Size Charts: A Bootless Errand for Apparel Brands

We discuss why the size chart has become a futile effort for apparel brands and shoppers alike.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting different results. In the case of online size charts, this definition has never been more relevant.

We've seen apparel brands continue to exhaust their time and effort creating and refining size charts, only for shoppers to encounter ongoing issues surrounding sizing and fit. The great tragedy here is that the size chart, by design, cannot provide shoppers with their best-fitting products. Yet, brands continue to grandfather them in because they've become somewhat of an "industry standard."

For brands operating in an industry defined by innovation and convenience (retail), size charts are the equivalent of using a horse and carriage for transportation in the 21st century. There are more efficient and advanced alternatives available.

The Problem With Size Charts

The fundamental issues surrounding size charts can be summarized in three parts:

Shopper quotes on size charts

Inconvenience: Even in their simplest form, size charts are not an easy tool for shoppers to use. They not only require shoppers to have a measuring tape on hand but also assume that shoppers are capable of sizing themselves up perfectly the first time. However, this is often not the case, as a recent study by WAIR revealed that only 50% of shoppers are confident in their ability to capture their own measurements. This lack of confidence in sizing results in shoppers taking a significant amount of time to ensure their captured measurements are accurate. This scenario increases their odds of becoming frustrated and simply guessing their size or abandoning the purchase altogether.

Inconsistency: It's a well-known fact that apparel brands employ different sizing strategies to align with their target market. While this plan makes sense from a brand standpoint, it results in significant inconsistencies in sizing for shoppers. A shopper's size in Nike apparel could be completely different than their size in Adidas, Puma, Under Armour, Patagonia; see where we're going with this? These inconsistencies have increased shopper apprehension about purchasing from unfamiliar brands, apprehension that can only be addressed through proper size communication. 

Incompetency: From a functionality standpoint, size charts are unfit to address the problems they claim to solve. Even modern-day size charts are still deeply-rooted in the past, where simple chest measurements were the determining factor brands relied on for sizing. The sheer number of body proportions to account for to ensure a perfect (or even adequate) fit could never truly be addressed by brand-specific sizing standards captured using archaic measurement tools. But don't just take our word for it. WAIR went to the source to discover what shopper sentiment around existing sizing methods was, and this is what they had to say

Why is Sizing Strategy a Low Priority With Brands?

While ready-to-wear apparel has been around since the 1800s, modern sizing strategy remains somewhat unexplored territory for most brands. As we saw with the recent Old Navy and Gap debacle, most brands have no factual data surrounding the body types of their shoppers and are forced to lean into guesswork when it comes to sizing strategy. Unable to contextualize decisions surrounding sizing, brands have remained hesitant to invest in this area of retail, despite the emergence and success of modern solutions.

In this respect, sizing strategy is not necessarily a low priority with brands, and shopper frustrations are certainly not falling on deaf ears. However, the general brand response to online sizing qualms has been free shipping and returns, which encourage overconsumption and ultimately serve as a half-measure to a much larger problem.

The Opportunities That Lie Within Modern Sizing Solutions

WAIR's solutions are technology's answer to the size chart

Apparel eCommerce is at a critical tipping point where technology is slowly (but surely) intertwining into the most crucial areas of the shopper's journey. As brands search for the holy grail solution to boost conversion rates, average order value, and reduce returns, it had not occurred to them that the answer was staring at them the entire time. That answer is modern sizing solutions.

Modern sizing solutions eliminate friction from the beginning of the shopper's journey while delivering the actionable body data insights that brands have struggled for years to obtain. How they work is simple; let's use WAIR as an example. 

Shoppers start by inputting their primary body data (height, weight, age, etc.) into WAIR's intake survey. WAIR's ai-driven sizing algorithms then filter their data through its exclusive database of over 2.75 million global body scans to locate the scan that best matches their unique body dimensions. After WAIR analyzes the shopper's body shape and determines their best-fitting size, the shopper is presented with their personalized size recommendation, guaranteed to fit them as the brand intended.  

On the backend, WAIR captures the shopper's body data and journey information and relays these insights into powerful dashboards. These dashboards reveal opportunities for brands to optimize other business units such as marketing, product design, inventory management, customer service, and more.

You may be asking yourself how this process directly affects performance metrics. When brands eliminate the need for shoppers to choose their sizes when shopping online (a process known as sizeless commerce), the resulting boost in shopper confidence is significant. This results in both new and existing shoppers converting at higher rates at increased average order values, as shown here by WAIR's brand partner, 7Diamonds.  

It's a rare scenario when an eCommerce tool offers brands this level of utility. Modern sizing solutions are the missing link connecting brands with the insights needed to rewrite the book on apparel sizing strategy. What we have here is an opportunity to enrich the eCommerce shopper experience while driving increased conversions, AOV, shopper confidence, and loyalty. 

Unlock Your Brand's Potential With Sizeless Commerce 

Our industry has evolved past the antiquated tools relied on by our forefathers (and mothers). To truly unlock the potential that lies within the world of apparel eCommerce, we must encourage innovation in areas where it has traditionally remained vacant. Join the movement that will shape the apparel industry's future, the movement for sizeless commerce.

Are you ready to unlock your brand's full potential with WAIR? Schedule a demo here, and be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook for all your fashion content needs!

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