I know a woman who regularly shops online at LL Bean. When she orders a sweater, shirt or jacket, she will order two separate sizes. With free shipping to and from LL Bean, she feels it’s a win-win and certainly, no money lost from her pocket – she’ll merely ship back the one item that doesn’t fit. Knowing she has a 99% chance of one of the sizes fitting her well. Thinking aloud, I don’t blame her although I’m I don’t think I’d handle it quite like that.
Do online retailers who see this phenomenon try to mitigate it in any way? There are certainly shipping costs involved with returning the one item that does not fit. On the other hand, would this extra cost of doing business somehow be considered a lost leader, especially in the clothing line?
Is a sizing sheet available to help improve the customer’s chances of choosing the correct size? Is software available to enable shoppers to key in their measurements to help select the most appropriate size? Because this person has ordered from LL Bean for over 10 years, is there a profile available on which size would be most appropriate when ordering a sweater, jacket or slacks?
Even with sizing charts and recommended sizes for regular customers, there will be times shoppers will need to ship back the merchandise. That’s perfectly understandable. Just because this service is available doesn’t mean it should be used all the times. Perhaps it should be an exception rather than the rule – the opposite of how it’s being used here?
One more thought, would LL Bean ever refuse to do business with this type of customer at some point? Maybe we already know the answer as she’s been using this approach for more than a few years…