An illustrated female shopper standing in her living room while shopping for clothing online

What is Shopper Sentiment on Size Charts?

eCommerce apparel brands have relied on size charts for decades, but are your shoppers satisfied with these sizing methods?

It's no secret that sizing remains a persistent issue within the apparel industry. Past attempts at establishing universal sizing standards have failed spectacularly, and trends like vanity sizing forever warped the relationship between sizing and fit. Size charts have been the go-to solution for eCommerce apparel brands for decades, but while these have become the accepted "standard," have brands ever stopped to think about how useful size charts genuinely are?

How Did We Arrive at Existing Sizing Methods?

Shoppers struggling to get clothing to fit that was purchased online using size charts

The history of apparel sizing is defined by a constant struggle between conformity and individuality. Time and again, brands and government entities alike tried to establish a cogent and reliable universal sizing standard for ready-to-wear clothing. But, the ever-changing bodies of shoppers refused to conform to these standards for any meaningful amount of time.

Eventually (after numerous failed studies and growing shopper frustration), universal sizing standards were abandoned, and sizing was brought entirely in-house as brands shaped their sizing strategy around the body shape of their ideal shopper.

The problem with the lack of a universal sizing standard is that brands cannot agree on which sizes should fit which body types. The infamous UK jeans photo tells the whole story; inconsistencies in sizing between brands are a genuine issue that shoppers face every time they purchase apparel. This issue becomes even more troubling with the recent rise of eCommerce; shoppers that lack a physical fitting room are often left to the mercy of inconsistent sizing charts and model dimensions, leading to defensive shopping methods like size sampling.

Although sizing has been an ongoing issue within the world of apparel, we continue to see apparel brands, both new and established, grandfather in size charts and fit guides, but what do eCommerce shoppers think about their use of these methods?

Shopper Sentiment on Size Charts 

A confused shopper attempting to size themselves using size charts

To gauge sentiment around legacy sizing methods and gain insight into overall shopper behavior, WAIR conducted a survey amongst eCommerce apparel shoppers and what we found was quite interesting.

When asked whether size charts were helpful when selecting their size online, 65% of respondents stated that size charts were inaccurate, while 15% said they were too confusing to use. Results from our follow-up question regarding brand sizing consistency were equally troublesome, with nearly 50% of our respondents claiming that brands were not consistent with sizing across products. 

This pessimistic shopper sentiment surrounding eCommerce sizing methods combined with outlandishly high return rates for apparel tells the whole story of the current state of sizing; existing methods aren't working. While brands have attempted to refine sizing methods from within, a common issue is that brands lack the clarity on shopper body dimensions needed to deliver a seamless and accurate sizing experience wholly in-house.

Market Forces are Shifting Towards Modern Sizing Solutions

An adult man swinging a golf club and wearing Linksoul clothing purchased using WAIR rather than a size chart

As the apparel industry moves into a new digital frontier, interest surrounding modern sizing solutions has continued to grow as brands look to take the sizing burden off the shoulders of their shoppers. Virtual fitting rooms, sizing consultations, and VR / AR experiences are just a few methods brands are using to shift away from size charts and gain much-needed clarity on the body dimensions of their shoppers.

One example of a modern sizing success story is Linksoul. After entering the world of fashion eCommerce, Linksoul experienced high-volume growth in a very short amount of time. As their shopper base expanded, Linksoul knew that the possibility of increased returns came with increased conversions. They needed a solution that would help easily convey sizing to avoid this scenario.

Their solution? Linksoul partnered with WAIR to redefine its sizing strategy through sizeless commerce. WAIR not only helped deliver body data insights to Linksoul's team, helping them further understand their shopper base, but also enabled frictionless size recommendations that follow shoppers on every product they browse.

This ultimately helped Linksoul create a frictionless and personalized shopping experience.

The results? Not only did WAIR reduce size-related return rates by 19%, but the shopper body data collected through our solution also proved vital in helping Linksoul understand the body dimensions of their shoppers. Linksoul continues to leverage these body data insights to shape and perfect its eCommerce and sizing strategies.                                                                               

Embracing the Winds of Change

It's become increasingly apparent that the era of size charts is coming to an end, as both shopper and brand interest surrounding modern sizing solutions continues to grow. While shifting to an entirely different sizing method may seem like a daunting and risky move, the benefits of modern sizing solutions are not to be ignored. Complacency during a time when groundbreaking technology is actively integrating itself into one's industry is a potentially costly move, don't get left in the digital dust; join the movement towards sizeless commerce today!

Eager to learn how WAIR can transform your eCommerce brand through sizing? 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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