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Reduce Returns and Improve the Buyer Journey with AI Technology for Retail

Smiling Woman Making A Credit Card Purchase

Retailers have come under fire for lack of diversity in models, unattainable sizing and style expectations, and unsatisfactory in-store experiences. It’s not hard to understand why. Walking into a store and trying on clothing can be intimidating for anyone, but it’s also not ideal to guess sizing and hope for the best while online shopping. These inconveniences are worsened by difficult return policies and societal body image concerns. When your only options for purchasing clothing include seeing the product on one model or spending hours trying on sizes and styles at the store, many customers limit the number of times they’ll need to buy new clothing or rack up a high number of returns. 

AI and Body Scan Technology Make Fashion More Accessible 

Thankfully, there is a friendlier option for customers looking to buy new clothes, and it also speaks to the digital-first customer-centric retail experience demanded by modern consumers. Recently, Levi’s announced they would allow customers to see how every pair of jeans would fit all sizes, body types, ages, and skin tones using AI. Levi’s cited both diversity and inclusion as well as sustainability as key drivers for their choice to use AI for the digital solution. 

Pants are not the only product that creates buyer hesitation due to sizing and style concerns. Not long ago, Wacoal implemented hands-free AI body scan technology called mybraFit that allowed customers to choose the perfect bra size. Wacoal’s technology allows the customer to use the scanning capability, answer questions, and input information. The AI then uses an algorithm to create a custom recommendation of products. 

Enhancing the Buyer Journey and Reducing Returns 

With body scan technology and AI solutions, shoppers everywhere can customize their profiles or online avatars to be as realistic as possible and predict how clothes will look on them without any need to purchase and return or visit a store. This is an exciting new capability for the research stage of their shopping experience, especially when discerning whether to buy up-and-coming products. This technology substantially alters the buyer journey and ecommerce – now online retailers at the cutting edge of AI can gain a competitive advantage and decrease instances of returns and unhappy customers.  

What About Generative AI? 

The AI technology hitting the headlines right now is generative AI, which retailers can use to personalize the customer experience even more without needing to invest countless resources. With generative AI, retailers can offer chatbots and portals that create custom product recommendations for shoppers. It can build personalized customer journeys based on each customer’s data, such as offering deals and discounts tailored to their preferences. Further, the customer can be shown content curated for them, increasing the chances that they’ll find the perfect products faster and be more likely to check out and even return for future purchases. 

By taking advantage of the latest advancements in AI and virtual reality – and by combining them with immersive online experiences and customer portals – retailers can capture what makes both brick-and-mortar shopping and ecommerce so great while excluding the inconveniences. These retailers will more effectively support and engage consumers from beginning to end of the buyer journey and secure their loyalty. Many of the shoppers who lost faith in finding the right products for them will suddenly feel heard and cared for.  

To optimize your customer experience with AI technology, tap into Perficient’s expertise surrounding digital solutions for retail. And if you’re specifically interested in learning how generative AI can be used for your particular business, we’ll be happy to share use cases. 

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Erica Lee

Erica Lee is a director of digital strategy at Perficient, specializing in digital transformation, customer experience, commerce, digital responsibility, and digital business strategies. She’s been a senior ecommerce and digital leader at several multi-billion dollar B2B and B2C companies.

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