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14


Future of Retail — Customer Engagement


issue 05


RETAILERS STILL BOUND BY AN 80-YEAR- OLD METRIC SYSTEM It may shock you given the innovation in retail over the past few years, but the determining factor for how consumers select the right item is based on a standardised size chart first introduced in the 1940s. The chart was introduced to meets the needs of the mass market and consumerisation by averaging the human form into a set number of dimensions. Varying little since its introduction, it remains the principal measurement system for the clothing industry. Interestingly, there is no standard sizing used


across retailers. Perhaps a surprise in some senses, it has meant that consumers take a pot luck guess at whether something will fit before they enter the changing rooms. Although this approach may initially have seemed appropriate for retailers creating clothes in bulk, the resulting consumer compromises in a digital era can now instantly damage a brand.


INCREASING CONSUMER DEMANDS MAKE ESTABLISHING FIT A PRIORITY With fierce online competition and increasing consumer demands, now seems the perfect time to re-evaluate the outdated measurement system. Fit is far more personal than size and relates much more clearly to how a garment hangs on the body and stretches with movement. Fit enables retailers to ensure that the items they design are worn and displayed in the way that they intended, leading to a much more personal connection. Fit is also growing in importance. Retailers


can now easily gain an edge by aligning with societal changes in diets, body shapes and ever-changing fashion trends. Just one of the trends is a move away from ‘traditional’ sizing, with self-tailoring enjoying a resurgence. In addition, technologies are increasingly available to help consumers engage with their sizing and preferences, leading to greater questioning of the 80-year-old measurement system. At the heart of the issue, sizing is often


voiced as the most detrimental feature to a consumer’s shopping experience. With the retail environment, both on and offline designed with military precision, consumers


With fierce online competition and increasing consumer demands, now seems the perfect time to re-evaluate the outdated measurement system.


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