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Apparel Retailers Use New AI Features to Reduce Online Returns

Apparel Retailers Use New AI Features to Reduce Online Returns

As clothing brands and retailers continue to struggle with the costly problem of returns, many are turning to artificial intelligence to help consumers buy products they will actually want when they arrive.

True Fit, a player in the realm of size and fit personalization, announced in a Wednesday (June 5) press release the introduction of Fit Hub, an application powered by generative AI meant to streamline the often-cumbersome process of determining size when shopping online.

The application aims to aggregate and distill a myriad of data points — from personal size recommendations to product reviews and size charts — into a unified format accessible to shoppers. The capability is geared toward addressing a common pain point: the disparate and sometimes conflicting nature of sizing guidance scattered across retail websites.

“For many years, we’ve been partnering with True Fit to bring personalization to our customer experience with AI, helping our shoppers to buy the right size, first time, and avoid the disappointment and hassle of returns,” Todd Coughlan, senior digital analytics and CRO manager at United Kingdom-based clothing retailer Boden, commented in the release.

As some fashion merchants tap AI to synthesize sizing information, others are using it for virtual try-ons. Walmart, for instance, offers virtual try-on for apparel, and Amazon has similar features on offer for footwear and accessories.

Virtual try-on helps to reduce returns because you get the best product, which you like [the most],”  Wayne Liu, president and chief growth officer at AI and augmented reality (AR) beauty technology company Perfect Corp., told PYMNTS in an interview posted in February.

In addition to AI, retailers are also using mixed-reality technologies in general to create more immersive shopping journeys that enable consumers to see the product more clearly without having to go to a store. When Apple launched its Vision Pro mixed-reality headset in February, apparel merchants J.Crew and Mytheresa seized on the opportunity to provide more immersive retail journeys.

The former launched its “J.Crew Virtual Closet” 3D shopping experience, allowing customers to explore products and create outfits. Integrating the Apple SharePlay feature for FaceTime video calls, J.Crew also uses the technology to provide real-time guidance from stylists within this realistic virtual environment.

The latter’s Apple Vision Pro app immerses users in lifelike, animated settings reminiscent of shopping in sought-after destinations Capri, Italy, and Paris, France. Within these virtual environments, consumers can explore a curated selection of upscale brands such as Valentino and Saint Laurent, envisioning their dream wardrobe.

The PYMNTS Intelligence report “How Connected Devices Enable Multitasking Among Digital-First Consumers,” based on a survey of over 4,600 U.S. consumers, found that shoppers are amenable to experiences that integrate mixed-reality technology.

The research indicated that many connected device owners show interest in embracing more technologically integrated shopping experiences. For instance, 38% expressed strong interest in using virtual technology to preview how items would appear in their living space before making a purchase. Additionally, 32% expressed similar enthusiasm for the prospect of using virtual reality technology to make purchases of retail products housed in physical stores from the convenience of their home or workplace.

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