The biggest problem of the ecommerce fashion industry

Year by year we can observe a huge increases in fashion sales. Online sales are slowly becoming the most important part of fashion companies’ revenues. But the Internet creates kind of a wall, which is slowing the whole process and contains us from successful shopping.

In the recent years, fashion and apparel has become the fastest growing e-commerce category and the second largest after consumer electronics, growing form $375.6 billion in 2012 to $481 billion last year. Analysts predicts that the revenue will reach over $700 billion by 2022.

Buying clothes online means that we are not able to try them on and make sure the size fits us. This is why fashion companies have to struggle with a huge percentage of returned products (especially in the winter holiday season), which is something between 30-50% of the whole sales, which causes tremendously high costs connected not only with a return shipping, but also other processes needed to get the product back to the stock. Returns are growing even faster than the revenues, increasing 94.8% over the most recently measured five-year period. Moreover, over 4B pounds of returned apparel end up in landfills annually.

“What we hope to do with technology is make that growth rate slower.” Said Roger Graell, director of e-commerce at Spain’s Mango, which expects to make at least one-fifth of sales online by 2020.

Since 2012 there was plenty of startups which were trying to solve the problem with size fitting. Millions of dollars were invested in projects which were making kind of virtual fitting rooms (Avametric, Fitiquette), 3D scanners (Body Labs, Nettelo) and AI based algorithms (Virtusize, Pixibo). Most of them do not survive these days.

However, in 2016 three Ukrainian engineers created a technology, which allows people to scan their bodies using a smartphone’s camera. Their startup (called 3DLook) is implementing its technology to fashion retailers’ online stores. Thanks to that customers are able to measure themselves by taking 2 photos (from the front and from the side) and thanks to that can find out what is the perfect size for them. Technology is simply comparing customer’s measurement with producer’s size table.

3DLook claims to use advanced machine learning, AI and image processing to achieve their results. Recently, they got funding of $1 million for further development. Their technology can be a huge step forward successful apparel online shopping and, according to my research, fashion retailers hope it to be so.

And what is your opinion on this case? How many times did you buy a wrong size of some new clothes? Do you think that such technology is going to solve this problem? Let me know down below!

 

Sources:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-onlineapparel-returns-focus/online-clothing-retailers-hunt-for-better-fit-to-cut-costly-returns-idUSKCN1OK1E2

https://www.ted.com/talks/aparna_mehta_where_do_your_online_returns_go?language=en#t-98979

https://www.retaildive.com/news/forrester-online-fashion-spending-outpaces-overall-digital-sales/522227/

https://independentretailer.com/2018/12/27/ecommerces-serial-return-problem/

https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/fashion-tech/can-technology-solve-fit-problem-fashion-e-commerce

https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/ecommerce-fashion-industry

https://techcrunch.com/2018/07/30/body-scanning-app-3dlook-raises-1-million-to-measure-your-corpus/

https://3dlook.me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ryłko Jakub

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4 thoughts on “The biggest problem of the ecommerce fashion industry

  1. Avatar Sajewicz Marta says:

    I think that such technology is very much needed nowadays when we buy online more often. It can certainly solve the problem of clothing returns and has a positive impact on both, customers and sellers. Customers get what they want and sellers reduce the costs associated with returns and exchange of clothes. I hope that this technology will soon become widely used by online sellers.

    • Avatar Ryłko Jakub says:

      Actually, sellers will achieve far more than only reducing the costs associated with returns – customer satisfaction. If customer is happy with their purchase, he or she will probably return to the seller to make another purchases. Furthermore, the product which is not returned is a sold product, which means that fashion producers will not only cut their costs but also increase their revenue.

  2. Avatar Cendrowicz Kamil says:

    To be honest when I think about it I am shocked that no giant from fashion industry has thought of that yet! I don’t event count the times I ordered something and it didn’t fit. This solution would solve that problem immediately. Shoutout to Ukrainian engineers who created such a simple solution to complicated problem.

  3. Avatar Garścia Janusz says:

    Really interesting idea. The only problem is that it should have been introduced earlier. Ordering clothes online is very troublesome due to the fact of not knowing how the clothes fit. With this the potential of sales will skyrocket. Given that this is introduced, I wonder if we can take it to the next step and introduce VR to e-commerce so you can see yourself with the clothes rendered in a 3d world.
    Idea is awesome but it doesn’t also eliminate the feeling-factor of how the clothes feel and what they’re made of.

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