In recent years, a frictionless retail experience has become increasingly important for retailers and shoppers alike, especially with the growth in online shopping and the adoption of technological innovations to enhance and abet both the in-store and online sales experience.  

A recent feature on Retail Info Systems stated the importance of retailers needing to continue to invest in technology that addresses shoppers’ needs. According to its author, Pat Glennon, VP of North America Enterprise Sales at Zebra Technologies, “Digitalization has wet the appetite for an impeccable customer journey, and the online experience continues to increase the desire for in-store interactions. These changing demands are pushing retailers to better harness smart technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) to make shopping a personal and engaging experience, for both the shopper and store associate.”

HOW FIT TECH FITS IN

Fit affects customer loyalty and conversions, for e-commerce brands, the integration of fit technology can be a game-changer. Think about it—if frictionless shopping means eliminating anything that negatively impacts the shopping experience or doesn’t add value. One of the main reasons shoppers abandon carts or hesitate to actually purchase, is a misunderstanding of fit.

Up to 76% of clothing returns are fit-related, what it doesn’t account for is how many items would have been purchased if the fit was not in question. Currently, solutions to resolving this issue do not provide a seamless experience for shoppers.  Standard size charts don’t address the huge variation in sizing between brands. Self-measurement is often time-consuming and prone to inaccuracies. Body scanners and virtual fitting rooms are not scalable due to their high friction experience, bulkiness and costs. Whilst the former can be highly accurate and the latter offers a novel solution to addressing the question of ‘How would it look on me’ for online shoppers, the tedious process of having to take awkward selfies or travel to specific stores to use the body scanner means that few retailers or customers see it as a widespread solution to sizing.

For fit technology to enhance frictionless retail, it needs to be easy to integrate, flexible and smart.   

  • Easy to integrate and easy to implement – According to Zebra Technologies 11th Global Shopper Study, 83% of retail decision makers and 74% of associates agreed that shoppers can have a better experience with technology-equipped sales associates, with tablets being the top tool to enable in-store sales staff.  
  • Smart –  Smart experiences are thoughtful experiences that anticipate the needs of the shopper. These experiences take into account, not just individual garment data, but also individual shopper preference, and contextualize it. Bold Metrics Smart Size Chart, for example, takes into consideration a shopper’s unique fit preferences and makes size recommendations based on how they might like their clothes to fit.
  • Flexible – Flexibility refers to an experience being applicable for both online and in-store by equipping the sales staff with knowledge (data-backed insights). Consistent cross-functional experiences foster positive user experience feedback.

Currently, fashion e-commerce accounts for roughly 20.4 percent of the total fashion retail sales in the United States U.S.  and will continue to grow.  Fashion and apparel retail are projected to grow to almost 139 billion U.S. dollars by 2022. This is an indication that retailers should continue to invest in technology that addresses shoppers’ needs or risk losing them and market share. By doing so they can create seamless experiences that keep their customers coming back again and again.

Bold Metrics is a machine learning and data science company focused on fit and sizing solutions for the apparel industry. Our technology helps clothing companies significantly reduce return rates, increase conversions, and optimize the manufacturing process from design to distribution. Discover more at www.boldmetrics.com

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