Komodo Fashion selects Makip's sizing technology to reduce online returns

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This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: Komodo Fashion selects Makip's sizing technology to reduce online returns.

Komodo Fashion has been committed to creating eco-friendly fashion for over 30 years and is dedicated to creating sustainable clothing that doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment.

Establishing themselves as part of the fabric of the Acid-house revolution in the early 1990s and then later closely linked with pop culture, Komodo has collaborated with musical legends such as Soul II Soul, JudgeJules, Norman Jay, Fat Boy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, The Happy Mondays, Take That, Jamiroquai and The Spice Girls.

Using only premium quality organic, natural and eco fibres, combined with innovative fabrics such as green PU coating and recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) from plastic bottles, the majority of Komodo’s products are vegan and ALL are cruelty-free. They work closely with suppliers worldwide to ensure their garments are produced in a safe working environment where all workers are guaranteed a fair wage.

However, their sustainability credentials are more than just a badge for the brand, they run deep with the ethics and beliefs of the founder, Mark Bloom (aka Joe Komodo). All suppliers work within the Komodo ethos to reduce the environmental impact of their operations and processes, which is one reason why their latest partnership with online sizing software provider, Makip, is more than good business sense.

The challenge of sustainable eCommerce

Starting as a traditional wholesale brand in 1988, Komodo is no stranger to navigating the complexities of fashion retailing. Ecommerce has exploded in the last 15 years and Komodo uses its website to reach an international audience, which is responsible for 40% of its revenue.

With more than just a keen eye for fashion, the Manager at Komodo Tony Mountford, has been on the lookout for an online sizing specialist but has never found a partner that was the right fit. Tony explains, “I first started looking at online sizing technology about five years ago, but what I discovered at the time was technology that required a lot of heavy lifting from us. The providers had good features, but others features were less relevant to us - it just didn’t feel like the right time to make an investment.”

Online shopping has been around since the mid-1990s, but it wasn’t until after 2010 as smartphones became more connected and the likes of Amazon and Alibaba started to take hold that we saw a real change in consumer behaviour. For example, one report from Pew Research stated that by the end of 2016, Americans were starting to shop online as often as they took out the trash.

However, with this behavioural change came bad habits as Tony goes on to explain, “Online purchasing behaviour definitely changed with many online fashion shoppers ordering the same item in at least two sizes. So you can assume they are planning to return at least 50% of their purchases. You can offer free shipping and free returns - but that will just increase the cost of the item and does nothing to discourage unsustainable purchasing behaviour. We prefer to discourage customers from over-buying and encourage more considered purchasing.”

A sustainable solution

UK retail sales continue to grow in 2024 with UK consumers reported to spend over £54bn annually on fashion. If changes in online fashion consumer behaviour don’t change, the cost of returns is estimated to cost UK retailers £4.4bn by 2026. This presents a clear opportunity for ecommerce fashion and apparel retailers, like Komodo, to ensure they provide great online shopping experiences for their customers. 

Implementing the Unisize app was a smooth process and once the Komodo garment sizing data was submitted, the app was live and running on the Komodo website in a matter of weeks.

Tony continues, “After meeting the Makip team at a trade show and being introduced to the Unisize online sizing app, we were impressed with what it could provide for our online customers. We want to entice new customers to purchase through the website and it’s important for new customers that we get it right the first time. By offering an accurate online sizing experience that allows customers to choose the right size of clothing the first time, every time, the Unisize app helps us to build customer confidence. Once customers are confident that our online sizing is accurate they won’t order the same item in multiple sizes and therefore it lowers the number of returns.”

The Results go beyond the numbers

The Unisize online sizing technology is already providing good data insight to the Komodo team, allowing them to use it more efficiently. Positioning the app on the Komodo website so that it is prominent to the shoppers is encouraging use, which is already generating an upturn in conversion rates. Increased conversion rates are a sign of an increase in customer confidence, which is hoping to produce a reduction in return rates, which overall will equal an uplift in profits.

However, outside of the performance of the technology, the partnership between Komodo and Makip goes beyond the numbers, as Tony explains, “Once the Unisize app was on the website we were already in conversation with the Makip team to discuss how we can improve it and make the experience more streamlined. We were impressed with how they listened to what we wanted and worked with us to develop the app to suit our needs. Often software suppliers can be quite rigid in what they can offer, but the Makip team listened and collaborated with us.”

Personality goes a long way

As the partnership between Komodo Fashion and Makip develops, more features of the Unisize online sizing app are set to be released soon. Tony concludes, “The personable approach from the Makip team has been a differentiating factor. I’ve already met a few members of the team in person, and the CEO, this gives us confidence that they are invested in making the app a success for Komodo. It has never been a case of ‘here is an app, here is a bunch of whitepapers, off you go’ - the team has worked with us to get it performing how we want it.”

With more features set to be released later in 2024, including a generative AI feature - FaceChange and genderless online sizing, the partnership between Komodo and Makip looks set to set the trend for how retailers can adopt a more sustainable approach to their online shopping experience.

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