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Retailer Best Practice: Personalize, Don't Generalize

June 6, 2018

In exploring the failings of averages to provide personalized customer experiences, retailers need a way to bridge the gap between what they wish they knew and what is actually true about their shoppers. With a subject as complex as size – and how it relates to style, fit and shopper satisfaction – the only way to get to a place where all the bases are covered is through expertly applied, nuanced data to inform personalized shopper recommendations. 

Problem: Average Doesn’t Exist
As outlined in One Size Does Not Fit All, defaulting to the median within a large set of data points is a tempting shortcut to what’s meant to be the indicator of broadest consumer appeal. In trying to hem people into an “average” that doesn’t apply to them – an inevitability when using crude numbers like height and weight to “crowdsize” – retailers run a higher-than-average risk of alienation and dissatisfaction... not to mention high return rates.

Solution: Know the Difference
With the realization that sizes vary from brand to brand, and the way items fit varies person to person, designing a personalized experience that meets consumer wants and needs means considering the individual as a singular entity rather than part of a crowd. All of his or her unique measurements, style preferences and shopping behaviors go into the type of suggestions and solutions that drive sales. Using the power of data, it’s now possible to create the kinds of experiences that live up to shopper expectations and needs. 

Problem: Miscalculations Matter
Combining the CDC’s stats on average heights and weights for both men and women with corresponding shopper profiles from the True Fit Genome, major sizing discrepancies surfaced within the dimension measurements that constitute a good fit. The differences only increase with big-and-tall men and plus-size women, who form a major sector of the shopping population. With this in mind, using height-weight averages to assume size has little to no value to retailers or consumers – and more often than not, can create disappointing online shopping experiences that work against a retailer on the whole.

Solution: Delight is in the Details 
With advanced data insights, retailers can create customer-centric experiences that take into account multiple measurements for recommendations that will work with each shopper's unique body shape. In addition to catering to his or her unique set of stats, savvy retailers can apply style preferences about the ways in which he or she wears clothing, to provide expert product suggestions that they’ll buy, keep and come back to find more. 

Combatting online shopping’s reputation as an ill-fitting, unsatisfying experience is all about creating the personalized experience that every shopper deserves. Removing doubt around fit has the power to increase conversion; while recommending the right items is proven to decrease costly returns. Relying on averages has proven ineffective, while leveraging a powerful database of billions of insights, like the True Fit Genome, is the way forward to creating 1-to-1 shopping experiences. 


Download our newest report on The Flaw of Averages and learn how connecting the right items to the exact people they were made for far surpasses “one-size-fits-all” merchandising.