The holiday shopping season is here, and that means a welcome increase in traffic for fashion e-commerce. However, with physical fitting rooms closed, the ingredients are there for record levels of customer returns.
Even during the best of times, retailers consistently lose a third of their revenue to returns - and these are not the best of times. During the pandemic, fashion-focused merchants have been hugely affected as customers swap in-store dressing rooms for the privacy of their own homes. ROI Revolution notes that “Global retail sales are expected to dip by 5.7% this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Online purchases of clothing, however, are up 76.7%, with online revenue up 22.2% – but average order value down 54.5%”.
Here are our top ideas to help fashion retailers be more sustainable and resourceful to combat high return rates in the current climate.
Increase user reviews and engagement
The growth of e-commerce has created new standards in retail. However, there is still nothing that can quite replicate physically holding a product in your hand. Because of this gap, three times as many products are returned after an online purchase than in-store which hurts the environment, wastes resources and limits profit.
User-generated content is a direct line to the consumer and therefore a great resource for learning more about your customers and how they feel about your products — and to surface product issues before returns become a larger problem.
Forrester research shows that over 70 percent of fashion retailers are trying to personalize the online shopping experience. One way to do this is to display content from influencers or customers on your store’s website to inspire shoppers.
Retailers can choose to incorporate a “Shop the Look” page, displaying their items worn by influencers or current customers to encourage shoppers to browse further and provide inspiration as they can see the item on someone like themselves. User-generated content can help not only with establishing social proof for brands, but also to underline a more authentic brand image.
Another proven way to increase customer engagement is to show your customer what your clothing will look like on them before they buy…
Use Online Try-On
One of the most damaging impacts of the pandemic on retailers has been the fact that customers have lost the ability to try before they buy. Luckily, technology in this area has been on the rise. While the idea of virtual clothing try-on has been around for a while, no one has quite got the details right, until recently.
By adding technology such as Zyler’s online try-on to the shopping experience, shoppers can see themselves in clothing like never before. A digital representation of the product has been shown to boost shopper purchase confidence and avoid unnecessary and costly returns. Zyler adjusts sleeve and hem lines and will match skin tone and dress size as well as height. Users will then be more likely to share these avatars with friends and family on social media, adding more user-generated content for free.
Use High-quality Photos and Videos (Detailed Product photography & Description)
High-quality images do not only look good on a retailer website, but they are also more likely to produce high-quality results when using online try-on technology. With fast internet now widely available, high-resolution images should not be a problem on either end for the customer.
Companies such as Zyler work best with high-quality images and standard model poses. When online try-on is integrated into a retailer’s website with quality images, the shopper is more likely to convert their sale, as they are more confident and excited about the item.
To complement the visuals, be sure to add detailed product description such as features, style and fit, material composition and model measurements to ensure that shoppers receive exactly what they expect, further decreasing the likelihood of returns.
To find out more about Zyler, go to www.zyler.com