Ecru is a women’s fashion brand with an emphasis on making the best-fitting pants. The label was founded by Howard Sheer, who is a successive entrepreneur with an extensive background in fashion. When he launched Ecru, Sheer knew that he had to get ahead of product returns.
In an industry where a return rate of 25% to 30% is standard, a systematized returns process is a must for scaling retailers. Since joining the ReturnLogic family, Ecru’s 3 month moving average return rate has dropped around 9%.
This means less lost sales revenue, fewer tickets in customer service, and more happy shoppers. But a better return rate does not just happen. Sheer has been extremely receptive of the data provided by ReturnLogic, and has found numerous ways to act on the information.
“The data isn't helpful unless you do something about it. We look at our returns data as a team and use it to inform experiments and alterations."
Over the years, Ecru has used metrics from ReturnLogic to continuously refine its product assortment. Seeing that items such as dresses and jumpsuits have a higher and less manageable return rate, the brand refocused its efforts on style staples such as bottoms, tops, and workwear.
Aside from the greater product assortment, ReturnLogic data has also allowed Ecru to evaluate the fabrics used in products. With an indicator of the fabric included directly into the SKU, Sheer can easily see the sales volumes and return rates of each fabric. This informs both the fabrics to use now, as well as fabrics that may perform even better in the future.
“I want to promote sales that stick. We use ReturnLogic to determine what we’re going to do. Our real ROAS is only determined when we take a deep look at our returns data and use that to inform our marketing strategy.”
Sheer adds “The information helps me hold factories accountable to specs and standards, the feedback in return reasons or comments tells me when a product may need adjustment, or if the product description may need to be altered on the website."
With experience in ecommerce, it was no surprise to Sheer that some shoppers would purchase multiple sizes of the same product from Ecru. While these “fitting room” orders are more likely to provide the shopper with something she will love, they prefigure a return rate of at least 50%. No wonder this behavior is a double-edged sword of ecommerce. However, the Ecru team made fine-tuned adjustments to both their website and products in mid 2019 with hopes of lessening these cases.
And it worked. Sheer cites website optimizations such as more particular product descriptions, better size charts, and new product images as the primary changes. Small additions to product descriptions such as “Buy [this product] to fit tight” can alleviate some of the uncertainty around sizing, causing consumers to feel more confident in their purchases. The result here was a decrease in the percentage of multi size purchases – almost a 15% drop.
Ecru recently launched an alternate version of its top-selling product. The main difference of this version of the product was the fabric, which resulted in a looser, less form-fitting style. Hoping to ride on the success of the original product, the Ecru team decided to give the alternate a similar name.
This built an expectation among shoppers that it would fit identical to the original, even though the product’s description stated otherwise. The result was a return rate of 45% for this newly launched product. Sheer quickly spotted the spike in return rate and decided to rename the product. The results were almost over night. By renaming the product they removed the expectation gap that had existed. And since, the product has maintained similar sales volume as before, but with a much lower return rate.
As a retail professional, Sheer knew that having an established returns process for Ecru was a must. Beyond providing Ecru with a software solution to manage returns, ReturnLogic has leveraged returns data to help Sheer optimize his business.