who has a specific focus on size and fit, added: “Customers will get size advice earlier in their relationship with Zalando.

“At the same time, we can create a feedback loop between brands and consumers designed to drive customer loyalty and in the long run reduce waste.”

Following the acquisition – the terms of which have not been unveiled – the Fision team will continue to be based in Zurich, Switzerland, while fully integrating with Zalando. Zalando described the city as “one of Europe’s technology hotspots”, and said it wanted to build a new tech hub there and grow the site to more than 150 jobs over time.

Meanwhile, in a further example of the online fashion industry trying to get to grips with customer sizing, Boden revealed today (19 October) it has achieved success using fit technology provider True Fit’s personalisation platform.

Boden implemented the supplier’s True Confidence tool, which provides customers with fit and size recommendations based on several personal preference data points.

Nicola Huet, director of digital trading at Boden, said the impact of True Fit on the business has been “substantial”.

“Our goal is to provide our customers with an experience that instils the same confidence when purchasing products online as when wearing our brand,” she explained.

“Personalisation helps drive that experience and, in turn, has demonstrated tremendous impact on the business.”