With many consumers now au fait with the issue of vanity sizing among fashion retailers, size continuity across not only retailers but countries as well is discussed more than ever before. Whether or not a garment fits right first time has an inevitable impact on customers’ buying decisions, particularly in this era of online shopping, where you don’t have the luxury of trying before you commit to buying. Add to this the fact that the culture of fast fashion means the apparel industry has to respond faster to rapidly changing consumer tastes and trends, and you can see why, for those operating in the apparel and footwear industry, managing size charts can present a significant challenge.
It’s not just the issue of the final size of the product either. A garment may be, for example, Small, Medium or Large, but this size ‘label’ has a set of corresponding Points of Measurements (POM), which specify which part of the body various measurements refer to, so, inside leg, sleeve length, waist measurement, to name but three. Recognising the importance to customers of getting the right fit, many brands publish detailed size chart guides (including POMs) online to help customers to understand sizing across products and departments.
These POMs are listed against all relevant clothing sizes but complications can arise when it comes to converting size charts from one system to another. This is where size conversion charts are vital. But, get these wrong and you run the risk of an entire range of incorrectly sized garments, not to mention a great many unsatisfied customers.
The right solution
The right technology can ensure size chart conversions can be carried out automatically, putting in place the right production parameters to efficiently and accurately manufacture garments across brands and countries. After the initial set-up of size charts, where sizes are common across all styles, templates for all sizes are created within a given system. These size charts can be linked to a production run for any size garment, safe in the knowledge that sizing will be the same regardless of the garment in question. Crucial POM codes (for which, generally speaking, there are no established standards but some are in such broad usage that they’re universal) are included in the size charts for ultimate accuracy. Individual styles are then linked to the relevant size chart and POM template within the system, to facilitate and speed-up the actual manufacturing of the garment.
When it comes to international brands, whose garments are shipped to multiple global locations, the right system is able to automatically handle equivalent size charts for user-defined locations and countries. So, for example, a standard size chart for the US could also show and specify sizes for Brazil and China, dependent on the brand’s reach and requirements. What’s important is that all the information is in-built into the solution, leaving manual conversion processes and procedures behind and ensuring minimal scope for costly, incorrect production runs.
In an industry where consistency of sizing can make all the difference between turning a healthy profit and suffering a loss, the less margin for error, the better. With solutions available to effectively manage the very specific sizing and fitting requirements of the apparel and footwear industry, businesses would be wise to invest now to guarantee that all-important customer satisfaction, regardless of size.
What to look for in a solution for your fashion business:
- Does the supplier have a fashion sector-specific solution? One size definitely does not fit all industries.
- Choose a solution that will streamline processes, not add another level of complexity
- Look for a scalable solution that will grow alongside the business
- The international capability of a solution needs to be a true reflection of just how international your business is.
- Carry out an audit of your existing systems – where are you lacking currently?