Green Intentions vs. Online Shopping Behavior: Don’t Blame Your Customer

Green Intentions vs. Online Shopping Behavior: Don’t Blame Your Customer

Green Intentions vs. Online Shopping Behavior: Don’t Blame Your Customer

Unlocking more sustainable shopping, by building a better customer experience!

When it comes to the global effort to reduce environmental impact and pollution, (fast) fashion has become a popular villain. Once celebrated for its accessibility and affordability, the fast fashion industry now faces heightened scrutiny for its environmental and social impacts.With players such as H&M coming under massive scrutiny for their entire business model, from sourcing of pollution-heavy fabrics to the conditions of their workforce in third world countries and the inevitable disposal of their waste or products. The fashion industry now grapples with its environmental footprint and social responsibilities.

With fashion responsible for almost 10% of global emissions– more than international flights and maritime shipping combined- pressure is mounting to do more. Sustainability is now a guiding principle in government policy, and has become a crucial part of Japan’s future. The SDG’s (17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations) are driving Japanese industry, including goals to drastically reduce plastic waste and emissions by 2030 that will impact shopping as we know it.

But it’s not only the government putting increased pressure on the fashion industry, consumers also expect better. A Rakuten Insight report found that almost half (44.9%) of APAC consumers prioritize sustainable products. And the younger the consumer, the more important it becomes, with Gen Z leading at 88%, while Baby Boomers follow at 79%. They’re even willing to pay more!

So with both top-down governmental, and bottom-up customer demand rising, we should be seeing a clear shift towards ethical, sustainable shopping, right? Not exactly. While there is increased popularity of sustainable brands, Shein - an ultra-fast fashion player - has also been doubling profits year on year. 

Why are we seeing this disconnect between sustainable expectations and the reality of shopping behaviour? 


One cause is that clothing is just too cheaply priced. We’re not reflecting the environmental cost in prices paid by the consumer. Why wouldn’t shoppers buy things that are cheap and why wouldn’t brands sell them if they’re allowed to? This is a matter to be solved by industry regulation, not by magically expecting daily shoppers to do extensive research on every item of clothing they buy.

Another big piece of the puzzle is how brands are selling to customers in a digital-first world. 

Both Shein and competitor Temu, sell their cheap, disposable items via the web. Bigger brands have also seen a significant uptick in online shopping, either via their website or online marketplaces. Getting rid of stores and additional stock/shipping could actually have a positive environmental impact. Here’s the catch though: online shopping is a terrible experience compared to physical stores.

Customers are trying to find items they like and look good on them, yet we’re not helping them with the second part. At all. In a store you can try clothes on and see how they fit, even have a shopping assistant help you. Online you have a size table that seems to arbitrarily change for every brand and pictures of models that may or may not be close to your own, specific body. 


The main thing we’re creating in online shopping is uncertainty. We know we like an item, but are unsure whether we would look good in it. Shoppers are less likely to buy something out of fear of making a wrong and expensive purchase. As a brand, we need to overcome this barrier. We see 3 potential strategies to reduce uncertainty:

  1. Reduce price (and quality)

By making items cheap, the potential cost of making a bad purchase is lowered for a customer. If it doesn’t fit, they didn’t pay a lot and can throw it away. Temu and Shein have made this their core business. Cheap in price most likely means cheap in quality, with items being disposed of very quickly. This strategy is therefore a disaster for anyone who is serious about sustainability.

  1. Lenient return policies

Being able to return something also takes away any concern about bad purchases. However, it has the adverse effect of customers buying a range of sizes, increasing demand on stock while also causing a lot of extra transport and shipping. Most brands are stepping away from free returns; their impact on sustainability has been mostly negative.

  1. Provide a better customer experience online

Instead of finding workarounds, some brands like Ralph Lauren, Adidas, and UnderArmour, have taken steps to provide a shopping experience that more closely aligns with a physical experience. By using customer data to simulate their products on a customer’s body, they can accurately estimate whether it would be a good fit for them. Taking the guesswork out of online shopping, without the need for returns or cheap items.

While the 2 first options lead to negative consequences for the environment, there’s a massive opportunity to do more where customers already are. By focusing fully on finally upgrading the actual online shopping experience instead of everything surrounding it, brands will be able to drive sustainability, by giving customers what they’re already looking for.



To read more on how we’re helping our clients tackle these problems, visit virtusize.com.

Unlocking more sustainable shopping, by building a better customer experience!

When it comes to the global effort to reduce environmental impact and pollution, (fast) fashion has become a popular villain. Once celebrated for its accessibility and affordability, the fast fashion industry now faces heightened scrutiny for its environmental and social impacts.With players such as H&M coming under massive scrutiny for their entire business model, from sourcing of pollution-heavy fabrics to the conditions of their workforce in third world countries and the inevitable disposal of their waste or products. The fashion industry now grapples with its environmental footprint and social responsibilities.

With fashion responsible for almost 10% of global emissions– more than international flights and maritime shipping combined- pressure is mounting to do more. Sustainability is now a guiding principle in government policy, and has become a crucial part of Japan’s future. The SDG’s (17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations) are driving Japanese industry, including goals to drastically reduce plastic waste and emissions by 2030 that will impact shopping as we know it.

But it’s not only the government putting increased pressure on the fashion industry, consumers also expect better. A Rakuten Insight report found that almost half (44.9%) of APAC consumers prioritize sustainable products. And the younger the consumer, the more important it becomes, with Gen Z leading at 88%, while Baby Boomers follow at 79%. They’re even willing to pay more!

So with both top-down governmental, and bottom-up customer demand rising, we should be seeing a clear shift towards ethical, sustainable shopping, right? Not exactly. While there is increased popularity of sustainable brands, Shein - an ultra-fast fashion player - has also been doubling profits year on year. 

Why are we seeing this disconnect between sustainable expectations and the reality of shopping behaviour? 


One cause is that clothing is just too cheaply priced. We’re not reflecting the environmental cost in prices paid by the consumer. Why wouldn’t shoppers buy things that are cheap and why wouldn’t brands sell them if they’re allowed to? This is a matter to be solved by industry regulation, not by magically expecting daily shoppers to do extensive research on every item of clothing they buy.

Another big piece of the puzzle is how brands are selling to customers in a digital-first world. 

Both Shein and competitor Temu, sell their cheap, disposable items via the web. Bigger brands have also seen a significant uptick in online shopping, either via their website or online marketplaces. Getting rid of stores and additional stock/shipping could actually have a positive environmental impact. Here’s the catch though: online shopping is a terrible experience compared to physical stores.

Customers are trying to find items they like and look good on them, yet we’re not helping them with the second part. At all. In a store you can try clothes on and see how they fit, even have a shopping assistant help you. Online you have a size table that seems to arbitrarily change for every brand and pictures of models that may or may not be close to your own, specific body. 


The main thing we’re creating in online shopping is uncertainty. We know we like an item, but are unsure whether we would look good in it. Shoppers are less likely to buy something out of fear of making a wrong and expensive purchase. As a brand, we need to overcome this barrier. We see 3 potential strategies to reduce uncertainty:

  1. Reduce price (and quality)

By making items cheap, the potential cost of making a bad purchase is lowered for a customer. If it doesn’t fit, they didn’t pay a lot and can throw it away. Temu and Shein have made this their core business. Cheap in price most likely means cheap in quality, with items being disposed of very quickly. This strategy is therefore a disaster for anyone who is serious about sustainability.

  1. Lenient return policies

Being able to return something also takes away any concern about bad purchases. However, it has the adverse effect of customers buying a range of sizes, increasing demand on stock while also causing a lot of extra transport and shipping. Most brands are stepping away from free returns; their impact on sustainability has been mostly negative.

  1. Provide a better customer experience online

Instead of finding workarounds, some brands like Ralph Lauren, Adidas, and UnderArmour, have taken steps to provide a shopping experience that more closely aligns with a physical experience. By using customer data to simulate their products on a customer’s body, they can accurately estimate whether it would be a good fit for them. Taking the guesswork out of online shopping, without the need for returns or cheap items.

While the 2 first options lead to negative consequences for the environment, there’s a massive opportunity to do more where customers already are. By focusing fully on finally upgrading the actual online shopping experience instead of everything surrounding it, brands will be able to drive sustainability, by giving customers what they’re already looking for.



To read more on how we’re helping our clients tackle these problems, visit virtusize.com.

Unlocking more sustainable shopping, by building a better customer experience!

When it comes to the global effort to reduce environmental impact and pollution, (fast) fashion has become a popular villain. Once celebrated for its accessibility and affordability, the fast fashion industry now faces heightened scrutiny for its environmental and social impacts.With players such as H&M coming under massive scrutiny for their entire business model, from sourcing of pollution-heavy fabrics to the conditions of their workforce in third world countries and the inevitable disposal of their waste or products. The fashion industry now grapples with its environmental footprint and social responsibilities.

With fashion responsible for almost 10% of global emissions– more than international flights and maritime shipping combined- pressure is mounting to do more. Sustainability is now a guiding principle in government policy, and has become a crucial part of Japan’s future. The SDG’s (17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations) are driving Japanese industry, including goals to drastically reduce plastic waste and emissions by 2030 that will impact shopping as we know it.

But it’s not only the government putting increased pressure on the fashion industry, consumers also expect better. A Rakuten Insight report found that almost half (44.9%) of APAC consumers prioritize sustainable products. And the younger the consumer, the more important it becomes, with Gen Z leading at 88%, while Baby Boomers follow at 79%. They’re even willing to pay more!

So with both top-down governmental, and bottom-up customer demand rising, we should be seeing a clear shift towards ethical, sustainable shopping, right? Not exactly. While there is increased popularity of sustainable brands, Shein - an ultra-fast fashion player - has also been doubling profits year on year. 

Why are we seeing this disconnect between sustainable expectations and the reality of shopping behaviour? 


One cause is that clothing is just too cheaply priced. We’re not reflecting the environmental cost in prices paid by the consumer. Why wouldn’t shoppers buy things that are cheap and why wouldn’t brands sell them if they’re allowed to? This is a matter to be solved by industry regulation, not by magically expecting daily shoppers to do extensive research on every item of clothing they buy.

Another big piece of the puzzle is how brands are selling to customers in a digital-first world. 

Both Shein and competitor Temu, sell their cheap, disposable items via the web. Bigger brands have also seen a significant uptick in online shopping, either via their website or online marketplaces. Getting rid of stores and additional stock/shipping could actually have a positive environmental impact. Here’s the catch though: online shopping is a terrible experience compared to physical stores.

Customers are trying to find items they like and look good on them, yet we’re not helping them with the second part. At all. In a store you can try clothes on and see how they fit, even have a shopping assistant help you. Online you have a size table that seems to arbitrarily change for every brand and pictures of models that may or may not be close to your own, specific body. 


The main thing we’re creating in online shopping is uncertainty. We know we like an item, but are unsure whether we would look good in it. Shoppers are less likely to buy something out of fear of making a wrong and expensive purchase. As a brand, we need to overcome this barrier. We see 3 potential strategies to reduce uncertainty:

  1. Reduce price (and quality)

By making items cheap, the potential cost of making a bad purchase is lowered for a customer. If it doesn’t fit, they didn’t pay a lot and can throw it away. Temu and Shein have made this their core business. Cheap in price most likely means cheap in quality, with items being disposed of very quickly. This strategy is therefore a disaster for anyone who is serious about sustainability.

  1. Lenient return policies

Being able to return something also takes away any concern about bad purchases. However, it has the adverse effect of customers buying a range of sizes, increasing demand on stock while also causing a lot of extra transport and shipping. Most brands are stepping away from free returns; their impact on sustainability has been mostly negative.

  1. Provide a better customer experience online

Instead of finding workarounds, some brands like Ralph Lauren, Adidas, and UnderArmour, have taken steps to provide a shopping experience that more closely aligns with a physical experience. By using customer data to simulate their products on a customer’s body, they can accurately estimate whether it would be a good fit for them. Taking the guesswork out of online shopping, without the need for returns or cheap items.

While the 2 first options lead to negative consequences for the environment, there’s a massive opportunity to do more where customers already are. By focusing fully on finally upgrading the actual online shopping experience instead of everything surrounding it, brands will be able to drive sustainability, by giving customers what they’re already looking for.



To read more on how we’re helping our clients tackle these problems, visit virtusize.com.

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Green Intentions vs. Online Shopping Behavior: Don’t Blame Your Customer

Unlocking more sustainable shopping, by building a better customer experience!

When it comes to the global effort to reduce environmental impact and pollution, (fast) fashion has become a popular villain. Once celebrated for its accessibility and affordability, the fast fashion industry now faces heightened scrutiny for its environmental and social impacts.With players such as H&M coming under massive scrutiny for their entire business model, from sourcing of pollution-heavy fabrics to the conditions of their workforce in third world countries and the inevitable disposal of their waste or products. The fashion industry now grapples with its environmental footprint and social responsibilities.

With fashion responsible for almost 10% of global emissions– more than international flights and maritime shipping combined- pressure is mounting to do more. Sustainability is now a guiding principle in government policy, and has become a crucial part of Japan’s future. The SDG’s (17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations) are driving Japanese industry, including goals to drastically reduce plastic waste and emissions by 2030 that will impact shopping as we know it.

But it’s not only the government putting increased pressure on the fashion industry, consumers also expect better. A Rakuten Insight report found that almost half (44.9%) of APAC consumers prioritize sustainable products. And the younger the consumer, the more important it becomes, with Gen Z leading at 88%, while Baby Boomers follow at 79%. They’re even willing to pay more!

So with both top-down governmental, and bottom-up customer demand rising, we should be seeing a clear shift towards ethical, sustainable shopping, right? Not exactly. While there is increased popularity of sustainable brands, Shein - an ultra-fast fashion player - has also been doubling profits year on year. 

Why are we seeing this disconnect between sustainable expectations and the reality of shopping behaviour? 


One cause is that clothing is just too cheaply priced. We’re not reflecting the environmental cost in prices paid by the consumer. Why wouldn’t shoppers buy things that are cheap and why wouldn’t brands sell them if they’re allowed to? This is a matter to be solved by industry regulation, not by magically expecting daily shoppers to do extensive research on every item of clothing they buy.

Another big piece of the puzzle is how brands are selling to customers in a digital-first world. 

Both Shein and competitor Temu, sell their cheap, disposable items via the web. Bigger brands have also seen a significant uptick in online shopping, either via their website or online marketplaces. Getting rid of stores and additional stock/shipping could actually have a positive environmental impact. Here’s the catch though: online shopping is a terrible experience compared to physical stores.

Customers are trying to find items they like and look good on them, yet we’re not helping them with the second part. At all. In a store you can try clothes on and see how they fit, even have a shopping assistant help you. Online you have a size table that seems to arbitrarily change for every brand and pictures of models that may or may not be close to your own, specific body. 


The main thing we’re creating in online shopping is uncertainty. We know we like an item, but are unsure whether we would look good in it. Shoppers are less likely to buy something out of fear of making a wrong and expensive purchase. As a brand, we need to overcome this barrier. We see 3 potential strategies to reduce uncertainty:

  1. Reduce price (and quality)

By making items cheap, the potential cost of making a bad purchase is lowered for a customer. If it doesn’t fit, they didn’t pay a lot and can throw it away. Temu and Shein have made this their core business. Cheap in price most likely means cheap in quality, with items being disposed of very quickly. This strategy is therefore a disaster for anyone who is serious about sustainability.

  1. Lenient return policies

Being able to return something also takes away any concern about bad purchases. However, it has the adverse effect of customers buying a range of sizes, increasing demand on stock while also causing a lot of extra transport and shipping. Most brands are stepping away from free returns; their impact on sustainability has been mostly negative.

  1. Provide a better customer experience online

Instead of finding workarounds, some brands like Ralph Lauren, Adidas, and UnderArmour, have taken steps to provide a shopping experience that more closely aligns with a physical experience. By using customer data to simulate their products on a customer’s body, they can accurately estimate whether it would be a good fit for them. Taking the guesswork out of online shopping, without the need for returns or cheap items.

While the 2 first options lead to negative consequences for the environment, there’s a massive opportunity to do more where customers already are. By focusing fully on finally upgrading the actual online shopping experience instead of everything surrounding it, brands will be able to drive sustainability, by giving customers what they’re already looking for.



To read more on how we’re helping our clients tackle these problems, visit virtusize.com.

Unlocking more sustainable shopping, by building a better customer experience!

When it comes to the global effort to reduce environmental impact and pollution, (fast) fashion has become a popular villain. Once celebrated for its accessibility and affordability, the fast fashion industry now faces heightened scrutiny for its environmental and social impacts.With players such as H&M coming under massive scrutiny for their entire business model, from sourcing of pollution-heavy fabrics to the conditions of their workforce in third world countries and the inevitable disposal of their waste or products. The fashion industry now grapples with its environmental footprint and social responsibilities.

With fashion responsible for almost 10% of global emissions– more than international flights and maritime shipping combined- pressure is mounting to do more. Sustainability is now a guiding principle in government policy, and has become a crucial part of Japan’s future. The SDG’s (17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations) are driving Japanese industry, including goals to drastically reduce plastic waste and emissions by 2030 that will impact shopping as we know it.

But it’s not only the government putting increased pressure on the fashion industry, consumers also expect better. A Rakuten Insight report found that almost half (44.9%) of APAC consumers prioritize sustainable products. And the younger the consumer, the more important it becomes, with Gen Z leading at 88%, while Baby Boomers follow at 79%. They’re even willing to pay more!

So with both top-down governmental, and bottom-up customer demand rising, we should be seeing a clear shift towards ethical, sustainable shopping, right? Not exactly. While there is increased popularity of sustainable brands, Shein - an ultra-fast fashion player - has also been doubling profits year on year. 

Why are we seeing this disconnect between sustainable expectations and the reality of shopping behaviour? 


One cause is that clothing is just too cheaply priced. We’re not reflecting the environmental cost in prices paid by the consumer. Why wouldn’t shoppers buy things that are cheap and why wouldn’t brands sell them if they’re allowed to? This is a matter to be solved by industry regulation, not by magically expecting daily shoppers to do extensive research on every item of clothing they buy.

Another big piece of the puzzle is how brands are selling to customers in a digital-first world. 

Both Shein and competitor Temu, sell their cheap, disposable items via the web. Bigger brands have also seen a significant uptick in online shopping, either via their website or online marketplaces. Getting rid of stores and additional stock/shipping could actually have a positive environmental impact. Here’s the catch though: online shopping is a terrible experience compared to physical stores.

Customers are trying to find items they like and look good on them, yet we’re not helping them with the second part. At all. In a store you can try clothes on and see how they fit, even have a shopping assistant help you. Online you have a size table that seems to arbitrarily change for every brand and pictures of models that may or may not be close to your own, specific body. 


The main thing we’re creating in online shopping is uncertainty. We know we like an item, but are unsure whether we would look good in it. Shoppers are less likely to buy something out of fear of making a wrong and expensive purchase. As a brand, we need to overcome this barrier. We see 3 potential strategies to reduce uncertainty:

  1. Reduce price (and quality)

By making items cheap, the potential cost of making a bad purchase is lowered for a customer. If it doesn’t fit, they didn’t pay a lot and can throw it away. Temu and Shein have made this their core business. Cheap in price most likely means cheap in quality, with items being disposed of very quickly. This strategy is therefore a disaster for anyone who is serious about sustainability.

  1. Lenient return policies

Being able to return something also takes away any concern about bad purchases. However, it has the adverse effect of customers buying a range of sizes, increasing demand on stock while also causing a lot of extra transport and shipping. Most brands are stepping away from free returns; their impact on sustainability has been mostly negative.

  1. Provide a better customer experience online

Instead of finding workarounds, some brands like Ralph Lauren, Adidas, and UnderArmour, have taken steps to provide a shopping experience that more closely aligns with a physical experience. By using customer data to simulate their products on a customer’s body, they can accurately estimate whether it would be a good fit for them. Taking the guesswork out of online shopping, without the need for returns or cheap items.

While the 2 first options lead to negative consequences for the environment, there’s a massive opportunity to do more where customers already are. By focusing fully on finally upgrading the actual online shopping experience instead of everything surrounding it, brands will be able to drive sustainability, by giving customers what they’re already looking for.



To read more on how we’re helping our clients tackle these problems, visit virtusize.com.

Up next

【UNDER ARMOUR】Virtusize導入後、導入前の同期間と比較してVirtusize利用グループのサイズ起因返品率が27%減少

【Fabric協同】サステナブルとファッションに関わるイベントを開催しました!

第一弾!VirtusizeのUIを一部アップデートしました!

VSロジック重要指標!サイズマッチ率のご紹介

お客様向けFAQを英語でご利用いただけるようになりました

オンライン試着の「バーチャサイズ」、韓国発の通販サイトnuguへ提供開始

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