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Online retailers want to get the measure of consumers

03 October 2013 - 09:41 by Paul Tissington

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Millions of Brits buy clothing online and a significant proportion will then return the products they pick up because they do not fit, or are unsuitable in some other way.

It has become easier to return items without incurring a financial penalty for doing so, thanks to industry regulations, but of course with all the people taking advantage of returns policies, retailers are having to foot the bill for delivery and collection, which eats into profits.

Reuters reports that fashion outlets are attempting to combat this by getting people to part ways with their measurements when they buy online, so that they can be matched with the most appropriately sized garments.

Some people might feel anxious about giving away such personal information, but surely if it leads to a better online fashion experience with less need to return products then it is good for everyone?

ASOS spokesperson, Nick Robertson, revealed that if returns dropped by just a single percentage point, the company would instantly save ten million pounds.

There are all sorts of additional costs associated with dealing with items which are returned via safe shopping online, particularly when it comes to seasonal products that litter the fashion industry.

Retailers are also not looking to simply charge for handling returns, but instead they are going to try and make sure that consumers order the right product in the first place.

This is easier said than done and a number of start-ups have attempted to address the sizing issue, whether by procuring the consumer's measurements or by using imaging technology to work out the right fitting.

Online fashion is about to get a lot more complicated behind the scenes, but this will, hopefully, lead to a better experience for buyers.