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Ecommerce in fashion

  1. 1. October 2012 Includes exclusive retailer survey In association with ECOMMERCE IN FASHIONHow retailers are driving online sales
  2. 2. EcommErcE in fashion Seekingaperfectfit foronlinefashion contents Survey p4 Online opportunities revealed Etail sales p6 Making every visit count Data exploitation p8 Understanding your customers Virtual fitting p10 Pretty Green drives online sales Editor-in-chief Chris Brook-Carter 020 7728 3593 Supplement Editor Nick Hughes 020 7728 3592 Production Editor Abigail O’Sullivan 020 7728 3518 Art Editor Jon Hart 020 7728 3519 Contributors Paul Lindsell Production Manager Paddy Orchard 020 7728 4111 Commercial Director Mandy Cluskey 020 7728 3586 Account manager Sarah Killey 020 7728 3561 Director of Retail Tracey Davies 020 7728 3567 T he job of selling fashion online is an unenviable one. The fashion industry thrives on image, aspiration and style – desires that are easier to feed in the bricks-and-mortar environment where consumers can touch, try on and generally make an emotional connection with clothing. Historically, the inability to physically interact with products has been a major barrier to growing online fashion sales, not to mention a key reason for the high rate of returns that torments ecommerce directors. Yet advances in technology and improvements in data exploitation are slowly helping to break down the barriers that have prevented shoppers from fully embracing online channels. Three questions in particular continue to occupy the thoughts of ecommerce chiefs – how to increase conversion rates, how to reduce returns and how best to exploit the raft of data that exists on customers? What we hope to show in this supplement is that these questions are all interconnected and solutions to them should not be sought in isolation. Whether it’s by harnessing virtual fitting rooms or through the introduction of social media, technology is improving the user experience and generating invaluable customer data, while at the same time giving consumers the confidence to convert their web visit into a purchase. We’ll also be giving some pointers as to where we think the next big technological leaps will come from. Nick Hughes Supplement editor October 2012 Retail Week In association with T he three biggest issues our customers and potential customers tell us every day that they face are: how to reduce item return rates that struggle to get below anywhere from 15% to 40%; how to increase online conversion rates that struggle to get above 3%; and how to find new sources of big data and derive business advantages from those statistics. has developed an effective solution to the “biggest challenge” facing online clothing retailers: the fact it is impossible for online shoppers to try on clothes before they buy. The solution is a virtual fitting room, and we can demonstrate that it improves online sales conversions by up to 62% and reduces returns by up to 35%. In a sector in which fractions of a percent can mean millions of pounds added or subtracted from the top line, these are game-changing numbers. And let’s not forget the value of the big data: the anonymised measurements of hundreds of thousands of individuals can help retailers to determine not what sizes they are selling but what they could be selling. We hope his supplement will arm you for months ahead with the arguments you need to take to your board; and we wonder, too, how much things will have moved on by this time next year? Heikki Haldre Founder and chief executive, Cover credit: Alamy
  3. 3. I n the digital age, the ability for fashion retailers to trade through multiple channels is becoming increasingly key to the long-term success of their business. But running an online store is very different from running a traditional bricks-and-mortar store and retailers that operate online face a whole new set of challenges. To better understand the dynamics of the online trading environment, Retail Week commissioned a survey of leading fashion retailers, the results of which offer some fascinating insights into how retailers view the key issues affecting onlinesalesoptimisation. One thing abundantly clear is that more and more shoppers are using the internet to actually buy the latest fash- ions, rather than just search for inspira- considerably lower than in traditional bricks-and-mortar stores. In particular, retailers believe that the inability to physically interact with an item is the main barrier that prevents consumers from shopping for fashion online. Two thirds of respondents to the survey said they believed the fact that customers cannot tell the quality of the product was a major hurdle to convert- ing website visits into sales, while 62% cited consumer concern about whether the products will fit and look good on them as a key barrier. Four in 10, mean- while,believedcustomersnotbeingable to tell what size they should order was animpedimenttobetterconversion. Breaking barriers These findings mirror consumer responses to the Drapers report, which found that items not fitting is by far the main reason why fashion products bought online are returned, with poorer quality than expected the sec- ond most cited explanation. Sizing, of course, takes on a whole new dimension online, where the cus- tomerisunabletotrybeforetheybuy.Of the retailers surveyed, just 21% disa- greed that sizing had become more of an issue for them as a larger percentage of business moves online. Particularly for retailers selling multiple clothing brands, a lack of consistency of fit across different labels was identified as a prob- lem and inconsistent sizing was cited as akeyissueby64%ofthoseretailers. When asked what they are doing to improve conversion rates for the cloth- ingcategoriesontheirwebsites,retailers offered a variety of responses. The most popular actions included improving information on clothing sizes and fit on product pages; trialling different check- out processes and different levels of information on product pages; offering free returns; and adding customer rat- ings and reviews to the site. Almost a quarterofrespondents,meanwhile,said they were trialling a virtual fitting room or fitting tool on their online store. In recent years, developments in virtual fitting rooms have allowed consumers to see what an item of clothing looks like dressed on a real, robotic mannequin that has adopted their precise, individual body shape. Onlinefashionfitforpurpose tion. More than 60% of retailers surveyedsaidtheironlineclothingsales were growing at a rate in excess of 25% per year, while 10% reported sales were growingatarateof100%ormore. This growth is reflected in consumer responses to the Drapers Etail Report 2012,whichdiscoveredthatjust20% of people currently never buy fashion online, while 40% do so once a month ormore. Nevertheless, for the vast majority of multichannel fashion retailers, online sales are still dwarfed by sales through conventional bricks-and-mortar stores, and, as such, a huge opportunity exists togrowonlinerevenues. Replicating the in-store environment online is challenging, and hence conversion rates online tend to be “The inaBiliTy To physically inTeracT wiTh an iTem is The main Barrier ThaT prevenTs consumers shopping for fashion online” Asurveyoffashionretailersrevealsthechallengesofreplicatingthein-storeexperience online.Buthugeopportunitiesexisttogrowdigitalrevenues.NickHughesreports EcommErcE In fashIon ExclusIvE survEy 4 retail week October 2012 Retailers are trialling a range of solutions to improve online sales conversions alamy
  4. 4. C October 2012 retail week More than 50% of the retailers sur- veyed said a virtual fitting room was a great idea, although more than half of those said it was too expensive at the moment for them to consider imple- menting, and 19% of respondents expressed concern about the complex- ity of implementing the technology within their own online store. rate of returns One of the key attractions of providing customers with an online fitting room is an anticipated reduction in the rate of items returned. The nature of the online shopping environment means return ratesarefarhigherthaninthebricksand mortar environment – indeed, it is not unusual for consumers to buy multiple sizes of a specific item with the inten- tion of returning the sizes that do not fit. Almost two thirds of retailers surveyed said rate of returns is a crucial KPI, and as such they take steps to analyse the reasons why customers are retuning products,whilejust5%saidtheydonot measure returns at all. More than 85% said reducing clothing returns was of highormediumprioritytothebusiness, although 7% said they are happy for returns to rise if conversion and online sales are also rising. What the survey results show is that a general consensus is beginning to emerge on the opportunities and challenges facing online stores but, equally, each retailer has its own priori- ties and there is no single one-size-fits- all approach to optimising online fashion sales.Virtual fitting rooms allow consumers to try before they buy survEy onlInE fashIon rEtaIlErs What are you doing to improve conversion rates for the clothing categories on your website? What do you think are the main barriers to conversion for the clothing categories on your website? Customers can’t tell the quality of the products Customers can’t tell whether products will fit them/look good on them Customers can’t tell what size they should order Customers can’t see delivery and returns information on the product page Customers are put off by our returns process Too many clicks to complete purchase Customers have to register to checkout on our site Customers prefer to use the site for research and then come to the store to buy Trialling different checkout processes Trialling different levels of information on product pages adding customer ratings and reviews to our site Improving information on clothing sizes and fit on product pages Offering a virtual fit tool/ virtual fitting room Introducing a click-and-collect service Introducing free standard delivery Introducing free returns 67% 37% 62% 37% 40% 32% 2% 49% 7% What rate are your online clothing sales growing at? 100% or more a year 75% or more a year 50% or more a year 25% or more a year 10% or more a year 5% or more a year It is flat year on year It has declined in the past year 15% 10% 10% 7% 12% 29% 12% 5% How much more of an issue has sizing become as a larger percentage of clothing is sold online? much more of an issue as we sell multiple brands and sizing isn’t consistent a little more of an issue as we sell multiple brands and sizing isn’t consistent much more of an issue as we use vanity sizing a little more of an issue as we use vanity sizing It is not more of an issue for us 38% 26% 5% 10% 21% 24% 12% 17% 10% 24% 10% 37% What priority do you give to reducing clothing returns? High priority medium priority low priority We don’t try to reduce clothing and footwear returns at all We are happy for our returns rate to rise if conversion and online sales are also rising 44% 42% 7% 0% 7% 30% 26% What do you think of the idea of an online virtual fitting room that allows customers to see how they will really look wearing your products? Great idea we would like to implement Great idea but too expensive for us to consider Too complex to implement We would like to implement, but don’t know if the technology exists We’re worried it would lead to basket abandonment We don’t think fitting is a problem online 19% 7% 9% 9% In association with How do you measure the rate of returns for clothing? It is a crucial KPI and we measure all returns as well as analysing the reasons customers are returning products It is a crucial KPI and we measure all returns although we don’t analyse the reasons why We measure returns that are posted/ couriered back to us, but not online sales that are returned to stores, and analyse the reasons customers are returning products We measure returns that are posted/ couriered back to us, but not online sales that are returned to stores, but don’t analyse the reasons customers are returning products We don’t measure returns 60% 5% 21% 10% 5%
  5. 5. C onverting visits into sales is the Holy Grail for online fash- ion retailers. A high conver- sion rate is a key indicator of a strong online store and a fractional advantage in conversion over a rival can be worth millions to the top line. But with thousands of businesses com- peting for the attention of audiences with ever-decreasing attention spans and even less patience, just one slip up along the way can result in a lost sale. With average conversion rates hover- ing around the 3% mark, it can be easy to conclude that online fashion retail- ers have yet to crack the secret of how to turn website visits into hard cash. Yet there is no doubt that retailers bet- ter understand how customers interact with their websites now than was the case at the start of their online journeys. As Lee Duddell, founder of user experience specialist What Users Do, explains: “Retail websites were initially created by designers as a platform to showtheirofferingsinthebestandmost aestheticallypleasingwayasameansof generatingsales,butthisapproachcom- pletely ignored the journey a customer ularly heinous crime by experts. Steve Borges, chief executive of Biglight, the specialist ecommerce agency, says: “Therearesomebrandswhereyouhave to go through a lot of information to get to the product and that can impact on conversion. Even if you merchandise your home page with great looks and products, if you put a brand layer in frontofthatandhavetoclickthroughto the stock it affects conversion.” John Lewis head of online marketing Emma McLaughlin agrees the online journey has to be as seamless and straightforward as possible. “We’re always looking at how we can reduce the number of clicks customers have to make, or the stages of purchase they’re taken through,” she says. That is not to say that style has no place. Emotion plays a key part in online purchasing despite the lack of a physical product to engage with. It is vital that retailers show off the product in the best possible light and tap into consumers’ emotional response to shopping. Asos’useofcatwalkvideosonits website helps it increase conver- Theclickstocashconversion hastotaketomakeapurchase.”Ascon- sumers have become increasingly sophisticated in how they shop online, fashion retailers have had to respond by becoming more user-centric. Boden operations and IT director Ben Dreyer says it is the “50 little tweaks” to the online store that deliver the “great customer experience”, add- ing that fashion retailers must ensure the user experience, web design and the online user journey are all opti- mised to maximise sales. Nevertheless, common errors still blight the perform- ance of many online stores. Duddell cites key mistakes retailers make as: poor product information and imagery; a returns policy written by a legal department, rather than a web copywriter; the lack of a guest checkout or delivery choice; and poor localisation. These problems are easy enough to solve. However, the factors that determine whether a visiting consumer completes a pur- chase are often far more nuanced. Inconsistent merchandising is a common fault, with product hidden away considered a partic- 6 Retail Week October 2012 “We’Re alWays looking at hoW We can Reduce the numbeR of clicks customeRs have to make” Emma McLaughlin, John Lewis How can online fashion retailers overcome the many barriers to sales conversion in order to optimise their performance, asks Nick Hughes ECommErCE in fashion optimising salEs aLaMy
  6. 6. sion rates, while TK Maxx aids the con- sideration process with helpful outfit tips. “The way in which the product is presented,thequalityoftheproduct,the sharpness of the colours, how good the zoomis,thecontentabouttheproductis hugelyimportant,”saysBorges. Duddell agrees it would be a travesty not to highlight the designers’ artistry. “However,whatusersdoonretailsitesis mainlydrivenbyclarity,simplicity,trust and design, so a middle ground must be found that incorporates strong design elementswithsimplicity,”hesays. IntheDrapersEtailReport2012,con- sumers cited convenience and ease of browsing as reasons for buying fashion online, hence why online retailers who truly put the customer at the heart of their web design strike a balance between pushing the right emotional buttons while ensuring a slick, func- tional process. In practice, this means easy, quick navigation with logical orderingandmanageabletabsaswellas a well-configured search function. For retailers that operate across mul- tiple channels, consistency of branding is also a vital component. One of Next’s mantras is that the consumer just sees one brand, and it is therefore important that online stores reflect the in-store experience. Getting each of these elements right can significantly improve an online retailer’s chances of converting a visit into a sale, but the fact remains there is no silver bullet for guaranteeing the customer will complete their purchase. Part of the reason why fashion conver- sion rates lag behind other categories such as entertainment is consumers’ fear over the quality and fit of the item. Poor fit is by far the main reason why clothes purchased online are returned. With fit often varying significantly between different brands, getting the right sized garment becomes even more of a minefield for consumers. The cost of returns can be significant when you take into account the loss of sale, the cost of redelivery and the fall in resale value of an item. But beyond these tangible costs, a high rate of return can also damage the brand. Heikki Haldre, chief executive and co-founder of virtual fitting room, says: “Of customers who get the wrong size, 25% say I’ve learnt that this is not my size so I’ll try again; 57% will say I’m not willing to take the risk again so I’m going to buy less from that online shop, and 23% will say I’m going to buy less from this brand regardless of whether it’s the online or bricks-and-mortar shop.” Menswear retailer Pretty Green has incorporated a virtual fitting room into its online store, which uses a robotic mannequin to show how the item will look on the customer’s own body dimensions. The upshot has been an increase in conversion rates of 62% in 2012 and returns are down. “If cus- tomers visit the fitting room, they are much more likely to convert,” says PrettyGreenheadofdigitalTimKalic. The growth in shopping through mobile devices has presented another setofchallenges.Whatworksonadesk- top does not necessarily work on a hand-held device. Retailers have had to adapt their mobile offer to reflect this. John Lewis recently made all the ‘continue’ and ‘place order’ buttons in the checkout on its mobile site larger so theyareeasytotouchwithathumb,and has changed the delivery date selection to use the phone’s native date picker. Interestingly, fashion appears to work well on tablets, according to sta- tistics from the Affiliate Windows’ M-commerce white paper, which found the average conversion rate October 2012 Retail Week Boden believes user experience,design and user journey must be optimised to up sales “What useRs do on Retail sites is mainly dRiven by claRity, simplicity, tRust and design” Lee Duddell, What Users Do for the iPad is 3.81% for fashion, com- pared with 1.92% for electrical and 1.21% for telecoms. Tablets also per- formed well against other mobile devices, suggesting that screen size and orientation, as well as variable band- width, are a barrier to completing sales. Retailers will have to overcome all of those barriers if they are to improve conversion rates in the years ahead and turn clicks into cash. futurEgazing–ConvErsion “Thebigpainpointforconsumersin buyingclothingonlineisworriesabout howtheitemwillfitandlookonthem,” writesPeterBallard,partneratdigital userexperienceagencyFoolproof. “I’msurprisedmoreretailersaren’t makingmoreuseofcustomerreviews.It canbereallyusefulforconsumerstoget feedbackfromothersonhowclothes orderedonlinefeelandfit.Beyondthat,I expecttoseebetterintegrationoffashion websiteswithsocialmedia.Forexample, byallowingtheirpeerstocommentonan outfittheyareconsideringbuying, shopperscangetimmediatesocial reinforcementwhiletheretailergets instantconsumerfeedback. “Imagerecognitionisanother technologicaladvancethatcouldhelp conversion.Theabilitytopointyourphone atanobjectoritemofclothingandget informationaboutwhereyoucanbuyitis exciting.Thefirststepstowardsthisare alreadybeingseeninbroadcasting,where useofthe“secondscreen”(suchasan iPadappaccompanyingpopularshows) allowsfansof,say,TheOnlyWayisEssex, toclickonanitemofclothingthatoneof thestarsiswearing,andthenviewand purchaseitthroughtheapp.” In association with
  7. 7. L egend has it that when Dunn- humby first presented results of its Clubcard initiative to the Tesco board, then chairman Lord MacLaurin declared: “What scares me is that you know more about my customers after three months than I know after 30 years.” every customer the same to under- standing sub pockets of behaviour within their customer base and, most recently, understanding how individ- ual customers behave in the online environment. By successfully analysing and lever- aging this data, online fashion retailers can give themselves a significant com- petitive advantage over their peers, but achieving this is not without its chal- lenges. So how should they go about it? Across the data universes Broadly speaking, there are three main data universes that retailers should concern themselves with, as Steve Borges, managing director of specialist ecommerce agency Biglight explains. “The first is all of that data that sits within your order history file; so if you’ve been trading for six years you can know how many customers you’ve sold to, what they’ve bought, how many you’ve acquired and how many you’ve lost. If you’re lucky enough to do home delivery you’ve got post code and payment card informa- tion as well.” Then there is information about sub- scribers, especially those people who opt into emails, which when coupled with the buyer data creates a single cus- tomer view. The third universe, says Borges, is around web analytics, both in terms of how consumers are behav- ing on your own website and what they’re saying about you off-site, on social media and in online forums. John Lewis head of online marketing Emma McLaughlin says the retailer is constantly mining data about how cus- tomers use its website to fine-tune and optimise navigation. “For instance, on our desktop site, we’ve used analytics and testing alter- natives to change the product hierar- chy for wedding clothes – to make the most popular products easier to find, by moving them up the left hand navi- gation,” she says. The growth of social media, mean- while, has allowed marketers to collect previously unattainable qualitative data about how consumers feel about their brand. By marrying these data Datagetspersonal That was 20 years ago and ever since retailers have been seeking to harness the full power that data mining has to offer. Where the grocery industry has led, other sectors, including fashion, have followed. Rapid technological advances have enabled retailers to evolve from a position of treating www.retail-week.com8 Retail Week October 2012 Fashion retailers are giving themselves a competitive edge by harnessing the full power of data mining to understand how individual customers behave online, writes Nick Hughes ECOMMERCE IN FASHION BIG DATA The growth of social media has allowed marketers to collect previously unattainable qualitative data Optus maionse nditio evenducias millab int imusdam ALAMY
  8. 8. to part with information. “What we’ve found is that using online research techniques can help to mask people’s identity and, in turn, encourage them to share and disclose more about sensi- tive topics,” says Eccleston. “We can offer people a shield and give them the confidence to talk more honestly and reliably about topics ranging from health issues to sex toys.” In some situations, people are more willing to take part in research and offer up their opinions if they get some noticeable recognition in return, says Eccleston: “For example, we saw a boost in return rates when we linked survey feedback to a branded loyalty card scheme, giving users the chance to gain extra points for every piece of research they completed,” he says More personally targeted emails are also better received than generic circu- lars. In the Drapers report 34% said they would like more personalised emails with products most likely to appeal to them, and the same number would welcome personalised special offers and discounts depending on what they buy. The report also uncov- ered that consumers are willing to share sizing information if it leads to better availability. What is certain is that the rapid advancement in data exploitation spells good news for online fashion retailers that are just as concerned with what you say about your clothes as they are what your clothes say about you. “WE ARE GIVING BRANDS THE DATA ON WHAT SIZES THEY SHOULD CARRY THAT THEY AREN’T” Heikki Haldre, universes, online retailers have been able to hammer down into not just what consumers do and how they behave but why they behave as they do, enabling them to offer a unique service to each customer. Derek Eccleston, head of research at eDigitalResearch, says that in recent years online retail shopping has become increasingly about providing visitors with a personalised experi- ence. “For example, by combining pur- chase data with user insight, retailers should be able to tell what a customer purchased [or did not purchase] on their last visit, and offer up to them similar products, which, in turn, should help to increase conversion rates,” he says. Amazon is widely acknowledged as the trailblazer in personalisation, while grocery retailers are also expert at offer- ing discounts and promotions based on their knowledge of what individual consumers buy. Fashion retailers have, on the whole, been slower to embrace complex per- sonalisation but the signs are that the wheels of change are in motion. Mata- lan has been working with technology firm Rich Relevance to launch an online personalisation service, which means customers will be presented with suggestions for products based on their previous browsing and purchas- ing activity, while greater personalisa- tion is set to be a key feature of John Lewis’ forthcoming website relaunch. Sizing up customers New technology is also allowing retail- ers to gather useful information on size. By allowing shoppers to ‘try on’ clothes in a virtual fitting room where consum- ers are asked to input their dimensions, retailers can not only reduce the chance of the consumer returning the product due to poor fit but also gain valuable insight into why they are mak- ing a purchase and, more importantly, why they are not. “We are not only giving brands the data on what sizes they should carry but what sizes they should carry that they aren’t carrying,” says Heikki Haldre, chief executive and co-founder of virtual fitting room provider Such data can also be used for justi- fying investment decisions. Hawes & Curtis head of ecommerce Antony Comyns says the shirt maker was recently considering what new shirts to add to its range. “We had already put into work a very slim-fit shirt that was missing from our range and we did that with a minimal amount of research based on very simple information that people were giving us. We were able to do some proper analysis from our fitting room, which showed that we were missing that shirt and it gave us the numbers to back up what we initially thought.” Of course, access to data can be a thorny issue and, despite the prolifera- tion of free information in the digital age, consumers are still fiercely protec- tive of their privacy. Bombarding con- sumers with offers or requests for data can be fraught with danger and winning the trust of shoppers is not to be taken for granted. Take email marketing, for example. Most consumers are only signed up forahandfulof fashion retail- ers’ emails so you have to work hard to make the list. The Drapers Customer InsightReport 2012 found that42%ofconsumersaresignedupfor one to three emails, and a further 22% for four to six. Even when you make the shortlist, reaching the customer is not a given. Only 35% open three quarters or more of the emails they receive from fashion retailers and 24% open less than one quarter of them. Driving decision making Nevertheless, customer feedback and opinion is key in driving decision mak- ing, says McLaughlin. John Lewis recently changed the order of entering name and credit card details on its mobile site as a result of customer feed- back – a small change that McLaughlin says really improved conversion rates. Naturally, there are ways of improv- ing your chances of getting customers October 2012 Retail Week 9 a boost in return survey feedback to a branded loyalty card scheme, giving users the chance to gain extra points for every piece of research marketing, for example. Most FUTURE GAZING – BIG DATA “In the future, the consumer will be in control. Every shopper will have instant, trusted and secure access to all of the information and data they need to make a purchase decision, right there and when they need it, and in the format of their choice. This could include anything from relevant purchases they’ve made in the past and how they rated and reviewed them, as well as what their friends, trusted networks and respected others had to say,” writes Derek Eccleston,head of research at eDigitalResearch. “Expert reviews from trusted sources could also be integrated, alongside supplier collateral and background information. Independent operators will also provide the best price or deal, highest rewards and most attractive purchase terms and instantly allow shoppers to purchase at the click of a button. “All of this will be secured via a two- or three-factor authentication to help improve trust between shopper and retailer. Finance to support these types of purchases will be close to instant, too, to help make the entire customer experience as smooth and as seamless as possible.” In association with
  9. 9. A s a cutting-edge fashion retailer popular with young, tech-savvy consumers, Pretty Green generates a sig- nificant proportion of its sales online. As such the label, founded in 2009 by Liam Gallagher, has had to deal with the unique set of challenges that face online fashion retailers. Chief among these is the inability of shoppers to physically engage with the productbeforepurchaseand,inparticu- lar, the impossibility of trying on a gar- ment before they buy. The upshot is online conversion rates for clothing retailers are typically well below high street conversion rates of 20% to 25%, while returns are also higher. each key garment from the range in every available size. Each permutation is then photographed at high speed while FitBot runs rapidly through thousands of different body shapes. Now, when a shopper comes to decide the size of garment they want to buy, all they need do is input a few basic measurements (height, neck, chest, waist, arm length) and they get to see exactly how the garment will look on their exact body size and shape when the item is delivered. The shopper can choose to see how other sizes will look, giving a looser or tighter fit, and will be warned where the fit may be unsatisfactory, such as in the sleeve length or collar size. The deployment of the virtual fitting room has already delivered some impressive results. In the first six months of 2012, Pretty Green’s online conversion rate soared by 62%, accord- ing to head of digital Tim Kalic. “We have tracked our savings and increased sales on a monthly basis, generating a very satisfactory return on invest- ment,” says Kalic. Question of size Pretty Green also became aware that almost three-quarters of buyers did not know the size they would need to buy to suit their style. “By enabling them to tell us their measurements, they didn’t need to know. provides these potential customers with the visual fit information they need to make a pur- chase,” says Kalic. Consumers can now buy secure in the knowledge that they are unlikely to need to return the item for reasons of fit. Indeed, 79% of all virtual fitting room users said they either would not have bought without the fitting room or would have ordered the wrong size, guaranteeing returns. And beyond the positive effects on conversion rates and returns, the implementation of technology has also been beneficial to Pretty Green’s brand loyalty. “As our custom- ers will receive the garment that fits them as expected, they will be more likely to return and purchase again with confidence,” explains Kalic. Measureofsuccess With an eye on rising levels of online sales, menswear retailer Pretty Green wanted to find a solution to these prob- lems. In August 2011, it contacted about deploying its virtual fit- ting room solution in its online store. Two months later the software-as-a- service solution was up and running and already having a positive effect on conversion rates by giving Pretty Green customers the confidence to purchase clothes having already seen a visual demonstration of fit. Doing the FitBot To create Pretty Green’s image data- base,’s sophisticated robotic mannequin – a FitBot – is dressed in “customers will Be more likely to return anD purchase again with conFiDence” Tim Kalic, Pretty Green Menswear retailer Pretty Green has seen its online conversion rates soar since deploying’s virtual fitting room solution, writes Nick Hughes EcommErcE in fAshion VirtuAl fitting 10 retail week October 2012 gives Pretty Green’s online customers the confidence to buy Customers can see how an item will fit them by typing in a few measurements
  10. 10. October 2012 retail week The virtual fitting room helps boost the profitability of online clothing retailers. Knowing exactly how clothes viewed online are going to fit in the real world gives customers increased confidence to buy, improving conversion rates by up to 62% and decreasing garment returns by up to 35%. counts many well-known retailers among its customers, including Barbour By Mail, Boden, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gilt Groupe, Hawes & Curtis, Otto, Pretty Green and Thomas Pink. has won numerous awards for its virtual fitting room technology and is named by Vogue magazine in its 2012 Online Fashion 100 as one of the most influential names in digital fashion. Please contact us for further information: Email: Web: Tel: +44 (0)845 528 0570
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