On­line cloth­ing re­tail­ers mod­ify prod­ucts

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - BUSINESS NEWS/FOREIGN -

BERLIN — Mod­els test­ing fash­ion brands like Adi­das, Benet­ton and Gap are find­ing that al­most a third of the shoes and clothes they try on are big­ger or smaller than the size on the la­bel in­di­cates, ex­plain­ing why many clothes bought on­line are sent back.

Cal­cu­lat­ing sizes more ac­cu­rately could help on­line re­tail­ers like Ger­many’s Za­lando and Bri­tain’s ASOS cut costly re­turns and im­prove cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion.

“If you try on the same brand in a dif­fer­ent colour it is some­times a dif­fer­ent size,” Za­lando fit­ting model Sav­ina Bel­lotto said as she squeezed a foot into a stiletto shoe with a shiny sil­ver buckle that dug into her an­kle.

Dis­count­ing to shift stock means fash­ion re­tail­ers are strug­gling to pre­serve profit mar­gins, and ASOS’s warn­ing of a ma­jor down­turn caused re­tail shares to tum­ble.

Tar­get­ing re­turns, fast fash­ion firms like Zara and H&M have in­tro­duced soft­ware that sug­gests sizes for on­line cus­tomers. Cus­tomers type in height and weight, which are pro­cessed along­side his­toric data on pur­chases and re­turns.

“It’s a big bur­den for the re­tailer,” said Nivin­dya Sharma, di­rec­tor of re­tail strat­egy at trend fore­caster WGSN.

“Free re­turns started off as be­ing a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage but now they’re the norm.”— Reuters.

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