Online Clothing Retailers Hunt For Better Fit To Cut Costly Returns | 12/21/2018 | Staff
BERLIN/MADRID (Reuters) – Models testing fashion brands like Adidas, Benetton and Gap are finding that almost a third of the shoes and clothes they try on are bigger or smaller than the size on the label indicates, explaining why many clothes bought online are sent back.

Calculating sizes more accurately could help online retailers like Germany’s Zalando and Britain’s ASOS cut costly returns and improve customer satisfaction.

Brand - Color - Size - Zalando - Model

“If you try on the same brand in a different color it is sometimes a different size,” Zalando fitting model Savina Bellotto said as she squeezed a foot into a stiletto shoe with a shiny silver buckle that dug into her ankle.

Discounting to shift stock means fashion retailers are struggling to preserve profit margins, and ASOS’s warning on Monday of a major downturn caused retail shares to tumble.

Returns - Fashion - Firms - Zara - H

Targeting returns, fast fashion firms like Zara and H&M have introduced software that suggests sizes for online customers. Customers type in height and weight, which are processed alongside historic data on purchases and returns.

“It’s a big burden for the retailer,” said Nivindya Sharma, director of retail strategy at trend forecaster WGSN. “Free returns started off as being a competitive advantage but now they’re the norm.”

FASHION - Around - Half - Americans - Clothes

FAST FASHION Around half of Americans expect to return clothes ordered online this holiday season due to poor fit, according to a survey by technology firm BodyBlock.

“Returns cost you a fortune. Firstly, you’ve got an unhappy customer, but also you’ve got the re-processing and putting it back into stock,” said Charlotte Kula-Przezwanski, a partner at Columbus Consulting, which specializes in retail processes.

Sizing - Problem - Zalando - Europe - Fashion

To crack the sizing problem, Zalando, Europe’s biggest online-only fashion retailer, told Reuters it was augmenting the data it gathers online with feedback from models who check new styles.

“If we can put an article on a fitting model, just before or as an...
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