Earlier in the week, it was reported that retail giant, Marks & Spencer will be investing in 3D body scanners in a bold move to put their customers at the heart of the shopping experience. The 3D body scanners will create digital avatars of themselves, making it much easier to select and buy clothes in the right sizes. As well as improving customer experience, it’s also hoped that this will help to reduce the rising number of returns, which is having a huge knock-on effect on the environment due to the “parcel miles.”

This topic was debated by no other than Jeremy Vine on his popular Channel 5 panel show on Monday 2 December… Some interesting views here and, to be honest, not all of them were up to date and accurate.

Through no fault of their own, they quickly began linking the M&S story to full-body airport scanners, with one panellist calling the process “very invasive”. Jeremy himself said he worried about “perverts operating the scanners” and talked about the uncomfortable feeling he got when going through airport security! It all got a bit negative…

According to Gatwick Airport, its scanners work by bouncing millimetre waves off an individual’s skin to indicate possible threat areas on a `gingerbread man’ image. The security officer uses this information to determine if a physical search is required. So, the next time you wonder whether the airport security team is having a closer look at your body in all its glory, the good news is, they’re not!

For those looking to use 3D body scanning to track changes to their body in response to health and fitness programmes, the question of “What can it see?” is also their main concern. In fact, when we tweeted Jeremy to offer him a demo of Styku and explain how 3D body scanning works, another Twitter user asked if we’d see his dangly bits! Luckily for Jeremy (and all users), the answer is no, and here’s why…

Similar to an airport scanner, Styku’s camera uses non-harmful, non-penetrating infrared rays and pioneering artificial intelligence (AI) software to capture millions of data points from the surface of the body to replicate a person in 3D. So, while you can see the shape and outline of your body (including any clothing you have on), your privates will remain private!

The other question we’re frequently asked is, do I have to get naked for a Styku scan? Again, the answer’s no! The best thing to wear is underwear but, obviously, this might not be appropriate for some people, so we advise wearing form-fitting clothing/workout wear, which will still provide accurate readings. Styku even has a self-service kiosk mode which allows you to scan yourself if you feel more comfortable doing it that way. From a professional’s perspective, this means you can cater for all types of customers.

From fashion retailers to fitness clubs, customer experiences and the relationships between companies and consumers have changed considerably over recent years. In short, people are demanding more of brands, and brands are having to find new ways to meet their expectations. As this evolution continues in 2020 – largely fuelled by technological progress, including AI – M&S has recognised an opportunity to use 3D body scanning to enhance its end-to-end customer experience to keep them coming back for more.

When applied to a gym or health club setting, 3D body scanning operates in much the same way. Far from being invasive, a 3D body scanner is a tool which can empower the member and help the health or fitness professional to deliver a much more personalised service by having a true, no-hiding, visual representation of that person’s body to use for accurate goal setting and tracking over time.

Hopefully, now you can see that 3D body scanning is far from invasive. When performed correctly, it’s a safe, precise, consistent and unobtrusive way to accurately predict a whole range of body metrics that can have an extremely positive effect on customer experience, whether at the gym or in an M&S store; an initiative that can help to create higher numbers of happy, loyal and returning customers. A goal we all share.

To find out how the Styku 3D body scanner could start benefitting your business, we’d love to hear from you. Contact tracy.morrell@react-fitness.com or phone +44(0)20 7272 0770.

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