Will shopping for apparel online be the new normal? The Covid-19 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on the world’s economy. Brick and mortar retail and adjacent businesses have been hit particularly hard. Even as we begin to reopen, the threat of spreading the virus has kept many people from heading back to the mall or their favorite stores to shop for clothes.
Shopping for apparel online is looking like a better option each day. Currently, a little less than 30% of all apparel shopping is done online. This number seems small to me, but I feel that percentage is poised to go up now that people are reluctant to head out to the shops. However, buying clothing online comes with its own set of challenges.
The number one challenge for me and certainly many others is finding the correct size. I’ve poured over countless product web pages in an attempt to decipher the code… “Should I go with medium or large? Let’s see…the model in the picture is 6’ 1” and wearing a medium. He’s 2 inches taller than me, but I’ve always ordered a large.” “Maybe I should try medium?” “Should I choose skinny, slim or straight fit jeans? Perhaps I should choose an athletic cut…I used to play sports.” It can be overwhelming! And you can forget relying on customer reviews.
What ultimately happens is you place the order and just return the items that are ill-fitting. Returning the item is not only a hassle for the consumer, but for the retailers as well. Returns cost retailers $60 billion + each year. Additionally, not all returned garments are able to be re-sold and frequently end up in the landfill.
There are a few tools available to help online shoppers solve the fit issue. Take Tailored’s automated garment measuring software “Capture” for example. Capture enables the online shopper to photograph a well-fitting garment from their own closet using a mobile device. Capture will automatically analyze and measure the garment in the photo. The shopper will then be able to select garments that most closely match the dimensions of the photographed item.
Tailored’s software will help the online shopper choose the correct size the very first time they make a purchase and eliminate a return due to poor fit.