It’s no secret that retailers take significant hits when customers return merchandise. Depending on the products they sell, many retailers can’t duck these financial blows. The good news is that clothing retailers have something they can do to significantly reduce return rates.
Nearly 70% of clothing returns are fit-related and cause a $3-$12 loss to retailers. The amount of the loss depends on how long the customer takes to return it, price reductions, condition of returned merchandise and inventory. “Total merchandise returns account for more than $351 billion in lost sales for US retailers. This excruciating amount rivals the estimated 2017 federal budget deficit of $400+ billion.” 1
“The surge in digital shopping is only compounding the pain, given that record online sales mean record online returns. It’s common to see return rates of 30 percent or more for merchandise that’s bought online. Clothing returns can be closer to 40 percent.” 2 Add the cost of free shipping and free returns without a sale and the losses become agonizing.
Not to mention that “80% of first-time customers that experience a return actually never shop that website again3,” compounding your woes with loss of loyalty.
Okay, enough with the stats, let’s get empathic. How many garments did you try-on last time you shopped for clothes in a brick and mortar store? How about online? Did you get frustrated after 10-20 tries? Did you blame yourself because you didn’t go to the gym last week or because you had that extra beer? It’s not just about the time sink we experience when sifting through the sea of clothes…it’s the emotional and psychological price tag of the perceived fail – especially for women.
Let’s disrupt all of the above starting with the shopping experience for women by offering them a system that helps them shop for their shape before their size. Using this system will decrease return rates and increase brand loyalty.
The system is called The Style Dial ®. It is a technology that defines a women’s body type and influences the purchase of wardrobe pieces that align with the figure first, followed by style and size. Current industry-leading algorithms designed by companies like TrueFit and Stitch Fix are limited to size chart comparison, style preferences, and non-comparable shape data points. Just because it measures to fit and aligns with style preferences doesn’t mean the item is right for the purchaser. These two data points are 2/3rds of the total purchase success equation. What makes the selection right is the product shape relative to the shape of the purchaser.
Women ages 30-60+ make 68%-76% of clothing purchases. 4 Let them have their fit and in turn, they’ll let retailers enjoy their loyalty and their profits. Now everyone’s happy!
Signed, “Your Allies in Fashion”,
Amy Wister, Founder, The Stylist Online
Maria Celia Garcia, Founder, Fashion Grove
1 Appriss® Retail, “2017 Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry” 12/2017, 2 cnbc.com, Courtney Reagan, “A $260 billion ‘ticking time bomb’: The costly business of retail returns” 12/16/2016, 3 quora.com, Alexander Broom-Roden, Marketing Co-Ordinator at TSB Supply Chain,“What is the average return rate for apparel online, and what are best practices to avoid returns?,” response May 28, 2014, 4 adage.com, Advertising Age, “The New Female Consumer: The Rise of the Real Mom,” white paper, page 17