[Interview] Deconstructing Denim Sizing With Oliver Logan
When most of us think of purchasing a new pair of denim jeans, images of ourselves wrestling with a measuring tape or spending hours in a cramped, poorly-lit fitting room immediately come to mind. This is mainly due to the fact that denim products, which often serve as timeless, everyday staples in one's wardrobe, are some of the most challenging garments to get sizing right with, especially for online shoppers.
But this doesn't mean shoppers have to give up online denim shopping cold turkey. As future-forward brands like Oliver Logan continue to ditch the size charts for eCommerce sizing tools, shoppers across the globe are steadily gaining access to the tools that will help them effortlessly find their best-fitting products online.
In this interview, we discuss what makes denim sizing notoriously difficult, how this has affected shopper purchasing behaviors, and the solutions that are helping online shoppers purchase their best-fitting products with our guest and brand partner, Oliver Logan!
Let Us Briefly Introduce Our Guest
Oliver Logan is a Los Angeles-based, sustainable apparel brand specializing in ethically-made women's denim products. Since its inception, Oliver Logan has tailored its business practices to prioritize the environment, transparency, and social justice every step of the way. Their meticulously crafted supply chain has empowered them to deliver the timeless classics their shoppers know and love at little to no cost to the environment, positioning them as one of the leading brands in sustainable denim.
While it's no secret that the apparel industry has a sizing problem, what makes denim unique amongst the plethora of other garments that also suffer from this issue?
OL: When it comes to designing and manufacturing a pair of denim jeans, there are different fits, fabrics, and points of measure to consider, all of which increase the complexity surrounding sizing. For instance, if you take the same skinny jean in the same size, but one is rigid, and the other has a hint of stretch, you will have two completely different points of measure–even though they are the same size and fit. In addition, you also have to consider different body types, height, weight distribution, and customer preference, all of which make denim products the most subjective fitting garments out there.
When it comes to denim products, it can be increasingly difficult to get shoppers to follow brand guidelines on sizing, fit, and how a garment should be worn. What methods is your team using to instill confidence in your size and fit recommendations?
OL: We add cohesive details like inseam, stretchability, and purposed fit to each image on our site. We also offer a "how to measure" guide and show our denim on several different body types. Once they have a clear vision of how the garment will fit them, we encourage them to use WAIR, which helps them find their best-fitting size after answering a few questions about their body type and denim preferences. Combining these methods makes our size selection process simple, easy, and effective.
In a recent survey of over 2,000 female shoppers, 46% of respondents said denim is the most challenging item to buy. When purchasing a pair of jeans becomes such a daunting and seemingly impossible task, what effect does that have on the shopper?
OL: The most common response we see from shoppers is bracketing sizes (buying multiple sizes of the same style), even when purchasing from a brand they have prior experience with. While we don't encourage bracketing for environmental reasons, we understand why that eases customers' concerns about purchasing the right jeans in the right size.
Retailers like Levis have previously embraced real-time body scan technology to solve the denim sizing debacle. Why did you choose WAIR over their method?
OL: Before choosing WAIR, we tested several body scan technologies and found them either cumbersome, cost-prohibitive, or both. Additionally, the body scan takes the user off our site, whereas WAIR does not. We found WAIR's user experience to be much more enjoyable and straightforward while still providing the accurate size recommendations our shoppers are looking for.
How has WAIR's eCommerce sizing tool helped Oliver Logan move close to achieving its goals for 2022?
OL: Our customers who have engaged with WAIR are converting at a rate that is five times that of our customers who are not. We are also seeing consistent feedback from WAIR shoppers that the jeans they buy fit perfectly on their first order, which gets us closer to reducing bracketing, exchanges, and returns. Having the ability to drive conversions without a corresponding increase in environmentally harmful returns is a beautiful thing.
Because denim products are some of the most subjective-fitting garments in existence, finding one's best-fitting size in them is a daunting process, especially online. Despite apparel brands' use of size charts and fit guides, online shoppers continue to resort to bracketing and other defensive shopping methods to ensure they purchase the best-fitting size the first time. Rather than relying on sizing methods that cause buyer friction and do not instill confidence, Oliver Logan chose to embrace sizeless commerce via WAIR, and the results speak for themselves. With sizeless commerce, Oliver Logan can focus on its core mission to "use denim as a force for good" without worrying about sizing inconsistencies and their impact on environmentally harmful returns.
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