While the pandemic drove double-digit online sales last year, and continues to fuel e-commerce growth this year, the online shopping boom is fraught with serious ecological issues — which include inventory hiccups, a strained and inefficient supply chain, and fulfillment challenges that generate waste and emit excess carbon emissions. And perhaps most damaging to the environment is a staggering number of product returns, which often ends up in landfills.
But there is a sizing solution technology, MySureFit, that not only delivers the perfect fit and accurate measurements, but can reduce those product returns by 90 percent. The technology, which integrates into retailer and brand websites, is easy to use and does not rely on self-measurements.
During last week’s Fairchild Media Group’s sustainability summit, “Sustainability Now: The Pressure Grows,” MySureFit founder and chief executive officer Christian Ruth and David Cunningham, president of brand partnerships at the company, shared insights into the sizing solution during their presentation, “Fit for Good: Making Fashion E-commerce More Sustainable.” The two executives were interviewed by Sourcing Journal’s Kate Nishimura.
With e-commerce, Cunningham said the most troubling issue is “bracketing” where consumers buy across different brands and in different sizes hoping to make a good fit with some of the items, but returning the rest. He described it as “a big strain on the environment” due to all of the packaging and the product itself, which can’t be resold and perpetually generates waste.
“Also, it’s frustrating for the customer,” Cunningham explained. “You have a customer who was so excited to receive the package in the mail, and then they get the actual package and the product doesn’t fit. Then they have to go and return it. Sometimes they come back to your site and they’ll shop again to try to rectify the situation. Other times, they go onto another brand because they’re frustrated and think that they can’t get the right fit.”
And this is where MySureFit can help.
“MySureFit is a patented technology we’ve been developing for a number of years, and essentially, a consumer can use MySureFit on any of our participating brand websites,” Ruth said. “It’s very simple. In less than 60 seconds, they can upload their photos using a voice-guided, hands-free activation process. Our technology measures that with 99 percent accuracy, and our technology platform provides fit reconciliation across brands and even across styles within the brand, with a very, very high accuracy rate. They can also visualize the items. And they can trade outfits digitally.”
Ruth said when online shoppers go to the checkout cart, “they can avoid the confusion of size selection and be free of any considerations regarding size.”
“They don’t have to see the actual size that MySureFit provides,” Ruth explained. “They just select MySureFit, and they check out, and they only get one item sent to them. They’re not having to invest in multiple sizes that pull out credit card authorizations, etc. And when they receive it, it fits them and they end up keeping it and they’re free from the frustration of the return. We believe this increases the customer loyalty and engagement with that brand or retailer.”
For brands and retailers, the solution reduces packaging waste, leans inventory levels (while eliminating markdowns on unsold items), and cuts product returns. For consumers, the platform offers the right fit — without complications.
Cunningham said the technology does not rely on self-measurements, and also includes a virtual fitting room. “In the virtual fitting room, you can see your image in the product that you’re thinking of purchasing,” he explained. “You can also send that image out to your friends and they can take a look and give feedback on it before you make that purchase.”
On the backend, sizing and style data is also used to offer brands and retailers consumer and product insights, which can help inform merchandising decisions. And the data is specific, Cunningham said, noting that the MySureFit dashboard can tell who is buying what dress “in a size four, and also down to the color level.”
“You can start looking — from a manufacturing and merchandising standpoint — not only what happened last season, when you look at sell-throughs, but basically in real-time,” he said. “So you can start making those decisions as you’re looking at developing future seasons.”