" EDUCATE CONSUMER ABOUT BODY SHAPE"

The body shape is an aspect of e-commerce that hasn’t been fully addressed for consumers. Brands that offer defined charts with helpful questions and directions is limited. We know consumers are frustrated by the fact that sizing from brand to brand is inconsistent. The same can be said for fit and shape descriptions.

Imagine the consumer coming to shop your website is like a child when it comes to a new size due to a life change. How are we helping them understand shape? I always refer back to one of the first toys many of us have had as a toddler. The hexagon shape toy pictured below is just one example. Kids could match the shape of the block to the opening and drop it into the toy. (image 1.1) Matching the shape to corresponding space. Buying clothes is very similar. Consumers need tools to understand what items correspond to their shape. It can be a whole lot easier if we just show HOW, WHAT, and WHY!


1.1 Shape toy that educates toddlers to identify shape and size variables.

The survey says…

The biggest challenge designers need to address is how a customer visualizes their shape. Then how the shape actually looks. After conducting a visual survey that asked plus-size customers to pick various images of items they felt would match smaller sizes and then items that would match their own size, we saw a large disconnect. We also asked the smaller sizes to do the same for the plus-size range.


1.2 Survey results- Image is property of Changewear Intimates

1. While the blue & purple minimizers were last. A minimizer style offers optimal support for the user with a larger bust. By asking image-driven questions we present, we can find out a lot about how a customer sees the world, vs assuming what they see. Designers can loose sight of this difference. Clearly we can see its difference exists in the above question. It makes sense to also share more visuals, as the art of dressing is truly a visual exercise.

Surprisingly, the smaller customer could accurately pick choices for both themselves and the plus customer that would support the shape. It was surprising how the plus-size customer went about picking items. They wanted items that couldn’t grade up esthetically in a plus size. Supportive aspects were only slightly considered. It was secondary to aesthetic design. This leads us to believe that customers have a lack of understanding with what work on larger shapes, and also have a disconnect about the “why” behind fits.

1. While the blue & purple minimizers were last. A minimizer style offers optimal support for the user with a larger bust. By asking image-driven questions we present, we can find out a lot about how a customer sees the world, vs assuming what they see. Designers can lose sight of this difference. Clearly we can see its difference exists in the above question. It makes sense to also share more visuals, as the art of dressing is truly a visual exercise.


Problem Solving Shape

So how do we teach customers? The visual interaction is key. For example, if a plus customer could tell us the shape of their form, we could suggest items that would effectively fit the body. Showing images of what works and also what doesn’t helps a person understand the “why”. Currently, every website only shows what works. This does little for the education process of a consumer. For example, do we learn more when we make a mistake when we are always right? Can processes work better when we understand the failures and weak spots?

Companies that address the why of fit, in visual methods may gain more traction and consumer frequency than websites not offering some product knowledge education.


The Data-Driven Approach

Stores are also excellent data gathering hubs. Follow the metrics to see how data may play out when it’s added as a required store metric for employees. For example…


Stores are also excellent data gathering hubs. Follow the metrics to see how data may play out when it’s added as a required store metric for employees. For example…

• The brand has 75 brick & mortar store locations.

• Employees on average 15 people. This means 1125 employees

worldwide. (75 S X15 P)= 1,125 employees

• Open 360 days a year with an average of 28 daily transactions at $98.00

• Transactions per store annually: 10,080

• Transactions as a company annually: 756,000

• 5 employees work daily with the capture of 3-5 surveys submitted.

• On average 540,000 surveys completed annually in the physical fleet.


1125 employees are responsible for inputting information into the system that is associated with transactions. A quick survey that can be done on a handheld/ mobile device just outside fitting rooms or at the registers. Questions might include...


  1. Transaction # or Scan barcode

  2. What shape was the customer? (Provide visual images)

  3. Vertical measure ranges? (Provide 3 sets)

  4. Did they understand what would work for the body?

When we have employees fill out these surveys we can also track returns. Being able to see if a survey was attached to the return may help address any specific issues. Basically we can gather roughly 540,000-756,000 surveys from employees annually. This would be an interesting data capture to pit against the online surveys and sale adoption rates. The same questions can be applied prior to the virtual checkout. Working across physical and virtual commerce.

We can also use this data to affect how teams to design and also how our customers change seasonally and annually. Collecting visual shape data will be the future of successful design and commerce!


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