I was surprised to find out that 40% of the clothing purchased on-line ends up being returned.  The main reason given was that the product does not fit. Of course shoppers who buy at physical stores have the opportunity to try clothes on and get advice so they are much more likely to be satisfied that their purchase actually fits.  However, even physical stores get clothes returned because they don’t fit. It’s frustrating for the shopper and expensive for the retailer.
A Berlin-based company called UPcload (www.upcload.com) may have come up with an answer. They have devised a way to reduce the number of items returned by assessing shoppers’ sizes via a webcam in their own home.  The application takes a number of specific measurements including arm length and chest circumference and then calculates the recommended clothing size. Users can then shop at any participating store (online or physical) using their private UPcload profile to ensure a consistent and reliable fit. Currently it’s in beta testing with North Face and they aim to launch in the USA in 2012.
If it proves successful it could save shoppers a lot of time and reduce retailers costs.