In 2018 just 27% of all clothing purchased was done so online. With the majority of clothing still purchased in physical stores, we know there is a definite correlation between apparel and people’s willingness to buy before trying-on. Online retailers continue to experiment with ways to make consumers feel confident they’re buying the best fitting item, I use the word experiment because within the world of fashion, getting the right garment is no exact science. Advances in technology and machine learning are allowing for improvements in this area and as the old adage goes, an informed consumer is a happy consumer. We’re seeing a new trend which is showing promise, retailers providing the physical measurements of the garments listed for sale online.
Why would viewing the measurements of a garment for sale be valuable to shoppers? For comparison purposes of course, and why not, we use measurements to guide us through most other purchases (think eye glasses, hats, jewelry, appliances, furniture). This can be especially true if one is shopping a brand they’ve never purchased before or if they’re shopping vintage apparel. The largest internet-based clothing re-seller in the US recently conducted an internal study where for three months they did not provide the physical measurements of clothing items listed for sale. The response from consumers? Extreme backlash.
The reason retailers haven’t supplied clothing measurements online in the past is because it’s a difficult task. Every garment type has its own nuanced measurements and even within a garment style, measurements can vary slightly due to material color and tolerances in the construction. Not to mention measuring clothing by hand is extremely laborious. All that being true, retailers see a lift in sales when garment measurements are supplied.
The success rate at which consumers are able to purchase a garment online they won’t return is slowly improving because of improvements to the information provided and the tools at their disposal. We hope this trend continues along with the increased willingness of retailers to display clothing measurements online.