The outdoors company is using sensing fabrics to understand when, how and why their customers use its products

It can be hard for brands to truly understand how their customers are using a product after they take it home, especially for non-tech items such as clothing. Outdoor apparel company L.L. Bean is looking to collect more insights by putting sensors into their products. As part of a blockchain venture, the brand will try putting smart textiles in their jackets and boots to track when the product is used and how its being taken care of.

Sensors will be integrated into the clothes using sheets of flexible circuitry and a small hardware device that uses near-field communication signals. The system is created by Loomia, a Brooklyn-based technology company. Data is stored using the public Ethereum blockchain platform, where L.L. Bean can see if customers are using the products as predicted, or if there are any gaps they can fill with better products. Chad Leeder, innovation specialist at L.L. Bean, told The Wall Street Journal that the data will then be used for new product designs, supplier negotiations and the brand’s marketing strategy. The group will not, however, be collecting private information like geographical location, and the data will be encrypted.

The Loomia Electronic Layer. Photo: Loomia

The data will be processed through an app, so those looking to take part in this new data experiment can read the fine print for themselves when they download it. Despite the built-in security of blockchain, L.L. Bean will have to wait and see how many of its customers will be comfortable with using a jacket that gathers information.

L.L. Bean | Loomia


Lead Image: Anna Chernichko | CC | Image cropped

It can be hard for brands to truly understand how their customers are using a product after they take it home, especially for non-tech items such as clothing. Outdoor apparel company L.L. Bean is looking to collect more insights by putting sensors into their products. As part of a blockchain venture, the brand will try putting smart textiles in their jackets and boots to track when the product is used and how its being taken care of.

Sensors will be integrated into the clothes using sheets of flexible circuitry and a small hardware device that uses near-field communication signals. The system is created by Loomia, a Brooklyn-based technology company. Data is stored using the public Ethereum blockchain platform, where L.L. Bean can see if customers are using the products as predicted, or if there are any gaps they can fill with better products. Chad Leeder, innovation specialist at L.L. Bean, told The Wall Street Journal that the data will then be used for new product designs, supplier negotiations and the brand’s marketing strategy. The group will not, however, be collecting private information like geographical location, and the data will be encrypted.