Even the most devoted online shoppers will probably say that buying apparel online can be challenging due to sizing. Some sellers, like Zappos, try to get around this issue with benefits like free shipping both ways, but the extra time required for exchanges may be irritating.
Large online stores often fall short with providing sizing information due to blanket sizing charts. For example, J.C. Penney uses size charts based on category (misses, plus, tall and petite) but across multiple brands, it’s likely no two brands will fit the same.
While easy return or exchange policies reduce the pain, you can prevent some of it from happening in the first place with accurate size information. When communicating sizing of products, keep the following in mind.
Show shoppers how to measure in order to make better decisions about the size they choose. Key measurements include the bust/chest, waist, hips and inseam. It also helps to show what measurements fall in what range for both numbered and lettered sizes.
It also may help to guide the customer into measuring an article of clothing they already own, laid flat, in order to help them decide.
If you have the ability to use multiple measurement scales (e.g. inches and centimetres), do so. This accommodates customers globally. These customers will also appreciate mentions of international sizing.
For example, a U.S. 6 can translate to a U.K. or Australian 10.
If you carry multiple brands, try to get as specific as possible with size charts. Getting the information from the brand itself can make your customers’ decisions easier.
Mentioning how the garment is supposed to fit (i.e. skinny, straight-legged, bootcut, and relaxed pants) can also be helpful for shoppers as they can have another reference point. These details are another great way to provide information; e.g. describing the rise of the pant as slightly below the waist or at the waist, instead of saying 8” or 10” rise, can help the customer.
Body types play a big role in how the item will fit as well. For example, women’s body types are commonly referred to as different shapes, like pear, apple, rectangle, hourglass, or inverted triangle. If there is information about the body type and shape, that should be supplied.
When it comes to shoes, measurements can only go so far. Comparing smaller brands to more well known ones can help those looking to buy. Alternatively, be clear if shoes run “true to size” or differently.
For example, Zappos notes when customers should adjust the size of shoe they buy in their product information. These statements are usually supported by data collected from their customers. Other retailers, like Crocs, have used printable size charts for customers to measure themselves. It’s no Brannock device, but it can get the job done.
Not every brand provides the information necessary to make the right decision. Many shoppers will use customer reviews to gauge how an item will fit as the people’s experiences can be the most valuable to your consumer. If you collect reviews for your products, make sure that you ask how the purchaser felt the sizing was — not all customers will remember to mention this.
In short — the more that you can provide your potential shoppers, the better! If they’re equipped with the right information from the get go, they don’t have to search around and potentially wind up at your competitors.