5 Proven Tips to Reduce Ecommerce Return Rates

Incorrect sizing information often leads to higher eCommerce return rates. Here we explore five ways for businesses to optimize their product size charts to help customers buy items that fit.


Last updated on September 20, 2022

eCommerce fashion is projected to be a $1 trillion industry by 2025. In other words, competition in this sector is fierce. Promoting your wearable products through ads and discounts alone won’t be enough to make your store a success.

You’ll also need to address the common pain point most online apparel businesses are facing today: an extremely high return rate, often caused by unclear product sizing. Ambiguous sizing information that leads shoppers to return their item later results in high additional overhead costs and dissatisfied customers, a dangerous combination of problems that could eventually drive your shop out of business.

common pain point most online apparel businesses are facing today: an extremely high return rate and how to reduce return rate for ecommerce
Source: Statista

By designing and clearly offering more descriptive size charts, you can create a better shopping experience, boost online sales, and lower your product return rate to maintain your long-term competitive edge. To help you get started, take a look at these five size-chart optimization tips.

1. Customize size charts based on product types

If you’re like most apparel brands out there, you don’t just offer one type of product. That means you’ll need separate, customized sizing charts for each type—like shirts, pants, swimwear, and footwear, for instance. (This rule even applies to niche apparel businesses, like those that sell pet clothing and accessories!) Whatever you sell on your website, you should provide accurate and adequate sizing information for all of it so shoppers can always find the right size.

If you sell clothing intended for both genders, or for both adults and children, the right online sizing guide for your store should also be separated according to these categories. If you sell clothing for both men and women, for instance, you should create two separate sizing charts for these two customer groups. You should also include specific details about product materials and fit to encourage more conscious purchases, which can help reduce both cart abandonment and return rates.

For example, let’s say you’re selling men’s ties on an eCommerce platform like Shopify, BigCommerce or WooCommerce. Shoppers will want to know the length and width of each tie to make sure it will fit well with the rest of their outfit. Or, let’s say you run an online footwear store like Zappos. In this case, you might want to consider using a fit finder along with a fit survey based on accumulated data. That way, your customers will be more informed when they go to select the best shoe size for them.

Finally, of course, your sizing chart has to fit your particular brand. A generic sizing chart won’t be of any use to your customers. If you offer clothing or footwear from multiple brands, make sure to include customized size charts for each one. A unified sizing guide will confuse your customers and ultimately lead to high return rates and low brand trust.


2. Explain your measurement method

The more detailed and comprehensive your size measurements, the more trustworthy and reliable your brand seems. If you offer information about how you measure your sizes, and how a shopper can take their own measurements using the same methods, they’ll be more likely to choose a size that fits them. This type of in-depth measurement information is particularly crucial for a store’s new customers. They need more references to compare their body type with your available sizes to avoid having to return items that don’t fit.

When designing your store’s measurement guide, you’ll need to tell or show shoppers the particular way in which your brand measures shoulders, waist, bust, etc. To do this, you can use text, images, or both. To make the chart-design process simple, you can use one of Kiwi Sizing’s flexible layouts, which let you easily include your how-to-measure guide at the bottom of the chart. The result: A clear, informative sizing tool that increases the chances your customers will find the right size on the first try.

Reduce eCommerce Return Rates: 5 Proven Tips for Size Chart Optimization

3. Offer global conversions of each measurement

Most eCommerce stores sell to customers in multiple countries around the world. If that’s the case with your shop, know that you can increase sales substantially by offering size guides that list measurements in multiple units. That way, shoppers can understand your sizing charts easily, no matter where they live.

The most common units for apparel sizing are centimeters and inches, so we recommend using both on your size chart. The key benefit of creating size charts with unit conversion is reducing stress for customers when they are making a purchasing decision. US customers, for example, are used to choosing products based on inches, while the majority of international customers are more familiar with centimeters. Don’t make shoppers do the conversion work themselves. Avoid confusion and boost sales by including international sizing conversions to help customers order with confidence.

If your store sells items that are larger, longer, or measured in a different way, the same rule still applies: Convert the units for shoppers so they don’t have to do the work. For example, a store that sells wedding gowns and veils may need to use feet and meters instead of inches and centimeters. A shop that sells sports apparel might need to use pounds and kilograms. If you use Kiwi Sizing, these conversions are easy, because customers can switch between different units of measure with one click.

4. Include model measurements

Showing images of a model wearing your product can be helpful, since it gives shoppers a better idea of how the item might look on them. Shops that cater to a wider range of customers should include models of different sizes too, to reflect their customer base. If you also include each particular model’s height, weight, and the size of the clothing they are wearing, in addition to clothing terminologies like petite, plus-size, and husky, it can give shoppers even more certainty in whether the size they’re thinking of buying will actually fit them. Translation: It’s another convincing nudge for them to hit that “buy” button (and to not hit the “start return” button later!).

Some clothing brands like Zara and Uniqlo even give customers the option to enter their height and weight to receive more precise fit recommendations. All of these optimizations are designed with the same goal in mind: Help customers get a clearer visual of how a specific product may look on them in real life, therefore leading to more satisfying purchases.

There are various places that eCommerce stores can include a model’s sizing information. One unobtrusive spot is right in your size chart, so customers can see all the relevant fitting information at a glance. Kiwi Sizing is one sizing tool that allows businesses to add this kind of extra guidance on product pages without clogging up the user’s onsite experience.

5. Implement a mobile-responsive size chart

Technology advancements have led to a steady increase in the number of shoppers who buy from their phones, making “mCommerce,” or ecommerce done through mobile phones, more mainstream than ever. Insider Intelligence predicts that mobile will be customers’ top preferred online shopping channel in the next five years. To stay ahead of this trend, all eCommerce merchants should implement mobile-responsive size charts on their websites—that is, size charts that render and display appropriately on mobile devices so that they’re readable and useful.

Reduce eCommerce Return Rates: 5 Proven Tips for Size Chart Optimization
Source: ThinkWithGoogle

Currently, many shopping sites use a pop-up window to display their size charts. While this is convenient for desktop users, it can be a nuisance for mobile users. This type of format is difficult to scroll through and usually limits the display of sizing information, which means shoppers can’t clearly access the data they need to pick a size.

To remedy this problem, online shop owners should make sure both product images and size charts work equally well on desktop computers, mobile devices, and tablets. If you create your size recommendation chart with a tool like Kiwi Sizing, setting up size charts for both desktop and mobile is easy—no complicated coding required. A size chart that can be viewed across devices will minimize customer doubt when making purchase decisions, thereby increasing conversion rates and lowering product return rates.

Helpful sizing information is crucial for your store’s success. These five tips on size-chart optimization are actionable for all eCommerce businesses that need to provide fitting guidance for their online shoppers. The key thing to remember is that happy customers are the most important asset of your company, and offering clear, helpful sizing information is one great way to satisfy them. There’s no question about it: An informative and well-designed size chart is a must if you want to continuously improve customer satisfaction, increase conversions, and reduce product return rates.

To reduce the return rate after a successful sale, we also recommend that you can create a size chart with unit conversion to make your customers pick the unit they are most comfortable to think in to make a purchase decision.

Or use Kiwi Sizing AI Size Recommender as a size chart tool. It will recommend the most suitable size of products for customers to reduce return rate, help you decrease the cost of the return, and to create a positive cycle of your e-commerce business.

In this article

Personalized Size Recommendations
on your Shopify Stores

Dramatically reduce returns and increase sales with Kiwi

0 M+
Size Charts
0 K+
Active Stores
0 mins
Average Creation Time

Personalized Size Recommendations on your Shopify Stores