eBay buys startup that lets you try on clothes virtually

Most of us oddly-shaped people find online shopping a little frustrating, because we only have a super skinny model to show us how our clothes will look in real life. This makes the whole process a bit of a stab in the dark given models generally seem to be a good few feet taller and a good few pounds lighter than the average Joe or Jane.

However, a number of online retailers have been attempting to remedy this problem. For instance, ASOS now provides its customers with their models’ vital stats so they can guess how they’d compare and there’s a catwalk feature to get a better idea of how fabrics move, hang and cling in the flesh.

This is still quite restrictive and not a great gage as to whether clothes will fit or suit online shoppers, which is why PhiSix has been working on ways to make the e-commerce experience more enjoyable, accessible and ultimately profitable.

Founded in 2012, the computer graphics company creates 3D models of clothing from photos, pattern files and a range of other sources in order to provide shoppers with virtual simulations of how their outfits will look. It’s been going from strength to strength and today it’s been revealed that PhiSix has been snapped up by none other than online shopping super giant eBay.

According to a post on the PhiSix website, the finer points of the deal haven’t been ironed out yet, but the team writes that the technology they’ve created could well be integrated across eBay’s entire online portfolio to “enable a more immersive and compelling user experience so consumers can make informed choices.”

Interestingly, PhiSix also envisions its technology being used offline in stores so that shoppers can get a better idea of how the clothes they’re trying on will fare in different situations. Although this seems less likely to catch on as quickly as a web-based shopping tool, it could certainly make the awkward changing room experience more worthwhile and less restrictive.

Becca Caddy