A recent survey found that online shoppers return 70% of the clothing they order, more than any other category of purchase. This has an indirect but real impact on the environment.
Online shoppers tend to order multiple sizes and colors, with the intent of sending back the items that don’t fit or aren’t the right color, a practice known as “bracket shopping.” An augmented reality (AR) tool allowing shoppers to see an image of themselves in the garment, however, made them more likely to want to buy it, according to new research by a team including Fatma Baytar, assistant professor of fiber science and apparel design and director of the Body Scan Research Group.
While not as effective as physically trying it on, the researchers found that AR boosted participants’ attitudes toward the garment, potentially improving the experience and efficiency of online shopping.
“Bracket purchases increase shelving and shipping costs,” Baytar said. “We’re hoping these technologies can reduce those costs, while also decreasing the carbon footprint associated with return shipping.”
The study, “Evaluating Garments in Augmented Reality When Shopping Online,” was published April 6 in the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management.