TECHNOLOGY

Online apparel returns set to rise this holiday season

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The holiday season’s online sales may be off to a strong start, however consumers may not be keeping all of the clothes they purchased — not by a long-shot.

This was according to data from BodyBlock AI which revealed that half (50%) of Americans are expecting to return clothes ordered online due to poor fit. This could equate to $1.39 billion.

Having the wrong fit has significant consequences for online apparel brands, as nearly three-quarters (72%) of surveyed customers have returned items ordered online that didn’t fit. Among first-time customers, nearly half of shoppers (45%) won’t return to a new brand if the clothing they ordered didn’t fit, or if they received the wrong size.

One of the issues plaguing retailers is a lack of consumer confidence. For example, a whopping 84% of women felt that sizing was random or arbitrary depending on the brand, according to the data.

“Brands have been playing a costly guessing game when addressing the sizing and fit of their customers for decades,” said Greg Moore, CEO of BodyBlock AI. “If apparel companies don’t rethink their strategy, they will continue to hemorrhage billions of dollars every year in returns and dissatisfied customers.”

Retailers that get sizing right will reap the benefits. For example, 61% of customers were very likely to order more clothes from a brand if the first item they ordered fit them well. Meanwhile, 28% were likely to order more clothes from a brand if the first item they ordered fit well.

While consumers enjoy the theoretical ease of buying clothes online, the fear and hassle of getting clothes that don’t fit deters new shoppers, hurts conversion rates and dramatically reduces the retailer’s revenue as a result of high return rates. In order to meet their customers’ needs and deliver quality experiences that keep customers coming back, apparel brands would be wise to take a data-driven approach to apparel design.

“It’s time the apparel industry caught up to the 21st century both in terms of technological innovation and the diversity of human bodies,” the study revealed.

“By taking a data-driven approach to apparel fit, brands can begin matching the bodies of their customers to the clothes they make, rather than models and patterns,” the study added. “To do so would improve online conversions, reduce returns, secure more returning customers and create a more sustainable strategy for the modern era.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Fast-casual giant makes strong online move

BY Marianne Wilson

Pizza Hut has made one of its biggest acquisitions to date.

In a move that will allow it to increase its online ordering capabilities, Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, said that its U.S. business will acquire QuikOrder, an online ordering software and service provider for the restaurant industry. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the pizza company called it one of its biggest acquisitions to date.

The deal will enable Pizza Hut U.S. to improve its ability to deliver an easy and personalized online ordering experience and accelerate digital innovation across its base of more than 6,000 restaurants in the U.S., the company said. In 2018, approximately half of Pizza Hut U.S. sales were processed through QuikOrder’s platform. The acquisition will include: Pizza Hut’s current digital ordering platforms, systems and services and QuikOrder’s in-restaurant technology and ancillary services, as well as its future generation products and programming.

“We’re doubling down on our commitment to digital and this deal positions Pizza Hut perfectly for the future,” said Artie Starrs, president of Pizza Hut U.S. “We’re also gaining access to an immensely talented group of developers and digital innovators. Together we can more quickly provide breakthrough products and convenient services to our customers that will allow for better franchise economics over the long term.”

David Gibbs, CEO of Yum! Brands, said that the acquisition gives Yum the future potential to scale QuikOrder’s technology across all its brands.

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Retail Tech Predictions for 2019

BY Marianne Wilson

More disruption and more innovation.

That’s the outlook for the retail tech industry as it continues to focus on the adoption of disruptive and innovative technologies, according to a new study from IDC entitled “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Retail 2019 Predictions.” The technologies will drive digital transformation (DX) forward at a rapid pace.

“The future belongs to visionary leaders and forward-thinking organizations that are able to break the shackles of legacy systems and accelerate mastering digital-first strategies,” said Leslie Hand, VP, IDC Retail Insights. “The thrivers will be those that champion data-driven, experiential, and personalized approaches to experiential retail business and IT.”

IDC’s worldwide retail industry 2019 predictions are:

• By 2020, DX acceleration among the “digitally determined” will result in 20% of retail organizations advancing to stage four of DX acceleration.

• By year-end 2019, 50% of retailers will plan to implement a digital “core” platform, which will enable faster innovation, continuously utilizing insights to drive intelligent actions.

• By 2021, 30% of retailers will provide real-time contextual experiences wherein conversational search is empowering, services find customers, content supports sales, and consumers monetize their data.

• By 2020, retailers will increase track-and-trace and predictive agile execution investments by 30% to meet consumers expectation of real-time order visibility and perfect delivery performance.

• By 2022, retailers will double investments in distribution automation to meet the dramatic increase of single-item, one-click impulse and auto-replenishment ecommerce and marketplace orders.

• By 2021, 30% of retailers will provide real-time contextual experiences wherein conversational search is empowering, services find customers, content supports sales, and consumers monetize their data.

• By 2023, 25% of retailers will create more customer “promoters” by interweaving customer experience, product and service development, and assortment orchestration to grow 25% faster than their peers.

• By 2022, retailers will have increased investment in workforce technology and training by 30% to equip staff for competitive and differentiating customer experience–focused roles.

• By 2023, 40% of nonfood retailers will have capabilities to profitably mass customize new product introduction, including new “lot size of one” design, buy, make, and move skills and systems.

• By 2023, 50% of retailers will have implemented IoT in at least four digital transformation use cases, also enabling the reallocation of up to 3% of operations budget to innovation budget.

• By 2020, retailers will have raised annual spend on data privacy safeguards by 25% given heightened concerns about data privacy and regulatory requirements including the EU’s GDPR.

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