As an inclusivity- and sustainability-focused women’s denim brand and online retailer, 1822 Denim is especially focused on helping consumers find the perfect fit. And so as part of its mission to help consumers purchase quality denim that fits all body types, the New York-based company partnered with 3DLOOK to refine and better leverage consumer data to increase conversions, reduce returns and improve its inventory accuracy.
The company also recently extended its two-year partnership to deploy 3DLOOK’s 2-in-1 YourFit technology to provide virtual try-on functionality and size recommendations. All told, the denim retailer has been able to reduce return rates by nearly 50%.
Tanya Zrebiec, 1822 VP of innovation and strategy, shared details with RIS about their experiences with the technology and integration, as well as perspective for other retailers seeking to improve their returns process (which, let’s face it, is just about everyone).
RIS: What were the drivers that prompted you to partner with 3DLOOK?
Zrebiec: 1822 Denim is built on three main pillars: being inclusive and accessible to all customers; being sustainable; and introducing innovative solutions to enrich user experience. We wanted to make sure that we partnered with a technology company that could help us to be more inclusive with our product offerings driven by her unique body shape and size as well as to further our sustainability efforts in reducing returns.
The only way to do that was to adopt a technology that would help us measure real data from our customers in order to provide denim that would fit their unique bodies. We have been working with 3DLOOK for two years now; in that time we have been able to collect invaluable customer data, right-size inventory levels, increase conversions, reduce returns and increase AOVs [average order value].
RIS: How have business processes changed as a result of this project?
Zrebiec: First of all, the technology has impacted our design and fit processes. We are taking a closer look at the body measurements and shape data of our shoppers that's being provided by 3DLOOK, which means that we are able to really understand what our actual shoppers look like, what their figures are and we apply that knowledge as we design and fit products.
It also has changed some of our processes on our website, which is where the widget is housed. We educate the customer on how the widget works and what are the perks of using it, and we work on the UX to bring the customer to the widget to get her excited to use it to find the best-fitting jeans for her.
RIS: Which business functions have most benefited from the implementation?
Zrebiec: 3DLOOK’s technology has definitely become a great asset for both design and fit, but the other business function to benefit greatly is marketing, since we were able to increase conversions by four times. The customers are feeling more confident in purchasing something because they know they are going to get their correct size.
We also back that up with free shipping and returns or money back if they don't feel like the widget gave them the correct information or the correct size, but we’ve had very few of those cases: The technology is extremely accurate.
RIS: What have been the benefits? How are you measuring success?
Zrebiec: We used the body data captured through 3DLOOK’s widget to discover that 80% of our customers are more petite and curvier than their current fit model. We’ve been able to use this data as an opportunity to retarget customers with denim products that will fit their unique shapes and sizes and promote certain styles that these customers were previously not buying.
Overall, thanks to the accurate size and fit recommendations and analytics we have seen 4x conversion rates, a 23% increase in AOV and a 48% decrease in return rates since launching with 3DLOOK in Fall 2019.
RIS: What were some of the challenges you encountered?
Zrebiec: The biggest challenge with anything that's new, especially in the technology sector, is the education side of it. Getting the customer to understand that this is a value to her and for her to adopt it in her regular shopping behavior has been one of our key priorities.
There’s an adoption curve to any technology, and I wouldn’t call it a challenge, but at these early stages it just takes a little bit longer to educate her in understanding what this is all about, but those who adopt it are very pleased with the results.
[See also: Predicting the Future of Frictionless Commerce]
To solve the issue we launched an onboarding education page that explains how the widget works as well as the benefits of using it. It also educates on the importance of lowering returns to decrease the carbon footprint, which is one of the essential parts of 1822 Denim's mission.
RIS: Returns are a notoriously large hurdle for retailers, especially online sellers. How has this helped you manage this issue?
Zrebiec: Enhancing the customer experience by removing friction and driving personalization through product offerings for all body shapes and innovation through 3D size recommendations allowed for a more seamless customer shopping journey giving her the tools to find the right product for her while reducing returns and reducing waste. As a result, we were able to reduce return rates by 48%.
RIS: What best practices can you offer to retailers looking to improve their e-commerce conversions?
Zrebiec: I think that gaining a real understanding of your customer and gathering all kinds of analytics, including body data and shape analytics, is really, really powerful and undoubtedly helps introduce great shopping experiences, which have not been possible before.
Just imagine being able to recommend products to customers based on their body shape and size — that is a marketer’s ultimate dream! I think this practice should — and will — be adopted by fashion brands and retailers and will also become an integral part of social shopping.