Conquer Clothing Returns: Mastering International Sizing for Ecommerce Success

The allure of expanding your e-commerce clothing business to international markets is undeniable. However, the excitement can quickly fizzle out when faced with the complex challenge of international sizing for ecommerce. Clothing sizes vary dramatically across regions, leaving customers confused and hesitant to purchase. This frustration translates to lost sales, abandoned carts, and a mountain of returns. But fear not! This comprehensive guide equips you with the knowledge and strategies to navigate the international sizing maze, ensuring a smooth and successful journey for both you and your customers.

For well over a quarter of a century, I’ve been navigating the exciting world of e-commerce, with a good chunk of that time spent specifically in clothing ecommerce. And let me tell you, sizing is a global challenge! Especially when you’re venturing into international sales.

Imagine this: a customer in Berlin falls in love with your new summer dress, but the UK size chart leaves them baffled. Do they order their usual size and risk it being too baggy? Size down and pray it fits? Order three sizes with the expectation of returning two? The frustration can lead to cart abandonment, lost sales, and even worse – a mountain of returns.

But fear not, fellow e-commerce warriors! We can conquer this sizing beast together. This guide will equip you with the knowledge and strategies to navigate the international clothing size minefield, minimise returns, and keep your customers happy (and stylish!).

Strategies for Effective International Clothing Size Conversions & Returns Reduction

Let’s delve into some practical tactics you can implement right away:

  • Embrace Size Conversion Tools: Stop expecting customers to decipher cryptic size charts! They cannot be bothered! Integrate user-friendly size conversion tools on your website. Imagine a pop-up window that automatically displays the local equivalent size based on the customer’s selected size and their location. Think of it as a sizing translator that empowers customers to choose confidently.
  • Craft Compelling Size Charts: Size charts are essential, but forget generic tables with cryptic numbers. Craft detailed charts with clear instructions on how to take body measurements. Include visuals! A size chart with a model showcasing different fits for each size is a winner. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand size conversions!
  • Harness the Power of Personalisation: Take things a step further with personalisation tools. Imagine a customer browsing your summer collection from Italy. The website, recognising their shipping destination, automatically displays the dress in the Italian size equivalent. This personalised touch goes a long way in building trust and making customers feel valued.
  • A/B Test for Success: Don’t be afraid to experiment! A/B test different size display options on your website to see what resonates best with customers. For instance, test displaying the local size first compared to displaying the UK size first. Here’s the key: When analysing your A/B test results, don’t just focus on conversion rates. Look at return rates as well. It’s possible that an A/B test showing the local size first might lead to a decrease in average order value (AOV) – but that’s okay! If the return rate has also dropped significantly, it could mean customers are buying with more confidence and selecting the correct size the first time. By analysing both conversion rates and return rates, you can gain a more holistic understanding of how size display impacts customer behaviour.

Fit Predictor Tools: Reducing Clothing Returns and Improving Conversions

Sizing is just one piece of the puzzle. Fit, that beautiful interplay between size and personal preference, also plays a crucial role. Here’s how technology can help:

  • Understanding Size vs. Fit: Let’s get this straight – size is an objective measurement, while fit is subjective. A size 10 dress might fit one person perfectly and be too loose for another, depending on their body shape and preferred fit.
  • Embrace Fit Predictor Tools: These nifty tools leverage data from previous returns and purchases to recommend the most suitable size for each customer. Imagine a customer with a history of buying size 8 dresses with a slightly looser fit. The fit predictor tool, analysing this data, might recommend a size 8 in a dress with a known “slimmer fit” label. Clever, right?
  • Respect Customer Preferences: While fit predictor tools are fantastic, remember, some customers prefer the comfort of choosing their own size. Always offer alternative sizing options, like allowing customers to choose between a “relaxed” or “fitted” version of the same garment.

Improving Conversion Rates and Reducing Returns Through Size Optimisation

Now, let’s explore strategies that bridge the gap between size and fit, ultimately reducing returns and boosting conversions:

  • Display International Clothing Sizes Effectively: This seems obvious, but it’s crucial. Display both the UK size and the local equivalent size on product pages. Consider offering a toggle function that allows customers to easily switch between size options for tops and bottoms. Remember, not all customers wear the same size in both tops and bottoms! Allowing them to size each item independently will increase their confidence in selecting the perfect fit.
  • Tailoring Size Display: Take personalisation a step further by using visitor location data (or shipping destination) to tailor the size display. For instance, a customer from France browsing a dress will see the French size displayed first, followed by the UK equivalent.
  • Analysing Returns Data: Returns data is a goldmine of information! Analyse return reasons to identify any recurring sizing issues. For example, if a particular dress has a high return rate for being “too big,” you might need to adjust the size chart or product description to better reflect the fit. You can also delve deeper and see if there’s a correlation between customers who return multiple sizes of the same item. This could indicate a lack of confidence in fit, and you can address this by offering more detailed fit information or improving the quality of your product photos to showcase the drape and silhouette more clearly.


Conquering clothing returns in the international e-commerce landscape is no small feat, but with the right strategies in place, you can significantly reduce those return rates and keep your customers happy. Remember, it’s all about empowering them to choose the perfect size and fit with confidence. By embracing user-friendly size conversion tools, crafting informative size charts, and leveraging the power of personalisation and data analysis, you can transform your international clothing sales into a roaring success story. So, go forth, e-commerce warriors, and conquer the sizing beast!

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