I am not a shopper.
I don’t enjoy trying on 30 different items of clothing to find three that fit and I especially dislike how much time it takes out of my already over booked schedule.
So when I stumbled upon a Twitter mention about Me-Ality (measured reality) last week, I was intrigued.
The company offers a free (to consumers) service that in less than a minute can match your specific body measurements with a variety of clothing apparel brands in Me-Ality’s database.
When I went to the company’s website I saw that they had machines in shopping malls in 20 American states and were rapidly growing.
But they don’t have any machines in Canadian malls. Yet.
All was not lost, because Me-Ality is actually based in the Burnside Industrial Park and their Me-Ality Size Matching Station is open to the public on Thursdays.
I contacted company spokeswoman Kathleen Funke and we set up an appointment.
Upon my arrival, she shows me the machine and asks me to step into it fully clothed. I line my feet up with two green strips on the floor and put my hands on my hips as requested. A scanning ‘wand’ rotated around me while I stood still and within less than 30 seconds I was stepping out of the machine.
Funke takes a barcode with my name on it, scans it, and a list of options appears on her computer screen. The exact style of jeans from several retailers that will best fit my body, sweaters, skirts, dresses, pants, shirts. All with the appropriate sizes for me specifically, which vary widely from retailer to retailer.
I get a paper print out, and my ‘shopping list’ is emailed to me personally so I can check out my options any time I want from the comfort of my own home. In store and online shopping will be a whole new experience.
“The response is phenomenal. It gives people permission to shop at places they’ve never shopped before,” said Me-Ality’s vice president Judi Richardson.
Shoppers love it because it takes all the guesswork out of sizing, malls love it because it provides an ‘audience experience,’ and participating retailers love it because it brings in clients who purchase more than they initially intended because what’s on their list fits them.
Richardson said she has heard many heartwarming stories from Me-Ality customers.
“A young women who was very large sized hated shopping... She was able to walk into a store and come out with hundreds of dollars of things (that fit) and walked over and hugged our employees,” she said.
“It’s like having your own personal shopper.”
Retailers whose clothing apparel is included in the Me-Ality database pay a small fee for the service, so customers enjoy the experience free of charge.
Richardson said they’re now in discussions with Canadian malls and expect the business to rapidly expand beyond the borders of the US and Canada.
The company is currently working with Virgin Atlantic in the UK to help ensure their airline staff have properly fitting uniforms.
On Black Friday, Me-Ality scanned (size-matched) more than 400 people in one US mall alone.
Richardson’s vision for the future is that in five years, their retail application Me-Ality will be a key part of everyone’s shopping experience.
“Globally your MeID can be used by mobile phones to improve your shopping experience. When visiting the mall everyone stops to print off a shopping recommendation each time to see what fits best,” she said.
“Online – consumers shop with confidence as they have everyone’s sizes at their fingertips. Our technology has virtually eliminated the traditional fitting rooms and long lineups, drastically reducing expensive inventory and return issues for retailers!”
Anyone interested in getting sized up in the Me-Ality machine during business hours on Thursday can call 492-0100.