Is Inadequate Online Sizing Technology Driving Customers Away?

New research reveals that shoddy online sizing technology is frustrating UK shoppers.

Designing and creating children clothes at home
Voice of the CustomerInsights

Published: July 7, 2023

Rhys Fisher

According to a recent study, the vast majority of UK consumers do not trust existing online sizing technology to accurately predict their body size.

Conducted by sizing specialist, Makip, 2,000 UK-based online shoppers were surveyed to understand their experience of online sizing technology, with the results overwhelmingly suggesting that the current digital sizing solutions are not up to scratch.

Indeed, almost half of UK online shoppers (48%) who have used online sizing technology to predict their body size, found the fit of the item to be wrong.

Undoubtedly, the major issue outlined by respondents is inconsistencies – both from brand-to-brand and website-to-website – with the following revealed to be the top two reasons behind shoppers’ distrust:

  • Three-quarters (75%) say the sizes are inconsistent between brands.
  • Almost two-thirds (60%) do not believe the technology can be accurate because every website seems to use a different system.

But why is this such a concern for online retailers, and what does it mean for digital CX?

One size fits none

It will come as no surprise that clothes not fitting is the number one reason for customer returns, with 93% of consumers citing incorrect sizing, or fit, as the top reason for returning items.

The inconsistencies and inaccuracies of existing online sizing technology, is forcing customers to order multiple items of clothing across different sizes to try on at home.

Although this may feel fairly commonplace in today’s digital retail landscape, it is a major issue for businesses as it eats into profits, dents consumer confidence and sees a large majority of unused clothing ending up in landfill.

The damage to consumer confidence is particularly prescient to CX. The major advantage of digital shopping is the ability to order and receive your items from the comfort of your own home. Whether that’s because you need to fit it around a busy social or work life, or because you don’t want to make the trip into the nearest shopping mall/town centre.

In not providing adequate and accurate sizing technology and forcing customers to potentially return multiple items every time they make a purchase, companies are removing the ease and comfort that is their core appeal, and seriously damaging the customer experience.

Whilst this is the key concern for digital retailers, they should not overlook the reputational damage that can accompany businesses with a high carbon footprint.

As President of Makip, Shingo Tsukamoto, so succinctly puts it: “Retailers are on the brink of starting a customer service crisis of their own making.

“If online sizing technology does not accurately portray how a clothing item will fit the unique body size of the consumer at the time of purchase – how can the retailer hold the shopper responsible for returning an item of clothing that doesn’t fit correctly when they try it on at home?”

Retailers are on the brink of starting a customer service crisis of their own making.

As discussed in a recent MyCustomer article on the merger of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour and the PGA Tour, now more than ever, customers expect strong ethical practices and stances from their brands.

In having a subpar sizing system in place that results in unused clothing ending up in landfills, businesses run the risk of alienating customers. This is particularly problematic for businesses with a large percentage of younger customers, with gen z having an increased interest in the social responsibility of brands they shop with.

It is clear that online clothes shopping is now the norm for many UK customers – due in part to the impact of the pandemic, as well as the time-saving nature of it – however, retailers should not take this for granted.

If they do not address these sizing issues soon, they may find that more and more customers will start returning to brick-and-mortar stores to avoid dealing with the frustrations of the returns process.

A point accentuated by Tsukamoto: “Retailers need to tackle the problem of providing consistently accurate online sizing for consumers by improving their use of technology. By doing so, shoppers can virtually ‘try on’ clothing items with confidence before making a purchase.

“Ultimately, retailers need to get their heads out of the sand and take proactive steps to support their customers, giving them the confidence that their newest fashion purchase will fit as expected.”

MyCustomerUser Experience

Share This Post