In this edition of Weekly Focus Europe: £32k of Unworn Clothing Lost in Britain’s Wardrobes; New Zealand’s Biggest ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Service to Launch in Europe with UK-based Retailer; and Retailers in an Omnichannel Environment Increasingly Deploy RFID for Superior Customer Experience Management
£32k of Unworn Clothing Lost in Britain’s Wardrobes
Consumers are hoarding tens of thousands of pounds worth of clothes that they’ve never worn in their wardrobes, as revealed by the latest data from True Fit, a global data platform for the fashion industry that decodes personal style, fit, and size for millions of consumers to help them discover clothes and shoes they’ll love and keep.
Poor-fitting clothes are one of the fashion retail industry’s biggest problems; and research from over 2,000 consumers, polled as part of True Fit’s ‘Fashion Derailed’ report, showed that over a lifetime Brits will amass £32,951 worth of unworn clothing in their wardrobes because of difficulties in choosing the right size.
With British women forecast to spend £29.4bn on clothing this year alone, nearly half of UK female shoppers (45%) admit to having bought something online that they have never worn or have only worn once (44%). And, such is the frustration with fit fluctuation, that over three-quarters of women (77%) now say they choose not to purchase clothing online because they are unsure of what size to buy; and half (50%) purposely avoid certain retailers because the fit and sizing of their clothes is so unpredictable.
And this poor fit epidemic, True Fit’s data suggests, extends beyond women’s wardrobes. With only one-in-two (44%) of the UK’s garments fitting them properly, the average Brit admits they only wear three-quarters (74%) of the clothing in their wardrobes. When it came to getting the right fit, jeans proved the trickiest item to shop for online, for both men (15%) and women (21%), followed by trousers (12%), boots (5%), dresses (4%), and heels (4%).
Lars Rabe, a business leader and fashion expert at True Fit, commented: “There is so much disparity in retailers’ sizing – with consumers’ clothing fluctuating several dress sizes depending on where they shop, for example – it is leaving many shoppers confused and frustrated when shopping for fashion online. And it’s not just bad for consumer confidence, it’s also bad for the retailers themselves. Not only might they lose out on sales and erode customer loyalty, but they may also end up bearing the cost of fulfilling redundant items and orders.”
Romney Evens, chief product and marketing officer, True Fit, adds: “The fact that half of the female consumers we polled avoid certain retailers due to inconsistencies in style, fit, and sizing is a clear indication of the confidence gap consumers face when shopping for fashion online. If retailers make recommendations for customers based on what they believe their average consumer would prefer, they are making that customer conform to an imaginary and inaccurate concept. This is where sophisticated AI technology can help – true one-to-one personalisation is needed to satisfy and delight consumers. This means making recommendations for that individual customer, not for people similar to them. Consumers are demanding an easier experience, and it’s exciting to see leading retailers adopting this capability.”
New Zealand’s Biggest ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Service to Launch in Europe with UK-based Retailer
Laybuy, New Zealand’s biggest ‘buy now, pay later’ service will soon be launching in Europe with a major-UK based retailer. Last week, the company released a study that revealed that the takings from the first four days of December trading are eaten up by the staggering cost of returns.
Data collated by Laybuy shows that, in 2017, alongside the annual December increase in purchasing, came a sky-high rate of returns,The research also revealed that retailers lost £2.2bn, on average, during the Christmas shopping period last year due to the total number of items returned to retailers and the cost to process each one. That’s as much as ASOS PLC’s global annual turnover (£2.4bn to Aug 2018). Plus, a further £510m was spent by brands simply to process that volume of returns.
Laybuy renamed 5 December ‘Revenue Returns Day’ – i.e. the first day in December that UK retailers will actually make any money.
Despite launching in New Zealand just 18 months ago, 5% of the country’s voting population (200,000 people) has already signed up to the company’s platform and Laybuy has forged partnerships with 3,000+ online and physical stores.
Retailers in an Omnichannel Environment Increasingly Deploy RFID for Superior Customer Experience Management
The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) has caused a sea change in the buying patterns of customers and, by extension, the market strategies of retailers. E-commerce and m-commerce have virtually transformed every store into a distribution centre; and retailers need to adopt technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID), videos, cameras, and data analytics to keep track of inventory in each outlet and, eventually, enhance customer experience management.
Ram Ravi, industry analyst for industrials, Frost & Sullivan, comments: “Retailers are looking to empower their mobile workforce to enrich customers’ purchase experience; and this will augment investments in technologies such as handheld readers and smart point-of-sale (PoS) solutions. RFID sales will get a further boost from the intensifying focus on loss prevention, inventory management, and customer behaviour analysis.”
Frost & Sullivan’s recent study, ‘Analysis of Growth & Security of the Global RFID Market in Retail, Forecast to 2022’, thoroughly examines the competitive structure and presents the market shares of the leading companies. The study includes forecasts, product analyses, market drivers and restraints, industry challenges, and key growth opportunities for the RFID tags, readers, and middleware segments.
“To cater to the changing retail environment, system integrators need to develop partnerships with data analytics and cloud service vendors”, noted Ravi. “The growing interest in item-level tagging in the retail industry will further augment RFID demand.”
RFID vendors are leveraging the rise of IoT and pursuing opportunities addressing retailers’ pain points by:
- Investing in technology to enhance shopper experience by empowering the mobile workforce and incorporating big data analytics to analyse customer behaviour patterns and enable targeted marketing. Retailers will also apply this technology to boost employee efficiency.
- Focusing on strengthening security to enhance privacy.
- Ensuring a successful implementation by focusing on performance-related parameters such as antenna design, chip size, and storage size.
- Shifting focus from in-store inventory management to total stock visibility to meet the requirements of omnichannel retailing.
Analysis of Growth & Security of the Global RFID Market in Retail, Forecast to 2022 is part of Frost & Sullivan’s global Automatic Identification & Security Growth Partnership Service programme. For further information on this analysis, click here.