Most online shoppers will tell you they have a mental list of go-to stores where they can be sure of their size. They know that brand inside out, including the styles and shapes that suit their body type because they’ve tried on so many garments. It takes a lot of effort to master online clothes shopping. Mintel recently released a new intelligence report suggesting British consumers would like to see better size standardisation across clothing retailers. No where is this more prevalent than online ‘of those who bought online for themselves in the past year, 37% returned clothes’ and ‘the biggest reason for returning clothing is poor fit, with 43% of consumers who have returned goods making this claim’.
The obvious solution would be to introduce a standard size initiative that retailers sign up to, agreeing that they will produce and label their garments to a set industry standard but I doubt this will ever happen. As long as body-shaming continues, with the emphasis on being skinny, retailers will continue to increase their size margins so customers have that ‘I can fit into a smaller size’ feel-good moment.
It’s more likely the solution to solving sizing ambiguity will come from technology. 45% of consumers would be ‘interested in a virtual fitting solution that compares the measurements of an item with a garment they already own’. House of Fraser already use this system with their ‘know how it fits before it ships’ technology. I’ve used this function a couple of times and found it helpful. Maybe it’s something other retailers should start doing too if they want our custom.