eCommerce

eCommerce Size Guide: Best Practices for Fashion Brands

Are you fed up with handling a deluge of eCommerce returns because consumers order the same product in three different sizes?

You’re not alone. 

According to a 2019 report by customer experience platform Narvar, 48% of U.S. consumers report ordering more than one size of the same item to try it on at home; 46% of consumers return items because the size, fit or color is wrong.

Biting the bullet isn’t an option. As Tracy E. Robey writes at Vox: “Returned products eat into companies’ bottom lines as unwearable clothes contribute to environmental waste.”

eCommerce brands may not be able to offer shoppers the convenience of in-store dressing rooms, but you can help consumers get an accurate understanding of how your products will fit. 

A useful size guide is key. Here’s what you need to know about creating one.

What Makes a Great Size Guide

“There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution,” says Jon MacDonald, Founder and President of The Good. What works well for your site depends on what you sell and who you sell it to. Nevertheless, there are some general recommendations MacDonald makes, which include:

  • Only show sizing information for the product in question.
  • Cater to people shopping from different countries.
  • Have models wear different sizes to show the fit.

Make sure your sizing guide is mobile responsive, writes Meetanshi’s Aastha Shah. Failing to optimize it for smartphones can lead to more than just customers making incorrect size choices — they may choose to shop with a competitor instead. 

eCommerce and business consultant Pamela Hazelton says brands should take into account different body types. “Generally women fall across one of the following body types: pear, apple, rectangle, inverted triangle, or hourglass,” she says. “What looks good on an hourglass frame may look horrible on a woman who falls under pear-shaped.” If shaping details are provided by the manufacturer, Hazelton says stores must include them in both the product description and the size guide.

The location of your size guide also matters, according to research by Growth Rock’s Devesh Khanal. In an A/B test, the company found moving the size guide link closer to the size dropdown led to a 21% increase in conversion rates with 96% statistical significance.

women measures a garment; size guide best practices concept

Examples of Great Size Guides in Action

Sizing might be a headache for many eCommerce brands, but there are several examples of brands doing it well.

Burberry Fit Finder

Burberry’s Fit Finder uses several reference points to help consumers find the perfect fit, writes UX design consultant Matt Isherwood. This includes things like height, weight and age for women’s products, along with explainers so consumers understand why each question is being asked. 

“The output of the Burberry fit finder is a recommended size that the user should order but rather than just stating this, it comes with a percentage score based on what other people bought, and whether they returned it,” he explains. While the process doesn’t guarantee a perfect fit, it gives consumers as much confidence as possible in their purchase and helps them to decide whether they really need to buy another size as well. 

ThirdLove

Bra and underwear company ThirdLove uses its Fit Finder tool to help women find bras that fit. The online tool has been so successful that it’s gone through several iterations. Fit Finder 2.0 was designed to tackle the most common problems consumers were still having, writes Dan O’Shea at Retail Dive.

Research showed almost two-thirds of women have two issues with bras: the band rides up in the back and the straps slip down. “That insight led to asking about a woman’s height in the new Fit Finder, which helps ThirdLove recommend the right bra to keep her straps and band in place,” O’Shea explains. 

The company also use other brands’ sizes to help consumers find the relevant ThirdLove size. Fit Finder has led to innovations for the company, such as the creation of half-cup bra sizes.

Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix, the online personal styling service, uses a quiz to ascertain the perfect size for their clients, writes Senior Innovation Editor at Vogue Business, Maghan McDowell. “Male clients, for example, select from four different body shapes (slim, average, athletic or husky), and add details including fit challenges and ‘fit intent,’ meaning how they like their clothes to fit,” she says.

Stitch Fix doesn’t stop there, however. As it works with a range of brands (most of which aren’t in-house), it doesn’t have the benefit of standard sizing. So Stitch Fix uses data to understand how brands fit in comparison to one another. It also takes key measurements from every piece of clothing it sells. In doing so, the brand makes sure it can handpick the perfect size for clients.

Luna Sandals

You don’t necessarily have to use technology to provide users with a great size guide. Luna Sandals gives consumers the chance to double-check sizes with a shoe template, writes Econsultancy’s Nikki Gilliland. When printed at 100% scale, the guide lets consumers compare their own feet to the sandal’s actual size and includes helpful advice on how much room should be at the front and back.

“This example might seem out-dated in comparison to other digital size guides, and sure enough, it’s not exactly the most innovative,” she says. “However, it does bring a little extra fun and quirkiness to the process, as well as giving shoppers the reassurance that they’re ordering exactly the right size.”

Zappos

Zappos doesn’t rely on interactive tools to help consumers find the best fit either. Instead, it sources customer survey data to provide consumers with an idea of how well shoes are likely to fit based on what other customers have said, writes Graham Charlton at SaleCycle. The feedback includes whether the shoes are true to size and width.

women in pajamas on bed using laptop; size guide best practices concept

Use Third-Party Digital Tools to Help

You don’t have to create your own digital sizing guide to offer an effective solution. Using third-party digital sizing tools is an option that gives you the same competitive advantage. In Rakuten’s 2017 Fits Me survey, eight out of 10 retailers in the U.K. said they were aware of digital size and fit tools. Half saw them as a personalization opportunity for their brand. Despite this, 85% of respondents said they were not using this kind of software.

One such solution, Virtusize is an integrated widget that lets consumers compare the size of new purchases to items they already own. Big names in the world of fashion, like Balenciaga and Nudie Jeans, are currently clients. 

The more brands that use the platform, the better it will become. Virtusize tracks orders across retailers, writes Anya Georgijevic in The Globe and Mail. “When one buys from a Virtusize-connected retailer, that purchase is tracked and stored so that when they return, they can use that previous purchase as a reference point,” she says. “New users who have not shopped from a Virtusize partner before can tag garments they own that are also carried from any of the connected retailers or measure garments at home and start from there.”

Another solution is MySizeID, from Israel-based MySize Inc. The app lets consumers calculate their body measurements with their smartphone, writes Buzzfeed’s Genevieve Scarano at Sourcing Journal. “With the results, consumers may create an online profile of their personal measurements, which can be used with partnering retailers to determine the right fit,” she writes. “Unlike other shopping tools, the app provides consumers with results that cater to their individual measurements. The profile can also be customized to include the consumers’ favorite brands, colors, styles and other apparel preferences.”

BodyBlock AI is looking at the problem from a different angle by helping manufacturers create clothes that fit better, writes George Arnett, Data Editor at Vogue Business. “Using data gathered from the 2,000-plus scanners its parent company has installed in gyms around the world, it already counts athleticwear clients like Adidas, Athleta and Rhone,” he says. “The information informs clothing brands about the different sizes and shapes in specific geographies.” 

Images by: Patricia Serna, Kenny Luo, Charles Deluvio