The size inclusivity and sustainability movements have made a garment’s fit more crucial than ever.
Fit technology—which includes solutions like sizing recommendations and digital fitting rooms—could be the key to developing more sustainable products, as proper fits can lower return rates and the associated environmental impact, as well as keep consumers wearing their clothing longer.
But while many agree that fit technology is important, its rate of implementation is lagging. A new report from sizing solution Presize.ai investigated the current state of online sizing information at 100 major European retailers, including C&A, Zara, H&M, Diesel, Asos, Farfetch and Net-a-Porter, and found that there’s plenty of room for improvement.
The report studied the sizing systems at each store and graded them against 12 criteria, including the availability and quality of size charts, the use of supporting visuals, fit-advising customer reviews and the integration of sizing technology. It found that only 77 percent of shops have size charts—more than half of which aren’t specific to the product or brand, meaning there’s ample room for inaccuracies. Some stores fail to show the product on a model, and of those that do, just 45 percent include the model’s measurements for reference.
“Customers are more likely to trust size recommendations when faced with a nicely fitting visual example, which exemplifies the fit that you would achieve if following their sizing recommendations,” the report stated, adding that fit preference can vary, making measurements and visuals crucial for a number of reasons.
Presize.ai also found that 38 percent of retailers offer customer reviews for specific products, and only 2 percent included reviews with supporting visuals. Of the 38 percent, the multi-category retailers, as opposed to fashion retailers, were often the ones that included peer-contributed information.
According to the report, reviews are so highly regarded among consumers because they are “seen as peer recommendations, as opposed to marketing tools by retailers,” and brands should consider them as a way to more accurately portray sizing and promote customer trust.
Retailers may also want to make improvements to the geographical accessibility of their sizing information. Presize.ai found that 55 percent of stores offer measurements in both inches and centimeters, and only 36 percent show international size conversions. Of the stores surveyed, only five present sizing information in more than one language.
Ultimately, the report found that 34 percent of stores had size recommendation technology of any kind, and 9 percent of stores didn’t provide any sizing help whatsoever.
“While reports discuss advanced technologies such as virtual fitting rooms or user-facing 3D models of clothing or bodies, most companies have not even introduced size recommendation technologies,” the report noted.
But more could be getting on board soon. After a year of “proven success” with Levi’s Turkey, the Turkish subsidiary of the U.S. heritage company is applying MySize’s proprietary AI-driven sizing technology to its Dockers brand. Users enter data such as gender, height and weight, and the proprietary machine learning database calculates the appropriate fit. The technology reportedly reduced Levi’s Turkey’s return rate by 47 percent, saving the company costly reverse logistics costs and providing benefits for the environment. Mysize is currently used by more than 120 retailers around the world, and continues to grow its database.
For other brands, fit technology is the foundation upon which they were built. Body-positive denim brand Good American formed its ethos around the perfect fit. The brand was one of the first in denim to launch an e-commerce sizing tool that shows all products in a range of 15 sizes across 15 different fit models.
Similarly, four-year-old digital apparel company Unspun recently debuted the “jeans of the future,” using a proprietary algorithm and fit technology to generate custom-fitted products. Later, it introduced Vega-1, the 3D-weaving technology it plans to deploy on a global scale, giving brands the ability to bring goods to market quickly and efficiently. Using the industry-disrupting machine, it takes just 10 minutes for the brand to produce a custom-fit pair of jeans.