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Gerber Jockeys for 3-D Fashion Tech Leadership with Avametric Acquisition

Nearly a year after it announced its initial partnership with Avametric, Gerber Technology said at its 20th annual conference that it’s purchasing the San Francisco fashion tech startup focused on bringing 3-D ideation into apparel product development and enhanced customer-facing fit visualization.

Gerber didn’t disclose the financial terms of the deal, which will provide unfettered access to Avametric’s advanced material simulation technology powered by special effects professionals from the film industry, including two Academy Award winners. Founded in 2016, Avametric raised $10.6 million before the acquisition.

As much as consumers enjoy the choice and convenience that online shopping afford, they still like the sensory aspect of browsing in a brick-and-mortar store where they can try on garments, confirm fit and evaluate quality and fabric hand, Avametric CEO Ari Bloom said in announcing the takeover.

“We believe a transformation is under way as consumers are adopting a virtual try-on experience that accurately portrays the fit they are looking for and our partnership with Gerber is helping us to bridge this confidence gap,” Bloom said. “Combined with the AccuMark suite and other Gerber products, we can now offer customers a personalized, on-demand shopping experience that significantly compresses the time to market.”

3-D investments are a hot area in an apparel industry in desperate need of digital transformation that will allow companies to more quickly meet rising customer expectations. Gerber said 60 percent of the customers it polled indicated plans to implement 3-D technologies into their business over the next 36 months as they aim to accelerate speed to market while trimming inefficient processes.

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Describing Avametric’s staff as “the best talent pool of scientists, designers and developers for 3-D,” Karsten Newbury, Gerber’s SVP and GM of software, said, “Our team and many of our customers have already recognized that Avametric has the best fabric simulation engine in the industry and now we are able to connect consumer-facing virtual try-on software with our AccuMark and YuniquePLM platforms to deliver an end-to-end workflow.”

Newbury said the tools will allow brands and retailers to provide their customers with personalized products “on demand.”

“The deal will also help us to continue to accelerate our 3D developments for our large user base globally—helping them to significantly increase speed and productivity of the creative and development process,” Newbury said.

Avametric offers an augmented reality fitting room iOS app for consumers, in addition to an API plug-in for e-commerce sites that lets shoppers virtually fit garments on a simulated model personalized to their body measurements—features that could prove instrumental to improving conversion rates and reducing returns. The startup’s technologies have already been implemented by fashion heavy hitters Gap Inc. and Ann Taylor.