Adidas takes the sweat out of sweater shopping with in-store machine

Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:06pm EDT
 
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By Emma Thomasson

BERLIN (Reuters) - Adidas has been testing a store where shoppers can design a sweater, have a body scan to determine fit and get it knitted by a state-of-the-art machine within hours, as the German company looks at ways to respond more quickly to customer demands.

The sportswear group is working on several initiatives to cut the time it takes to get new designs to stores from the 12 to 18 months now standard in the sneaker industry, including opening factories mainly operated by robots in Germany and the United States.

It hopes the drive will help it adjust better to fickle fashion trends, allowing it to sell more products at full price as it seeks to meet a new goal to bring its operating profit margin closer to rival Nike's by 2020.

At a pop-up Adidas store in a mall in Berlin, customers designed their own merino wool sweaters for 200 euros ($215) each and then had them knitted in the store, finished by hand, washed and dried, all within four hours.

Shoppers first entered a darkened room where swirling camouflage and spider web patterns were projected onto their chests, with options to shift the light using hand gestures picked up by sensors, like in an interactive video game.

Dozens of possible options were recorded and the customers picked their favorite ones on a computer screen, where they could also experiment with different color combinations.

Customers chose standard sizes or stripped down to their underwear for laser body scans. Then the personalized pattern was sent to an industrial knitting machines in the store.

"It is very individual. It is like knitting your own sweater," said Christina Sharif, adding she ordered shorter arms on her electric blue sweater than the standard model.   Continued...

 
A staff member uses a laser body scanner to measure a customer's size before the individual knitting of a sweater at the Adidas Knit for You store in Berlin, Germany March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch