Finding shoppers styles that fit was an issue solved long ago, or at least addressed, by store fitting rooms. But with e-commerce only continuing to solidify its place as the preferred channel for shoppers coming out of a pandemic, size has once again become the elephant in the room – or, perhaps more accurately, consumers simply not knowing what size to order has become the elephant in the room.

One of the most problematic issues inconsistent sizing causes online is retailers suffering a massive rise in return rates. In addition to receiving many returns from unsatisfied customers who ordered a size that did not fit properly, returns are also common from customers who practice bracketing, or buying two or more sizes of an item to ensure a proper fit by mimicking the in-store try-on experience. Though even if the shopper finds an item in the order to fit well, the best-case scenario for a bracketing shopper still ends with a return. Nearly half the time, customers who don’t find the right fit the first time won’t return to a retailer—ever.

“We’re obsessed with fit,” said Christian Ruth, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at MySureFit. “We want to save brands and retailers and their customers time and money — and make sure the entire shopping experience is a positive one.”

From the brand and retailer’s side, bracketing, like other online orders that end in returns create ghost sales, which unlike in-store returns have much longer return cycle times. According to David Cunningham, president of Brand Partnerships at MySureFit, these product returns are also often out of inventory so long upon return that e-commerce sales data becomes inconsistent and unreliable.

“Returned items come back so late that they’ve already been discounted at retailer or, worse, are no longer available for sale,” said Cunningham. “Products that shoppers buy just to check the size end up in landfills once returned, making the industry’s carbon impact significantly worse.”

Moreover, he said, for brands, size is all about relativity. “Their medium top has slightly larger dimensions than their small top. Brands are manufactured in various factories all over the world, each with their own tolerance standards. Once everything makes its way to the retailer, a small may not equal a small anymore, whether in one garment or across items in one brand.”

At the same time, consumers are suffering from an ultimately negative experience — causing a waste of time and money that take away from online shopping’s promise of convenience and often result in negative impact to a shopper’s confidence.

“Size can be hard for a shopper to accept,” said Ruth. “A shopper’s belief in their own ‘size’ has become a part of their identity — how they see themselves. We’re all aware of how that has influenced vanity sizing over the years. In store, a savvy sales associate can talk a shopper through that concern, but with e-commerce, a sale just gets lost when the focus is on clicking a size that makes a shopper uncomfortable.”

Unlike other fit technologies that have entered the retail market, the consumer psyche is a key element in the consumer experience that MySureFit provides. Instead of relying on self-reported information which is inconsistent and unreliable — MySureFit’s robust platform utilizes digital analysis of uploaded imagery with AI to take “size” out of the equation and focus on “fit.”

“MySureFit offers a fully digital fit solution,” said Ruth. “Our AI-driven tech cover hundreds of unique fit points, not just waist size and sleeve length. We’re getting into the details of what makes a unique item fit a unique body. We’re obsessed with fit. And we’ve built this from the ground up as a solution for customers, brands and retailers.”

To get it right, MySureFit’s digital labs has spent the last five years developing and refining its secure app and platform. The app takes shoppers’ own fit profiles based on their digital images type and their personal preferences on how they like an item to fit and combine that with analysis of individual garments from hundreds of brands. Notably, as smartphones capabilities improve, the app is also able to receive upgrades.

Today, MySureFit has a return rate of less than 5 percent; an 8x reduction to the industry standard of seeing size-related returns at over 40 percent.

“At every turn, we’re looking to bring what shoppers love about shopping to the e-commerce experience,” said Cunningham. “That’s why we developed our virtual try-on feature. When a brand has MySureFit on their site, shoppers who have completed their Fit Profile can see what fits and how. At the individual item level on a brand’s website, right within the product item carousel, shoppers see our virtual try on feature, where they can see how that specific item will fit them, on their own MySureFit digital image, giving them the confidence to add to cart and buy.”

With a focus on fit rather than size, MySureFit activates its understanding of the consumer psyche during the actual transaction where rather than providing a recommended size, consumers are given visualization that encourages the shopper to think about sporting their new look and focusing on a confident future wearing great clothes, not the arbitrary measurement of size — allowing technology to take the ego out of the experience.

“Requiring size selection during the order process is a distraction and one more thing that a shopper has to think about on the way to make a purchase — and one more reason to not click buy,” said Ruth. “E-commerce retailers work to remove every barrier on the way to a sale. We see size as just another of those barriers in the way of getting a great-fitting items into the hands of a shopper.”

With its AI technology, every MySureFit shopper profile is also learning about personal style and fit preferences. In doing so, consumers are able to see more items that fit with their specific nuance of fit rather than seeing more of what others have liked. At the same time, MySureFit’s virtual try on was built with social media in mind. Images can be shared to social or messaging apps directly from MySureFit, making it easy for users to share looks with friends and get feedback to provide an e-commerce experience as close as possible to shopping in store.

When consumers visit their personal profile, the app remembers past purchases and makes suggestions so that there is always something new to see and encouraging shoppers to visit brands again.

“We want every purchase experience to end on a positive note,” said Ruth. “We want every shopper to feel great about how they look. That’s how new clothes are supposed to make us feel!”