The fashion and apparel industry is about more than just selling products—it’s about selling an image, and companies invest heavily in all aspects of their brand, from the in-store experience and design to advertising and marketing efforts.
With all this focus on building their brand identity, major retailers are slowly easing in towards e-commerce solutions, since they are worried that digital solutions would dilute the brand they've worked so hard to build.
However, there has been a tremendous increase in the focus being placed on online solutions. Analytics have been increasingly utilized as a means of optimizing the supply chain and supporting product development, social media is a prime method for fostering customer engagement, and e-commerce solutions have been used to offer better payment methods and improve the overall shopping experience of the consumer.
Yet online fashion retailing is still in its infancy. Whereas online book and electronics sales account for 61% and 52% of their respective industries’ overall sales, fashion e-commerce amounts to just 14% of the overall US$ 1.3 trillion pie. Finding the balance between brand identity and online functionality is the key, and we are on the cusp of that with online apparel fitting solutions.
While other e-commerce solutions can improve the digital presence of a brand, they cannot effectively mimic the in-store shopping experience—a huge part of which is being able to try clothes on to see how they look and feel. According to Women’s Wear Daily, 70% of people don’t buy clothing online because of uncertainties about size, and while retailers offer free returns as a way of combating this issue, each return costs the retailer US$30-50, resulting in a massive decrease in profits.
Online apparel fitting rooms completely revolutionize the experience, by increasing the level of service a brand can provide in an e-commerce interaction. It combines all of the ease and flexibility of online shopping, with the customer service and experience of being in the store.
Apparel fitting solutions bring the retailer and the consumer together at a critical moment in the buying process and allowing the retailer to offer the same service to a consumer at home as they would in the fitting room in a store.
For a consumer, being able to see how an apparel item will fit enables them to shop more confidently and effectively. For a retailer, this directly leads to increased basket size and a significant decrease in returns, which combine to massively increase apparel ecommerce profits.
In a recent study where shoppers used virtual fitting room solution, basket size was increased by 52% while returns dropped from 42% to 16%. Beyond these hard sales conversion benefits, retailers using apparel fitting solutions also enjoy better customer loyalty and satisfaction, as the value added enhances their brand identity.
Fashion brands and retailers are often more resistant to adopting e-commerce solutions because of fears about how these technologies might dilute their brand’s presence online. Although, more and more brands are adopting new technologies, they are increasingly looking for white label solutions that allow them to maintain control over their website and client interface.