How A.I. and Machine Learning can help apparel brands reduce returns, boost conversions and personalize shopping.

By | Featured

illustration of two mobile screens, one showing a fitting room with a female shopper emerging and the other a style option gallery for a female shopper trying on a dress

First off… just what is fit technology?

It is the technology that retailers and brands are using to improve their customer experience around fit and sizing. From AR to 3D-body imaging, virtual mannequins, site-specific size recommenders, A.I., 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 A.I. 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.

With the surge in online shopping in 2020 due in part to COVID-19 restrictions and retail lockdowns, brands were also seeing an increase in apparel returns due to fit-related issues.

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 prior to purchase, almost 30% of shoppers still purchase multiple sizes of the same item just to be sure that they will get their best fit. One of the reasons for this is because 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 take into account 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 ended up being 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 both sales staff and customers, Contactless Fit enables consumers to find their preferred size and fit without the need for physical try-ons.

Bold Metrics addresses this problem with their Virtual Sizer and Smart Size Chart, which takes into account, not just a customer’s best fit but also makes size recommendations based on individual shopper preference for a highly personalized retail experience. By 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 the savings resulting from reduced labor costs due to inspection, re-stocking, and processing the returns. 

Making shopping for clothes online with a data-backed approach to accurately predicting customer body measurements. No measuring tape required.

Increased Conversions?

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 to never do business with that company again, which makes it essential for brands clearly communicate best-fit options digitally to their customers to boost conversions and sales, and meet customer expectations.

“Fit-related returns can cost a company up to 40% of conversions and have an immensely negative impact on brand perception. Which is why retail innovations such as the Virtual Sizer, Virtual Tailor, and Smart Size Chart by Bold Metrics is used by brands to increase conversion rates by 30% – 80%.”

Daina Burnes, co-founder of Bold Metrics and fit technology expert.

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 trying to find which clothes fit best and by 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 with the intention of returning 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. 

Forget size charts. Finding your ideal fit should be a seamless and personalized experience.

Because customers have different body shapes that change over time as they grow, lose weight or gain weight, real size is neither static or standard. Bold Metrics technology has the ability to 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, takes into account personal shopper preference and body shape, and has been heavily tested for accuracy by Deloitte, as well as used by companies such as Stitch Fix, Levi’s, EXPRESS, Men’s Wearhouse 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 preference for fit. 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 to boost positive brand perception as well as loyalty. 

Go beyond fit recommendations to unlock the power of customer body data to reduce returns, boost conversions and supercharge your supply chain with Bold Metrics.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *