Here's a true online shopping experience I had recently. I ordered a pair of hiking pants from Amazon in my usual size and they arrived with enough room to stuff an Ewok down them. I sent them back and sized down. Still too big. On my third attempt, I ended up with a perfect fit, but in a size I haven't worn since I started college.
If only there was a technology solution for this sort of issue. Oh wait, there is. It's called LikeAGlove, a smart garment startup that hopes to revolutionize online clothes shopping by taking your measurements and translating them into the right size before you place an order.
The usual online clothes shopping experience is fraught with peril. You may just pick your normal size and hope you get it right. You may scroll through endless reviews to see if other purchasers say the sizing runs small or big. This is especially a problem for women's clothing, where there is little in the way of sizing standardization. LikeAGlove's smart garments made with conductive fibers woven into them sound like a much better option. Put it on and your measurements are transmitted to an app, which saves them in your profile.
LikeAGlove is planning to offer shoppers a search engine that lets them figure out their sizes across many different brands. If this tech was up and running when I was shopping for my hiking pants, I would have ended up with the right size in the first place, rather than playing the return and reorder game.
LikeAGlove strikes me as the sort of thing you would expect everyone to use in a future, mildly sci-fi world. You would stand in your modern, glass-walled home while your robot butler delivers a cocktail, put on your LikeAGlove dress and shop online while a 3D hologram shows how you will look in the clothes you're browsing through.
We may someday get our holograms, but at least the smart garments part is quite a bit closer to reality. A LikeAGlove representative told CNET, "We are connecting with manufacturers, retailers and other consumer-facing brands to determine the best way to go to market. We could go direct to consumer as well, in early 2015."
LikeAGlove says it has working garments ready to go into production. If the LikeAGlove smart clothes reach shoppers' bodies next year, then it could help take a lot of the frustration out of the online shopping experience, which would be a good thing for retailers and consumers alike.