The urgency to solve for virtual fit, once relegated online, has extended to stores, where the pandemic has made trying on clothing more complicated.
Reopened stores are mostly contactless, meaning that fitting rooms are closed, restricted or just unappealing; 65 per cent of women feel unsafe trying on apparel in dressing rooms, according to retail predictive analytics company First Insight. Thus, shoppers are left to guess size and fit — and more inclined to adopt the buy-then-try behaviours that mimic e-commerce. The phenomenon has compromised a key value proposition for stores; fit is the top reason for online returns, which for apparel can be 40 per cent. Even before the pandemic, returns overall cost retailers one-third of their revenues annually.