Insights

The Limitations of Your Digital Cart - Future of Retail Series part 2: Online Experience

User Experience Designer
Valtech SE
User Experience & User Interface designer
Valtech SE

May 14, 2019

Competition among e-retailers is gruelling, as consumer-purchasing habits have migrated online. A survey published by Klarna at the end of 2018 reveals that consumers shop online predominately for convenience. There are no store hours to double check and no herd of vehicles to maneuver through. For the online world, check out is a click away. However, the e-commerce experience is not always as convenient for the consumer as it is sometimes made to appear.

No sense of fit

“It's hard when I cannot try on the garments. It often leads to mistakes.”

Sometimes medium fits perfectly, and other times it is way too tight. Consumers have a hard time understanding how clothes fit when they shop online. Size measurements vary from one brand to another, and the standard may vary, depending on where your item originates. When an item does not fit – it needs to be returned. Many purchases are not made when the customer does not have the heart to order clothes online.

Size measurements that vary

“Sizes are a BIG problem. Every brand ends up being a new ordeal.”

You know how it can be. You have had your eye on that sweater for a long time. There is only one left in stock, and you order it online. But the fit is terrible. Even though you usually always wear a medium – it is far too small. When size measurements vary between one brand and another, it’s hard for the consumer to know what size to choose. That means that products frequently have to be returned.

Limited to one sense

“I always want to feel the garment, before I even start thinking about whether it fits.”

On the couch, on the bus or walking – with your smartphone, you always have access to the webshop. It is convenient, but it is hard to form anything beyond a visual impression of the product. You can't feel it or squeeze it. The quality can be difficult to predict. The thing that's missing from online shopping is a total experience for all the senses.

Not discovering new products

“I go to the store a lot, but it feels like there's never anything new.” 

You know how it is. You want the very latest fashions. You want to be inspired by seasonal trends. The product range online is broad, and it is easy to get lost in the collection. Older items are mixed in with new ones, and you get stuck in a long scroll of products – without knowing what is hot and what is not.

Competition is intensifying, and the pace of innovation in the industry will without a doubt continue to ramp up. With e-commerce giants like Amazon expected to break new ground in many countries and further accelerate the pace of development, it's important to be forward-looking and always stay a step ahead.

A new study from ICSC shows what they call a halo effect: when a brand opens a physical store, traffic to their website increases by an average of 37%. The same study shows that traffic tumbles when a brand closes a store instead. There are many improvements to be made before e-commerce meets the consumer's expectation. We are starting to see innovative solutions making use of augmented reality. There is also talk of a new measurement system, a kind of global biometric standard. If we are to develop the experiences of the future, we need to start investigating the possibilities today.

About the Future of Retail Series

For a four-week period, we met with consumers and retail staff, both in a deep interview format and informally out on the town, to try to survey which shopping experience needs are currently not being met. With the help of these insights, we have been able to focus on some specific areas. After that, we performed a comprehensive trend monitoring and business intelligence to better understand this highly innovative retail landscape. The study aimed to identify new opportunities for our customers to create the shopping experiences of the future.

Don't miss part 1, 3, 4 and 5 of Future of Retail series.

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