Customers that use Henri Lloyd’s virtual fitting room to check the fit of garments before they complete checkout have a garment returns rate – for any reason – of just 4.5%, compared to a returns rate of 15.3% for shoppers that choose not to use the virtual fitting room before buying.
Virtual fitting rooms are widely acknowledged to reduce the garment returns rates for online retailers. In reality, authenticated statistics and case studies on the subject are rare. The primary reason for this is that remarkably few multichannel retailers have systems in place that enable them to cross-reference a returned item with its original point of sale.
Henri Lloyd, however, is one of those that do have such systems in place – and doing so has enabled its commercial director, Graham Allen, to prove the impact of its Fits.me Virtual Fitting Room solution on its garment returns rates.
He said: “Our customers generally know the design and manufacturing quality they’re buying, so we don’t get many returns for those reasons. The stats we’re getting are overwhelming evidence that our virtual fitting room almost entirely removes the last remaining genuine reason – ‘fit’ – for why our shoppers might choose to return clothes, and as a result it has smashed the overall returns rate.
“Using the Fits.me Virtual Fitting Room is still an optional part of the purchase journey, so now we will look at raising the proportion of shoppers that visit the virtual fitting room. We’re going to look at putting the virtual fitting room button in more places, and at how to make it more prominent too.
“There is some analysis to do on whether we make passing through the virtual fitting room the standard customer journey, and make skipping it – rather than using it – optional. For that extra click we could almost certainly slash our returns rates for a much larger proportion of our customers, and therefore generate a much bigger impact on our bottom line,” he said.