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eBay acquires virtual fitting room PhiSix

PhiSix uses 3D technology to show customers how their clothing will look, and move, before buying it

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
February 19, 2014 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3525

As advanced as e-commerce has become over the last few years, I will admit that I am still skeptical of buying clothes online, despite what anyone says about Warby Parker or Fab being able to accurately determine what will fit and look good. Call me whatever you want, but I simply do not trust that they will fit correctly.

And if the clothes are not the right size, then it will require me to either head over to the post office to return them, or to go to the store to make  an exchange. And if I'm going to do that anyway, well then I might as well just do it in the first place and save myself time and hassle. 

There is some interesting technology that is emerging, though, that could possibly convince me to finally do my shopping from home: 3-D visualization, which can show the customer how the clothes will both fit and move, basically acting as a virtual fitting room that does not require the person to actually need to try the clothes on first.

One company that has developed such technology is PhiSix; it was announced on Wednesday that the company has been acquired by eBay.

No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but an eBay spokesperson has confirmed to VatorNews that PhiSix will be shut down, and that it's four-person team has now joined eBay Innovation and New Ventures team.

In a blogpost on its homepage, PhiSix expounded on the ways that its technology could be integrated into the company.

"PhiSix technology may be utilized for omni-channel commerce so users can shop anytime, anywhere, from any device," the company wrote. "The technology could also be integrated across the entire eBay Inc. portfolio to enable a more immersive and compelling user experience so consumers can make informed choices whether at home or in a store."

Obviously, if eBay customers can get a better sense of whether or not what they are buying will fit, it makes it a better experience for everyone. Customers don't have to go through the hassle of returning their items, and eBay doesn't have to cover those shipping costs.

“PhiSix’s technology enables consumers to understand the fit and movement of clothes in an online shopping environment,” Steve Yankovich, vice president of Innovation and New Ventures of eBay, said in a statement.

"Consumers can experience the merchandise in a more efficient and impactful way, which we believe will drive sales for retailers and create a delightful experience for shoppers.” 

Founded in 2012 by Jonathan Su, a former Intel research scientist who received his PhD in computer science from Stanford University, PhiSix created 3D models of clothing, which were based on photos and pattern files.

It allowed consumers to see how the clothes would fit on them, as well as how they would look and move in different environments. The technology was also able to recommend a size for the user’s body based on basic measurement inputs. 

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to bring PhiSix’s expertise to one of the world’s leading commerce platforms,” Su said in a statement. “We believe today’s acquisition will help us better scale our expertise and meet the needs of digitally-minded shoppers and create new customer experiences for the eBay Inc. portfolio.”

PhiSix could not be reached for further comment. 

(Image source: http://blog.ebay.com)

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