A frustrated female shopper trying to purchase clothing online using a laptop

Finding the Best-Fitting Apparel Is a Taxing Process For Shoppers

The eCommerce sizing journey is far more complex than you may think. Here are the steps involved in finding the best-fitting apparel online.

When most of us go to our local clothing store to buy our next summer outfit, we never think to bring a measuring tape; why would we? We'll know if the clothes fit right when we try them on, simple. Unfortunately, purchasing the best-fitting apparel is a much more complex and involved process for eCommerce shoppers.

Whether it be convenience, geolocation, or product availability, there are a plethora of reasons why shopper preferences have shifted toward eCommerce in recent years. Brands have tried to accommodate by delivering seamless and enjoyable online experiences to their shoppers through services like free returns and one-click checkouts. However, there are still lingering friction points within the eCommerce shopper's journey that actively hinder the potential of brands across all industries.

Apparel sizing remains one of the most significant friction points today as the number of steps online shoppers must take just for the chance of ordering their best-fitting apparel is substantial. Take a look into the intricacies surrounding the eCommerce sizing journey and why legacy sizing tools cause significant friction for apparel buyers.

The Sizing Journey Can Be Divided Into These Stages

The journey shoppers have to take to find their best-fitting apparel
Quick note: GIF is on a 22 second delay time

Stage 1 - Discovery

When a shopper lands on a product display page and is ready to convert, the first action they will take is discovering what size they are. To begin this process, the shopper must first scan the PDP and locate the brand's sizing tools, such as a traditional size chart, fit guide, sizing solution, etc. During this stage, the shopper will likely be faced with two separate scenarios:

  • Scenario 1 - The brand uses a legacy sizing tool (size chart, fit guide, etc.), and the shopper is presented with a chart that details which specific measurements correlate with the sizes offered for the garment in question.
  • Scenario 2 - The brand uses a modern sizing solution (like WAIR), and the shopper begins their journey by reviewing the tool's fit recommendation process.

With modern sizing solutions, the shopper's journey both begins and ends here. The fit recommendation process takes less than 30 seconds (on average) and requires only first-hand knowledge of the shopper's body measurements, eliminating the need for a measuring tape. In essence, modern sizing solutions are the equivalent of Amazon's one-click checkout feature, creating simple, easy, low-touch experiences that drive conversions.

Assuming that the shopper was faced with scenario 1 (where they were asked to take their measurements and consult a size chart), this is how the typical sizing journey would resume.

Stage 2 - Measurement Collection

Moving into the measurement collection stage, the first question the shopper would have to ask themself is whether they had a measuring tape on hand to take their measurements. If yes, they would proceed to capture their measurements to the best of their abilities.

If they do not have a measuring tape on hand, the shopper will either abandon the purchase, guess their size, or purchase multiple sizes of the same product (also known as bracketing or size sampling). The product's price and the brand's return policy play a significant role in the shopper's direction at this stage.

Assuming the shopper had a measuring tape on hand, they would move on to the next stage, determining their confidence in their captured measurements.

Stage 3 - Confidence Test A

If the shopper is confident in their captured measurements, they will proceed to order their mapped size based on the brand's size chart. A scenario where the shopper has absolute confidence in their captured measurements is rare, but if the shopper has a relatively high degree of trust in their abilities and the brand's return policy is favorable, their likelihood of converting increases significantly.

However, if the shopper remains unconvinced that their measurements are accurate, they will seek additional information to confirm their choice. This is a path frequently taken by shoppers as (according to a study by WAIR) only 50% are confident in their ability to purchase their best-fitting apparel using legacy sizing tools.

Stage 4 - Personal Research

When a shopper remains doubtful about their personally captured measurements, they are highly likely to consult the product's reviews for additional size guidance. Because reviews are derived from an unbiased source, and shoppers trust each other much more than the brand itself, the majority of shoppers consider this information reliable when purchasing online.

But conducting personal research through reviews is far more difficult than simply clicking a link to a reviews page. The shopper must find reviews from people who possess a similar body type for this method to have any significance or utility. This process can be time-consuming and overly cumbersome to the shopper who has already invested a significant amount of time into capturing their measurements.

Stage 5 - Final Decision

At long last, we've reached the end of the shopper sizing journey, but we aren't out of the woods quite yet. Now that the shopper has done everything in their power to find their best-fitting apparel, they must determine (one last time) whether or not they are confident enough to convert.

If the shopper determines the additional research backs up their self-captured measurements, they will ultimately make the purchase. But if the shopper remains unconvinced, they will either forgo the purchase entirely, guess their size, or order several different sizes of the same product.

If the shopper has come this far in the journey and remains unsure which size will fit them best, this becomes a significant problem for the brand in question. At this point, the shopper has potentially spent hours of their own time researching something that could have been clearly communicated from the beginning of their journey. Additionally, if the shopper converts and is forced to undergo a return due to size confusion, their likelihood of returning to the brand again is slim to none.

How Can Apparel Brands Streamline the Sizing Journey?

WAIR's sizing solution in action
WAIR's sizing solution

Some of the most enticing aspects of eCommerce are convenience and availability, but those benefits are only as good as a brand's ability to deliver them. While it can be tempting to overlook the importance of one's eCommerce sizing strategy, placing the sizing burden onto shoppers can have detrimental results across all areas of one's business. The antiquated sizing tools of old will never be able to meet the exacting standards of the modern eCommerce shopper, but there are solutions available that can.

In recent years, modern technology has intertwined itself with eCommerce sizing strategy, resulting in the emergence of AI-driven solutions that eliminate shopper friction and confusion on sizing and fit. WAIR, a modern sizing solution built atop the world's largest database of 3D body scans, is a perfect example of how modern technology is poised to redefine the eCommerce landscape. With WAIR, brands can provide their shoppers with personalized fit recommendations at scale, eliminating the need for shoppers to measure themselves in their journey to find their best-fitting apparel online.

The benefits don't stop there. WAIR also captures shopper body data during the sizing process, providing brands with insights into the body types of their customer base. These insights singlehandedly shape eCommerce strategy and reveal optimization opportunities across all business units. WAIR's elimination of sizing friction and significant reduction of touchpoints during the shopper's journey results in a 22% average increase in conversion rates from new shoppers and a 13% average increase in average order value.

Less is More When Searching For the Best-Fitting Apparel

When it comes to the apparel sizing journey, the saying, "Less is more." has never been more relevant. There's a reason Amazon's 1-click purchase model has become so popular; shoppers demand a streamlined experience when shopping online regardless of brand or product category. Don't hinder your potential with antiquated sizing tools; give your shoppers the experiences they crave today with WAIR.

Interested in learning more about WAIR? Schedule a demo here and be sure to follow us on TwitterInstagram , LinkedIn, and Facebook for all your fashion content needs!

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