Retailers face a growing cohort of ankle-biting disruptors, who employ sophisticated brand site features like customization and on-model imagery. In apparel, pureplay Everlane has challenged conventional brands by offering improved merchandising on select products, focusing on categories like denim which may be harder to shop for online.
In 2016, Everlane began featuring models of different sizes for its Slouchy Trousers product; with the launch of women’s denim in 2017, the retailer expanded this sophisticated on-model imagery even further. Denim product pages show multiple photos of products worn by up to four models of different sizes. Each set of images include information on the model’s dimensions and size worn in photos. This kind of detailed on-model imagery can help customers more accurately anticipate how products will fit, giving them the confidence to order items online.
J.Crew was a fast follower. Similar to Everlane, the retailer offers a See More Body Types button on product pages that lets denim shoppers toggle between different models. Apparel brands take note: while J.Crew doesn’t include standard sizing or model dimensions, the brand’s rapid adoption of improved on-model imagery helps it confront competitors. Its success makes clear that brands don’t have to improve all product pages incrementally. Rather, they can focus on making value-add investments on harder-to-shop categories.
This fits into a larger innovation strategy by J.Crew to maintain market share. In May, the brand launched a partnership with apparel start-up Universal Standard, releasing a collection of size-inclusive essentials covering size 0 to size 32. This collection earned the brand mentions on Huffington Post, Refinery29, and fashionista.com, as well as 4,000 Facebook interactions.