How 3D Body Scanning Apps Can Save You Time and Retailers Money

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Behind the scenes at Goldman Sachs, thought-provoking insights are bubbling up each day. This space is for a few nuggets we think are worth sharing. From macroeconomics to the genome medicine revolution to the rise of digital gaming, these stories from around 200 West show you how top-level views can impact your life (and maybe even shape the way you think about money).

Ever shop for clothes online?

Then maybe you can relate to this: you order something, it doesn’t fit, you have to return it, then wait even longer for a better fitting garment to arrive at your doorstep. The process costs consumers their time and retailers their money, not to mention it produces a lot of waste.  

If you know what we’re talking about, know you’re not alone. Today, nearly 30 percent of e-commerce purchases are returned, and return rates are typically higher in the apparel industry.  But you should also know that companies are trying to fix this problem, implementing body measurement technologies  that can better predict fit, keep you a satisfied customer, and save them millions in shipping costs.

Here’s what you need to know from this Briefly... Q&A. 

It’s your smartphone to the rescue

A 3D body scanning app can use smartphone photos to calculate your precise body measurements. Think going beyond just small/medium/large to factor specific dimensions of your legs, arms, waist, etc. into size decisions. These body scanning technologies are powered by big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, making it easier to imagine getting your order right the first time. And what’s more, retailers may be able to use the aggregated data to make better fitting garments in the future (sounds pretty great to us!).  

The impact

Body measurement technology could translate into fewer returned items – and happier customers! Some retail brands using body measurement technology have already seen a 40% decrease in returned apparel, and Goldman Sachs Research believes return rates could decline further as the accuracy of body measurement technology improves. This could mean reduced shipping costs and lower carbon emissions, plus it could mean less clothing filling that ends up in landfills. It sounds like’s a win-win-win to us: good for shoppers, good for business and good for the planet. 

Body measurement technology beyond apparel retail

According to Goldman Sachs Research, access to precise measurement data could open up new business opportunities beyond apparel, disrupting existing industries and impacting you in more ways than you might imagine. 

It could impact change everything from the way you furnish a house (think: things like made-to-measure mattresses). To the way you visualize exercise goals (integrating 3D body scans into fitness apps). 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this website were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.