Customers otherwise eager to click the Add to Cart option on product pages may need more information about their orders, but many department stores have failed to improve product pages to help customers make such decisions.
Most department stores only offer the basics, with 94% of year-over-year brands tracked in Gartner L2’s report on the topic showing products on models, and 52% now offering details on the model’s dimensions. With this in mind, customers can better understand how products might fit. At the same time, department stores have pulled back on interactive sizing guides—which declined in adoption from 46% to 30%. Belk and Very notably removed third-party interactives from their product pages—provided by TrueFit and Dressipi, respectively—while ASOS and Zappos.com still deploy their own sizing technology.
While sizing and fit information is crucial, department stores are wary of customer blowback when these tools fail to accurately size customers. Instead, department stores should provide sizing information and give customers the confidence to easily replace products that don’t fit with free in-store or online returns — information promoted by 52% of brick-and-mortar retailers on product pages. Department stores removing interactives from their sites should follow Belk’s model, continually ensuring customers’ ability to access shipping and returns information.
Though department stores reconfigure sizing interactives on site, less attention has been paid to ratings and reviews, or other features that truly inform customers about size. With robust ratings and reviews options, OTTO leads, allowing customers to filter down to different topics so as to better understand the product’s characteristics. Only 20% of studied brands, however, incorporate user-generated content into reviews—a valuable source of information for customers trying to understand what the products look like on other customers. Particularly during product discovery, showcasing a wide range of fits on similar customers can support buying decisions. That said, department stores still lag behind specialty retail and vendor brand counterparts like Nike, Rent the Runway and American Eagle—which more regularly and creatively post UGC on product pages outside of reviews, a move few department stores prioritize. Similarly, by allowing shoppers to customize the grid page to see only models wearing their size, Universal Standard also pushes transparency.
Department stores leveraging user-generated content or allowing for more transparency around product fits can help consumers weed through an ever-expanding assortment. By offering insights into realistic fitting information, department stores can build customer confidence in buying decisions.