The battle of the sizes: how to avoid the “double buy” and cut down on returns

Take a look at your sales for the past 45 days. How many customers have bought two of the same item because they’re not sure if they’re a L or XL, a 6 or an 8 and so on and so on?

Without the comfort of a fitting room, it’s tough for humans to know exactly how something will look, feel and fit by staring at a screen. So, we double buy knowing very well one will go back within days of delivery.

Tips to avoid the multi buy return cycle

As a business in 2020, where inventory rules, each one of these double buys adds up, impacts your inventory and your bottom line.

While the online returns trend is not a completely new side effect of COVID-19 for businesses, there is a definite increase in the issue on account of the rise in online shopping with the pandemic restricting in-store activity

Here are four ways you can work to break the try-it-on-returns cycle. 

Create an army of personal shoppers.

Put your retail staff—safely—to work. Just because shopping IRL is limited right now, doesn’t mean your staff has to be limited to the customers who feel comfortable walking in the door. 

Using a tool like Hero, customers can have real-time, one on one conversations with sales associates about fit, color, new products, etc. This also gives the sales associate the opportunity to show more products beyond what the customer “came in” for, making digital up sell opportunities more than just a line item on the cart page. 

The associate can also circle back post purchase to see how the customer liked the item and if they’d like to shop again — developing long term customers (read: lower cost per acquisition) and maybe even brand advocates (read: someone else marketing your products for you).


Get creative with a quiz or questionnaire.

Using a simple quiz can add people to your sales funnel and give them a better idea of what they want and how your products are sized. 

It’s a fun, different, way for a customer to engage with your brand. Andie swim does this incredibly well with their “Fit Finder”. 


Show size options on different models.

Two is better than one. Have more than one model in a garment and include what size each model is wearing in the description. Seeing how the same item looks on two body types gives the buyer more to work with when selecting their own size, not to mention the added benefit of making your brand body inclusive. Esby does an excellent job showing their apparel with models of varying shapes and sizes.


Crowd source it.

If you have a Brand Ambassador program ask your ambassador network to share in as much detail as possible how items fit, feel and why they love them on their blogs and social media. 

Create your review forms to lead reviewers to talk specifically about fit and feel. Incentivize your customers to leave reviews by offering something for taking the time to write one. Anthropologie sets the standard here.


Pursuing even ONE of these strategies is that each puts you closer to your customer and continues to build the brand relationship with them. In the spirit of keeping your best customers your best customers, having ways to connect with them on a deeper level keeps you top of mind when they go to shop.

If and when you decide to pull one of these levers, be sure to let your customers know that this exists! Share these value-adds in your social posts and marketing email campaigns. Ask customers to give you feedback on how this new strategy is working. Put metrics around the strategy and track how, if, and when is the strategy being used. 

Have you implemented these tactics and are seeing a decrease in double buying? Let us know! Email: with your feedback.

The battle of the sizes: how to avoid the “double buy” and cut down on returns
Scroll to top