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Germany's New Online Changing Rooms Make Clothes Shopping Easier by Capturing Your Measurements

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This holiday season, we’ve witnessed what could be a tipping point for online shopping, as online merchants’ share of the national retail pie in the seven weeks before Christmas increased by 15% from a year ago, while brick-and-mortar stores and shopping malls saw only growth of 3-4%.
When we think of shopping online, we think of browsing websites like Amazon (AMZN) or Barnes & Noble (BKS) for an e-book, or Best Buy (BBY) to purchase an Android (GOOG) device, or Apple's (AAPL) online store for an iPhone.
However, few of us ever consider buying apparel online. The reasons are obvious: How would we know if that sweater from Ralph Lauren (RL) or Urban Outfitters (URBN) would fit? That’s the reason why a mere 7% of all apparel sales in the US is made online, compared to the 61% for books. And for those who do buy clothes online, they send 40% of them back, according to a study by the University of Regensburg in Bavaria.
Hoping to turn this problem of buying clothes online into a lucrative business is a new German firm, UPcload. The startup, launched by Asaf Moses and Sebastian Schulze, graduates of Berlin’s Humboldt University, has created a program that will capture the detailed measurements of individuals and use them to decide whether or not garments from online retailers will fit.
The Guardian reports that “UPcload works by asking users to create a 'passport,' which compiles an online profile of their dimensions and styling preferences using a webcam and a CD.” To make a passport, users simply put on snugly fitted dark clothes and strike a few poses in front of their webcams while holding any CD.

A specially designed programme then calculates their exact measurements. The CD is used as a reference object to calculate the size of everything else in the picture.

Any online retailers that sign up to work with UPcload carry a "widget" on their sites which is linked to UPcload's confidential database. Users log in and are then told whether the item they are considering is likely to fit – if UPcload knows you have a 32in waist, for example, and generally like baggy trousers, it will know to tell you that those jeans might be a bit snug for your taste.

Upcload is now undergoing beta testing with outdoor clothing company, The North Face, a subsidiary of VF Corporation (VFC), with plans to launch in Febbruary next year with four German shops before expanding worldwide.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.