Virtual Fitting Rooms Solve the Online Fashion Industry’s Returns Problem

One of the online fashion industries problem zones is the rate of returns. Doesn’t fit, don’t like it, looks different from the picture – in order to save time and nerves, and to raise the hit rate, customers often order the same piece of clothing in multiple sizes. The rest is then sent back, or even all of it, if it isn’t liked. No one wins here, it costs the retailers and the extra effort does not make the customer happy. Zalando is the most obvious example of the problem of returns.

In the past, the mail order business had already heightened the attractiveness of their online shop through customer service, better descriptions, photos, and sometime also with videos and customer reviews. However, this didn’t do much about the basic problem.

A veritable competition has broken out over the past few years, as to who will finally take the problem by the horns and find the most elegant solution. The basic idea is to take the client’s individual body mass into account, so that they can find the best fitting outfit, without having to guess how it will look and what size is the right one for them.

Different approaches to virtual fitting rooms

A veritable competition has broken out over the past few years, as to who will finally take the problem by the horns and find the most elegant solution. The basic idea is to take the client’s individual body mass into account, so that they can find the best fitting outfit, without having to guess how it will look and what size is the right one for them.

Shoefitr Screenshot

Its starts with configurations, such as »Jeans Finder from Macy’s« , where you can browse by style and occasion as well as size. The shoe app »Shoefitr« is orientated around shoe models the customer already owns and which fit well. With the measurements of the reference shoe, the app suggests shoes with similar measurements. Online soccer retailer SoccerPro.com has already successfully deployed Shoefitr . The Californians have gone into even more detail with >>Fitiquette<

The perfect portrayal through body measuring

Berlin company Upcload offers a technology, with which the body is measured via webcam. The measurements are saved and are usable in all participating shops.They are the basis for which sizes are displayed in these shops. Manual size selection is passé; they should only have to be changed if the body shape changes significantly. Otto.de has been testing Upcload’s technology since August 2012 with the young fashion brand >>Melrose<<.

Virtuelle Anprobe bei UPcload
Do it Yourself – body measuring with UPcload

Alongside measuring methods, customers can receive suggestions based on questions about their build and size, although these cannot be so exact.

The evolution of virtual fitting: from the digital dress-ups doll to the personalised fitting room

H&M have offered the possibility to view clothes from all sides and put together outfits in a virtual fitting room since 2008. Through the input of body mass, via the technology of Fitiquette for example, this attractive function could be transformed into an infallible sizing adviser.

Fitting measurement vs. the bare truth

The jury is still out as to what is received better by the customer: exact recommendations thanks to body measuring or uncomplicated inputting of characteristics/existing favourites.

The prospect of seeing your own figure in 3D could be more forbidding than inviting. It is questionable how many people want to have problem zones explicitly marked via thermal imagining, as is possible with the technology from Styku via Kinect.

The topic data security could also trigger concerns. This suggests that methods which don’t involve measurement will take the lead for the time being.

Conclusion

Clearly, customer expectations are rising when it comes to service and sizing. The online shopper of the future wants to know how the clothes sit and what they go with before they place their order. In the fashion industry, it won’t just be about range, look and usability, but above all, about where the customer gets the best fitting fashion and which sizing methods suite them best.

The shopping experience is in the foreground with style and sizing consultation being part of that. Shops not offering any of the services relating to these could soon lose out.

This excerpt on customer orientation was taken from our trend compass Handelskraft 2013, which can be downloaded free of charge from our website (language format: German only). The trend book is also available in high quality print format. Those interested in >>Handelskraft 2014<< or in further information and advice are welcome to contact us!.

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