A recent article on the BBC showed the future of online clothing retail… the ability to try before you buy in a virtual way. Watch it here.
This sort of technology or it’s predecessors has been around for a while, but is still yet to make it into the mainstream. We think content and particularly data is one of the major obstacles. Here’s why…
As the article points out, up to 1 in 3 clothing items bought online is returned and many of these are destroyed. This compares to 5-10% for non clothing products.
Obviously if customers had a better idea of size, style, fit, colour, feel etc. it would go a long way to ensuring that customers got what they wanted first time… leaving everyone happier.
But to achieve this requires great product content. Images, copy and data.
Images on model with reference to the models size, with accurate colour representation are a basic requirement . Video will also help customers understand the flow of the fabric, the fit and the go a long way to compensate for not being able to touch the product. Almost all major online clothing retailers now use video as standard. Though it is yet to make much headway in Australia.
Copy helps bring the product to life, especially for those that need some help with occasion and associated products. Not only does it help conversion, but will help increase basket size with recommendations to complete “a look”.
And then there is data… Customers are getting increasingly overwhelmed with choice. Noordstrom for example has over 3500 dresses across 135 pages. Where is a girl to start? So some form of recommendation engine is increasingly required and sites such as dressipi.com have a role to play.
But these recommendations engines simply do not work unless products are attributed e.g. Cut:Slim Fit, Length:Mini. Music recommendation engines can perform analysis on the rhythm , volume, and variability in a song to produce “similar” songs. However this can only really be done using colour on clothing. To perform analysis on products and return items that are likely to fit a customer need, you need to measure the items against attributes that people are interested in.
This requires discipline and effort. We know, we do this for a living. As a consequence, with all the pressures buyers already face, and the limitation in existing systems, it is rarely done. But customers will reward you for helping them find what they are looking for.
If you want to chat about how our virtual product information management system can help you manage all this data, without upgrading your own systems, please get in touch.