Returns are responsible for billions in lost sales worldwide each year, and chief among the issues consumers site as to why they return are ill-fitting shoes and clothing.
The company is hoping to curtail returns with a system that would make sizing recommendations to customers based on a reference item. Amazon would determine similar sizing by taking internal measurements of its products, creating a database of 3D models which would be used to help customers find shoes with a similar fit.
An outline of one of the shoe measuring devices, found in a recent patent application filed by Amazon, looks a bit like a shoe-horn, and can record “toe-box width, toe-box height, girth, internal length and other related dimensions.”
The patent is nearly identical to one filed in 2012 by ShoeFitr, the Pittsburgh-based sizing technology start-up that Amazon quietly purchased last year. Both ShoeFitr’s original patent and Amazon’s apparent continuation of it state that the technology can also be extended for use in a variety of apparel items, including “jeans, pants, shirts, bras, hats and headwear, handbags.”