As a retailer within the e-commerce industry, you’re probably offering apparel online in a variety of sizes. But what happens when the sizing isn't quite right? Perhaps you're experiencing a high return rate because of the fit and sizing of certain items.
Problems with fit exist as the driving force behind most retail returns, accounting for 42% of consumers' returns. But maybe you're a retailer who isn’t aware that you have an excessive amount of returns due to these issues, until taking a closer look at your returns data. The good news is that these fit and sizing issues can be managed, and unwanted returns prevented.
What Your Returns Data Indicates
Let's first explore what the returns data analytics can uncover about your retail business. Your returns data will indicate which products are experiencing a higher return rate than expected, and can even help you determine why these items are being returned.
You may find that a certain product provided by one supplier is being returned at a higher rate than a similar product provided by another supplier. You might be working with a new supplier, for example, and the production of the item has changed the way it fits your customers.
Or, you could be utilizing an assortment of materials in the production of your garments, which will each have a varying effect on the structure and fit of each item. Lace, for example, may be a looser-fitting material than leather. The use of differing materials could easily lead to a variation in sizing. Additionally, you may find in your returns data that a certain item is consistently returned because the material is damaged, which could again point to a need for closely examining your suppliers.
Your returns data will also tell you a lot about your customers and their returns habits. You may find that some online shoppers are bracketing — which is when a shopper will purchase multiple sizes and variations of an item, select their favorite to keep, and then return the rest. With a closer look at your returns data, you're able to leverage this bracketing insight and use it to your advantage.
Your returns data can also indicate how styling and design are affecting the fit and feel of the apparel you're selling. If you are a shoe retailer, for instance, you may have a newly released style of shoe with padded lining on the inside. This shoe may now fit more snuggly, and require a sizing adjustment noted to shoppers.
Also, when a specific style of shoe is returned at a higher rate than expected, you might consider that you have inadequate product descriptions and sizing charts on your website. Fortunately, you can easily make improvements to your business and website that help to manage sizing issues, based on discoveries made by your returns data.
Using Your Returns Data to Address Sizing Issues
Detailed analytics of returns data, like what we offer here at Returnalyze, assist retailers in addressing and eliminating their sizing issues. Once you know where the issues lie, you can make the needed adjustments to change your business outcomes.
As for sizing, you must first determine a "normal" range of size variation for your product. Then, you need to be consistent with this range when creating sizing guides for your online shoppers. However, consistency with sizing doesn't equate to using the same size range across the board. If you're a retailer carrying multiple brands, you should be providing detailed sizing guides for each brand you carry, rather than using one sizing guide for the entire store. What qualifies as a certain size with one brand, might be a bigger or smaller fit than that same sized item made by a different brand.
Similarly, you may need to offer different sizing guides for different products, like shoes. Remember that part about how various materials can affect sizing? A leather pump in size seven may fit differently than a size seven tennis shoe. This should be considered when providing sizing guides and product information.
As a retailer, you have a valuable ability to use your returns data to educate your shoppers and help them make informed purchases. In turn, unwanted returns are reduced.
Providing the Necessary Information to Prevent Unwanted Returns
Luckily for retailers, unwanted returns due to sizing issues are preventable. One of the best ways to limit these types of returns is by providing shoppers with all the necessary details required for them to make an informed purchase. Shoppers should be educated on everything related to a product's size, material, fit, comfort, and customer satisfaction.
As a retailer, you should be offering as much accuracy and detail as possible, with sizing charts and guides provided for each product. And, like we mentioned earlier, these guides need to be individual to each brand you carry. Product descriptions on your website should include information about how the apparel fits, as well. Something as simple as a note that reads "runs big" or "snug fit" can go a long way in preventing unwanted returns.
Providing a variation of imagery and photos is key to preventing unwanted returns, too. Product photos need to provide an accurate visual representation of the item your customer will receive. These photos should include various angles, and should feature the item being worn by real people. The product photos that you use on your site need to match those used by the brand in their material and site, as well.
Additional information can be provided to your shoppers in the form of customer reviews. As a retailer, you should ensure that the details of your product as described by your customers align with the description of your product provided on your website. If your customers are expecting skinny-legged pants, but the review data indicates a looser, baggier fit on customers of a certain size, then this fit and sizing detail needs to be addressed.
Additional Considerations for Improvement
When it comes to your retail website or e-commerce store, there are a few additional improvements you can make to your site, which will help prevent unwanted returns. Various methods for conducting site-testing exist, which experiment with how different languages, information layout and placement, and other aspects of your website affect the user experience — therefore affecting a shopper's relation to sizing and returns.
Ecommerce platforms are available that allow retailers to test out website changes on a portion of online shoppers, who get a user experience different from the rest of the visitors to the site. Retailers can then compare the differences in traffic and performance from the site-testing, and decide to make any revisions or updates to their site.
As with any changes and improvements made to your retail website, the overall objective is to provide valuable data to customers in the best way possible.
Returnalyze Helps to Manage These Issues
At Returnalyze, our unique platform provides the detailed analytics that are essential to uncovering valuable insight from returns data, including how to manage unwanted returns that occur from sizing issues. Retailers can then make informed business decisions based on this insight.
Additionally, we offer our own recommendations and reveal further details, which may have otherwise been missed. With our ability to make valuable business discoveries, we're helping retailers reduce their unwanted returns, and affect their business outcomes for the better.
If you're ready to change the returns paradigm and take control of your own outcomes, reach out to our team today.