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An app which allows customers to find more accurate information about the shoe size they need to order has managed to reduce fit-related returns rates by 23%

US retailer Running Warehouse has been using the Shoefitr app on its product pages since 2010, and the tool has been very popular with consumers. 

By reducing fit-related returns, the app has enabled Running Warehouse to increase its profit margins by 2.5%. 

Previously, around 65% of the retailer returns were due to size related issues, but now 20% of orders come in from customers that have used the app. 

According to Running Warehouse CEO Joe Rubio: 

Anything that improves the shopping experience for the customer is a huge bonus. Shoefitr increases the confidence customers have in ordering a product correctly, thus making the buying decision easier. It also has helped decrease our return rate which positively affects our bottom line.

The Shoefitr app uses a database of internal shoe measurements, acquired using 3D imaging technology, which allow it to compare the size and shape of a shoe a shopper is currently wearing, to one she wants to buy.

The app is embedded into Running Warehouse's product pages: 

It then asks shoppers to enter details about their current running shoe, so the app can compare the fit:

The results the recommend the best size, and the customer can then see more detail about the fit, and compare it with other sizes:

Buying shoes and clothes online can never quite match the in-store experience, and one of the main issues with this is that it can be hard to gauge the fit and feel of products. 

According to stats, the average returns rate for online fashion retailers ranges from 17% to 25%. For Zappos, with an easy returns policy it's 25%. One of the major factors is sizing. 

There is plenty retailers can do to minimise the problem, such as offering detailed images, videos and information which allow shoppers to form a better picture of the fit. 

Online 'fitting room' tools are one way to do this, such as the one used by sojeans, though they aren't always successful. 

Graham Charlton

Published 16 May, 2012 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

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Tim Leighton-Boyce, Analyst at CxFocus

There's a very relevant post by Kevin Hillstrom on the impact on profit of returns rate here:

http://blog.minethatdata.com/2012/05/time-to-sell-fundamentals.html

The numbers make a compelling case.

about 4 years ago

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snowtoast

From our experience Shoefitr works. We have multiple front end stores on our website (vivobarefoot.com) – one for UK, US and EU. We integrated Shoefitr on our US store and our return rate is lower, by 10%, compared with the other stores. We're now following suit on our other stores.

about 4 years ago

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Ed Lamb

What a brilliant example of helping users to the benefit of your business. It would be interesting to know the impact on search positions - I bet this content is getting recommended and linked to and SEO rankings will have improved, driving additional business. If this content wasn't being actively promoted to the relevant influencers then they missed a chance to get even better returns.

about 4 years ago

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