Last week Amazon announced the Echo Look. They're calling it a "handsfree camera and style assistant." It has all the abilities of an Amazon Echo but it also uses machine learning and advice from fashion specialists to give you outfit suggestions.
A new patent suggests that the Echo Look is just the beginning of Amazon's transition into the world of fashion. Right now, the e-commerce company sells the Amazon Essentials brand but they have plans to become a custom clothing manufacturer too.
The patent is for an on-demand apparel manufacturing system. It will fill online orders for clothing, accessories and linens. Customers will place orders online, probably through an app, and Amazon will produce and ship the clothing.
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The patent schematics show the factory and The New York Times gave details on the process: One machine prints the pattern on the fabric and the next machine cuts out the pattern while a camera analyzes it to check for mistakes. Then a robotic arm will place the cutouts onto the conveyor belt, which leads to the sewing station. A machine or attendant will stitch the cutouts together. Lastly, there’s a quality control station before the finished product is packed and shipped.
Even with free return policies, many shoppers are still wary of buying clothes online because it's a hassle when items don't fit. A source told The New York Times that Amazon might combat this issue with custom-fit clothing that is based specifically on the customer's measurements. The source said that Amazon has a camera and scanning software that can determine a customer's measurements.
Amazon declined to comment on whether or not this camera and software will be incorporated into the Echo Look. If so, not only would Amazon have a styling component, but it would also be the brand, the tailor, the seamstress and the retailer.
Whoa, talk about taking over! This could be a turning point for online clothing and traditional retailers like Macy's could suffer. So far, Amazon has done a great job of competing with the big dogs. Amazon Prime perks challenge Walmart and Amazon Video challenges Netflix. Don't even get me started on Alexa, she's everywhere!