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ASOS introduces new fit tool to cater to wider range of shapes and reduce returns

ASOS's new fit tool
ASOS’s new fit tool

British retailer ASOS is rolling out a sizing tool that combines machine learning with a visual questionnaire in a bid to cater to a wider range of customer shapes, as well as reduce returns. At present, almost half of the items bought online are sent back, mainly due to incorrect fit.

The fit assistant, which works both on the retailer’s app and e-commerce site, goes beyond the shopper’s weight and height to take into account different body shapes. It asks for the tummy and hip shape (with options that range from straighter to wider), age and bra size, plus the fit the customer is looking for: tighter, average, or looser.

The brand is using machine learning to blend questionnaire data with recommendations based on the customer’s previous purchases and returns, as well as what sizes other customers with similar body shape were happy with. The same technology is being used in features like ‘Your Edit’, ‘Style Match’ and the ‘You Might Also Like’ carousel on product pages.

ASOS's new fit tool
ASOS’s new fit tool

Excessive returns and the pressure this puts on fulfilment and ultimately profit is one of e-commerce’s biggest problems, therefore this feature is likely going to have a major impact on the bottom line. In the UK, 47% of items bought online are returned, according to a study from Barclaycard released in earlier this year. UK shoppers have even earned the title of “serial returners,” as £7bn worth of purchases are sent back every year, leading to a ‘phantom economy’ of lost revenue for retailers. Returns and refunds have risen at four in ten online stores selling fashion, footwear, and accessories since 2016.

Additionally features like ‘Try Before You Buy’ can also trigger a flood of returns. Globally, 25% of retailers will roll out this feature by 2019, but a report from Brightpearl looking at the US market shows that most aren’t ready for the proliferation of returns that could quadruple return costs for retailers. For example in 2017 alone, total merchandise returns accounted for more than $351 billion in lost sales for US retailers.

Fit tools for online shopping may not be new, but so far they have done little to prove their effectiveness in preventing returns. However from a customer retention standpoint, tools that enable e-commerce consumers to shop more confidently will only help instil a further sense of loyalty and trust, which in turn will hopefully translate to a happy purchase.

How are you thinking about e-commerce? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners for your innovation strategy. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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e-commerce Editor's pick

La Perla launches try-before-you-buy e-commerce experience

La Perla
La Perla

Luxury lingerie brand La Perla is introducing Try & Buy, a service enabling shoppers to try on items at home for 48 hours, before committing to purchase.

The aim is to make it easier for consumers to try-on multiple sizes, experiment with new styles and discover the brand all from the comfort of their homes, without the need to pay anything upfront. Over the course of two days, they can decide what they do and don’t like, and then easily order a free pick-up to return anything they opt not to keep.

“What we do at La Perla is design our pieces from the inside out. We use our lingerie expertise to put bras in our clothing and tailor garments to enhance figures perfectly. Helping our customer discover their perfect fit is our main priority and Try & Buy provides the freedom to do this in the comfort of their own home. It is a remarkable way to bring the world of La Perla closer to the customer,” said Julia Haart, creative director of the brand.

The brand believes its customer is craving a physical experience, and that this service enables them to have a convenient and personal experience in the same way that they would in-store. Importantly, it also breaks down the initial financial barrier on items that range from $500-$1,500.

Try & Buy is available on desktop and mobile in the US and Europe (including the UK, France, Germany and Italy) in time for the holiday season. It will next roll out across all 40 countries where the brand has an online presence.

La Perla follows in the footsteps of the likes of Net-a-Porter and more recently ASOS, both of which offer a try-before-you-buy service. Net-a-Porter’s ‘You Try, We Wait’ version is for its top tier customers, and keeps the courier on hand while the shopper selects what they want to keep. It also has an enhanced experience based on a personal shopper coming for at-home appointments. ASOS at the lower end of the market, on the other hand, offers a 30-day try-on period.

La Perla is also looking at broader technology enhancements for its customer experience ahead, including a two-hour delivery service in major cities, 24-hour live chat with stylists and a virtual fitting room for shoppers, showcasing their inventory of previous La Perla purchases.

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business digital snippets e-commerce film mobile product social media sustainability technology

What you missed: Ralph Lauren’s Instagram Stories, Apple’s augmented reality, brand activations at NYFW

Ralph Lauren on Instagram - Instagram Stories
Ralph Lauren on Instagram

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the past week.


TOP STORIES
  • Decoding the digital strategy behind Ralph Lauren’s ‘garage’ show [BoF]
  • Apple shows off breathtaking new augmented reality demos [The Verge]
  • Apple’s new Animojis are the latest sign that brands need to embrace augmented reality [AdWeek]
  • 7 of the smartest brand activations so far at NYFW [PSFK]

BUSINESS
  • Should Amazon buy Nordstrom next? [Recode]
  • The modern luxury supply chain is log jammed at the front door of your apartment building [LeanLuxe]
  • Kering and LVMH draft charter on models’ well-being [The Fashion Law]
  • Everlane founder Michael Preysman: ‘Denim is a really dirty business’ [Glossy]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Cath Kidston collaborates with Pinterest on “Colour” QR codes [The Industry]

MARKETING
  • Matchesfashion.com to launch daily content with Style Daily [The Industry]
  • AI is so hot right now researchers are posing for Yves Saint Laurent [The Verge]
  • Rodarte’s Laura and Kate Mulleavy on their first feature film [The Impression]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • To save retail, let it die [BoF]
  • Amazon’s 1-click patent is about to expire. What’s the big deal? [NPR]
  • Alibaba to open ‘More Mall,’ a physical mall connecting online shoppers in China [Jing Daily]
  • eBay launches new digital concept to mark New York Fashion Week [Fashion United]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Data from your clothing could soon earn you digital currency thanks to this blockchain integration [Forbes]
  • How AI is transforming the shopping experience based on the images consumers look at online [AdWeek]

PRODUCT
  • Nike to launch custom shoes in less than 90 minutes [Fashion United]
  • Adidas has created a pair of beer-repellent shoes [PSFK]
Categories
business data digital snippets e-commerce Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: LVMH e-commerce, Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the role of personalisation

LVMH is launching a new e-commerce site under CDO Ian Rogers
LVMH is launching a new e-commerce site under CDO Ian Rogers

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the past week.


TOP STORIES
  • LVMH and the next big digital shopping experience [NY Times]
  • In Copenhagen, gearing up for a circular fashion system [BoF]
  • Surprise surprise, the fashion industry isn’t as sustainable as it should be – report [High Snobiety]
  • The heartbeat of modern marketing: Data activation and personalisation [McKinsey]
  • From farm to finished garment: Blockchain is aiding this fashion collection with transparency [Forbes]
  • How custom footwear retailer Shoes of Prey cut its delivery time to two weeks [Glossy]

BUSINESS
  • Coach confirms acquisition of Kate Spade [The Industry]
  • American Apparel to let shoppers choose US-made clothing [Retail Dive]
  • In global retailing, does the ‘see-now, buy-now’ model really work? [Thomson Reuters]
  • Hudson’s Bay taps debt adviser amid Neiman Marcus bid challenges [Reuters]
  • How clothing brands are embracing transparency to meet the growing demand for sustainable apparel [AdWeek]

MARKETING
  • Tiffany & Co. takes direct aim at Trump in new ad calling for action on climate change [Business Insider]
  • The prioritisation of personalisation [Glossy]
  • What you don’t know about American millennials [BoF]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • It’s more than Amazon: Why retail is in distress now [CNBC]
  • Amid brick-and-mortar travails, a tipping point for Amazon in apparel [NY Times]
  • What China reveals about the future of shopping [BCG]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Jeff Bezos: Artificial intelligence permeates Amazon’s business strategy [Retail Dive]

START-UPS
  • The RealReal is opening a real store in New York [TechCrunch]
Categories
business e-commerce mobile

From unorganised retail to controlled fulfilment – how Indian e-commerce is evolving

snapdeal
Snapdeal is now the third largest online marketplace in India behind Flipkart and Amazon

Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, co-founders of Indian marketplace Snapdeal, recently sat down with the team from venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz to discuss the e-commerce scene in their country.

Speaking on the a16z podcast (a must-listen if you don’t already), the group explored everything from inefficient supply chains to evolving digital payments. The conversation comes at a time when competition is heating up from international players like Amazon, as well as local market leader Flipkart. Snapdeal with its 300,000 different merchants selling everything from computers to women’s fashion (its most popular category), is now ranked third in the country.

Head on over to Forbes to read the full story; a breakdown of everything you need to know about the current marketplace e-commerce scene in India and the barriers being overcome.