How AI and Machine Learning can help apparel brands reduce returns, boost conversions and personalize shopping.
First off… just what is fit technology?
It is the technology retailers and brands use to improve their customer experience around fit and sizing. From AR to 3D-body imaging, virtual mannequins, site-specific size recommenders, AI, and micro-measurement technology— what they share in common is that they all leverage data to help solve fit-related issues faced by apparel brands and their customers.
Some require body scanners and selfies to generate 3D models, while others, like Bold Metrics, harness machine learning technologies and AI to generate highly accurate body measurements and make size recommendations based on both body shape and preferred fit. For brands looking to integrate a low-friction solution to help customers find clothes that fit, Bold Metrics provides a range of easily-integrated technology tools that can be customized to meet the brand’s requirements regarding fit-related challenges.
How does Bold Metrics help your brand reduce returns?
Poor fit is the number one reason for returning online apparel purchases, resulting in up to 80% of the total returns for some brands. According to an article in Consumer Affairs, it was discovered that even though up to 72% of consumers use fit predictors and size charts to determine their size before purchase, almost 30% of shoppers still purchase multiple sizes of the same item to be sure that they will get their best fit. One of the reasons for this is that standard size charts still require customers to know their sizes or to measure themselves, which can result in human error or, more commonly, result in people hazarding a guess at their sizes.
Size charts don’t consider fit preference either, or the fact that different body shapes have different fits. Even clothing of the same style from the same brand can fit differently, depending on the cut and type of material used to manufacture it. A recent viral post about pairs of size 12 jeans that were all different sizes was a clear reminder that sizing is often at the discretion of brands and subject to vanity sizing, much to the customer’s disadvantage.
The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on retail stores and fitting room access has also made it a lot harder for customers to find their right fit when shopping in stores as fitting rooms are closed or try-ons limited for safety. With these challenges in mind, Bold Metrics launched Contactless Fit in April last year to help apparel brands to reopen safely in a post-COVID world. With safety a priority for sales staff and customers, Contactless Fit enables consumers to find their preferred size and fit without needing physical try-ons.
Bold Metrics addresses this problem with their Virtual Sizer and Smart Size Chart, which takes into account a customer’s best fit and makes size recommendations based on individual shopper preference for a highly personalized retail experience. Using our technology to connect customers to better-fitting clothing in their preferred fit, brands have proven to reduce returns by an average return rate decrease of 34%. There are also savings from reduced labor costs due to inspection, re-stocking, and processing returns.
For the online fashion industry especially, fit technology is invaluable. Disappointed customers tend to hurt the bottom line. It takes just one negative experience for 51% of customers never to do business with that company again, which makes it essential for brands to communicate best-fit options digitally to their customers to boost conversions and sales and meet customer expectations.
These A.I. powered tools can generate over 50 highly accurate body measurement predictions using input from just 4 to 6 simple questions, none of which involve the need for a measuring tape. According to research by Super Office, 73% of buyers indicate that customer experience is an important factor in purchasing decisions. By removing the hurdle of finding which clothes fit best and creating a positive, personalized shopping experience—both in-store and online—brands can increase conversions by up to 80%.
Better customer experience? How confidence affects shoppers.
The process of buying multiple sizes of the same item to return those that don’t fit, known as bracketing, is carried out by almost half of all shoppers, according to research from post-purchase solutions firm Narvar. On average, 40% of shoppers do so at least occasionally, with 45% of those under 30 and 48% of those with incomes over $100,000 indulging in the practice. Fortunately, with the increased confidence that comes from having a data-backed solution for finding clothes that fit better, customers won’t need to do this.
Because customers have different body shapes that change over time as they grow, lose weight or gain weight, real size is neither static nor standard. Bold Metrics technology can capture individual consumer body measurements with high accuracy using simple input from customers, which can then be combined with returns data and clothing specifications to generate actionable insights like the ability to design to demand or reduce unnecessary production.
The machine learning technologies deployed generate over 50 different body measurements for individual customers, take into account personal shopper preference and body shape, and have been heavily tested for accuracy by unbiased 3rd-party industry analysts, as well as used by companies such as Canada Goose, Men’s Wearhouse, UpWest, and hundreds of custom clothiers globally.
By matching customers to their best fit in that particular brand’s sizing, customers have the confidence to purchase knowing that they will be connected to apparel that best fits their body shape and personal fit preference. On the customer’s end, a frictionless process that improves their shopping experience by making the purchasing process seamless and more personalized is a win and helps boost positive brand perception and loyalty.
Bold Metrics provides brands and retailers with innovative solutions for all their fit challenges. With a range of powerful products, which caters to the needs of apparel businesses from custom clothiers to SMEs, multi-brand retailers, and enterprise-level companies, Bold Metrics enables apparel brands to connect customers to better-fitting clothes, reduce returns, boost conversions and generate valuable data-backed insights to help brands optimize operations from design to distribution. Find out more at www.boldmetrics.com