With e-commerce showing no signs of slowing down, elevated levels of returns are likely to continue. Digital payment software provider ACI Worldwide estimated digital sales saw a 30 percent increase in total transactions from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, for example, underscoring the potential for an unprecedented influx of returns.
Of the $741.2 billion in total November and December sales CBRE Research forecasted earlier this month, it estimated up to $70.5 billion are expected to be returned.
In footwear, the problem of returns is to a large extent linked to the issue of inconsistent sizing. A recent study from foot-scanning technology company Volumental analyzed 623 types of size 9 women’s running shoes, of which it said only about 60 percent truly fit in the size 9 category.
My Size, a developer of smartphone measurement solutions, announced plans last week to expand from apparel fit technology into footwear early next year to address this problem.
By pairing the footwear retailer’s product table, the shoe’s global trade item number (GTIN) and description and My Size’s AI-driven and machine-learning algorithms, the service will present online shoppers “with a highly accurate size recommendation,” the company claimed. The footwear measurement technology will be “plug and play” with “all leading e-commerce platforms,” including Shopify, WooCommerce, Lightspeed and Magento, it added.
Customers using the footwear solution will only have to provide a few details, such as their size in a specific shoe or just a picture of their foot, to receive their size recommendation.
“As e-commerce booms, so do returns, and footwear returns are often outsized within the already high return rates for the online apparel industry, costing apparel and footwear retailers dearly and adding to customer frustration.” Ronen Luzon, CEO and founder of MySize, said in a statement. “With the planned launch of our shoe sizing solution, footwear retailers will finally be able to seamlessly and proactively address the problem and cut return costs, while providing a more confident shopping experience in the process.”
My Size, which has previously focused largely on apparel, claims its service directly reduces returns and increases average order value. During the three-month period of March, April and May, it said one of its partners, Turkey-based apparel brand Penti, saw returns drop by approximately 50 percent for customers using its MySizeID service. Apparel sales among these shoppers stood three times higher than those customers who did not use MySizeID for size recommendations, it found.
This summer, the company teamed up with Sweet Fit to integrate My Size’s technology into its interactive virtual fitting mirror. Sweet Fit uses augmented reality technology to scan a person’s figure and display a virtual outfit. The integration of MySizeID lets shoppers select the appropriate apparel size for a specific brand, based on real-time body measurements. Sweet Fit is currently available in France, with plans to expand internationally.