Technology in the shopping industry has improved efficiency in service and delivery. Customers find increased convenience in accessing clothing boutiques for women online instead of having to go to traditional stores when the urge to shop arises. However, online clothing shopping has also increased the rate of returns and related costs.
Online Shopping Returns
The rate of clothing return increases with online shopping because of problems related to improper fit. Estimates indicate the rate of return has reached almost 40% of all online clothing purchases. This is alarming as online clothing sales are beginning to take up a more significant share of overall clothing sales. In 2017, this amount was at 25%. Retailers need to take further measures to try and reduce this rate and keep sales high.
Unfortunately for retailers, especially those offering free delivery and returns, high return rates increase cost and expenditure. This is a problem that can be mitigated by improving issues related to clothing sizes and fit. Eventually, this can encourage greater growth of online shopping traffic, reduce the rate of returns, and decrease wastes of resources and money.
Current Fitting Guidelines
Online shopping websites usually provide size chars for shoppers to find the right clothing sizes they need. However, not all customers take the time to look at this chart and compare their measurements before proceeding with an order. The comparison may also be inaccurate depending on how measurement is conducted.
Other e-commerce retailers have data-driven personalization platforms for visitors of their website. Shoppers are asked to answer an online survey. Responses then go through an algorithm that provides size recommendations for the shopper.
Advanced Measurement Technologies
New body measurement technologies involve the creation of 3D human body models to help shoppers find the right clothing sizes online. Models help show how clothing is meant to fit on customers. Virtual samples of various types of clothing can be fitted to 3D bodies with available software. Shoppers can use these models to determine the size of custom clothing or to get size suggestions and guidelines for clothing.
Scanner technologies involving 3D models are more commonly used in fitness and wellness industries than in apparel ones. However, this technology has greater potential to make precise size recommendations.
Advancements in technology have also allowed smartphones to measure the human body. This process involves a combination of computer vision, neural networks, and artificial intelligence. The human body is detected through a camera or through photos. Neural networks then determine the points in which to obtain measurements. Artificial intelligence uses this information to create fully measured body models for shoppers to know their measurements and to get relevant size recommendations.
Dynamic Pricing Strategies
The online retail market is price-sensitive and highly competitive. E-commerce retailers have the ability to change product prices regularly depending on current levels of supply and demand and various other internal and external factors. The flexible pricing strategy means retailers can, for instance, temporarily increase the price of a fast-moving product in order to avoid stock depletion.
Real-time price changes will significantly affect bottom line. Regular price changes are required for businesses to compete in the online shopping industry.