Last updated: 27 March 2015
The sales of fashion products and accessories comprise an important revenue stream for e-commerce in Brazil. In this article we will look at the size of this sector and detail how products are offered by fashion e-commerce websites in Brazil.
Online Fashion and Accessories Market
Not only do online fashion and accessories stores represent some of the largest e-commerce websites in Brazil, this sector encompasses the largest share of e-commerce orders in the country. According to the WebShoppers report from market analyst E-bit, 17% of all e-commerce orders in Brazil in 2014 were directly linked to fashion and accessories stores with combined sales from these retailers expected to reach a total of BRL 6.5 billion in 2015.
Fashion products are also some of the most sought after by Brazilian customers who shop with foreign online stores. E-bit research indicates that these categories represented 33% of purchases made on international e-commerce websites by Brazilians in 2014, also taking part in 52% of orders from Chinese websites during that year.
The question of product returns and exchanges is especially relevant to online retailers of fashion and accessories. This is due to the difficulty for consumers to predict if ordered items will fit, a matter easily handled by brick and mortar retailers which offer many different sizes and variations of the same product.
Brazilian customers are notably sensitive about this issue, as recent research by credit scoring institution SPC Brasil shows that 17% of consumers who intend to buy shoes and 16% of consumers who intend to buy fashion items, reject online stores due to the inability to try on the products and the chance of having to return them if they do not fit.
Although Brazilian e-commerce websites offer means for any product to be returned during a minimum period of seven days after delivery, as required by the country’s regulation, many consumers consider this practice troublesome. The consumer perspective towards product returns could be an impediment to the further growth of online stores and should be taken into consideration when establishing fashion and accessories e-commerce in Brazil.
Along with enabling a functional and user friendly reverse logistics stream, fashion and accessories e-commerce websites must ensure their product offering is as clear and detailed as possible in order to foster consumers with the confidence that ordered products will fit their needs.
Product Display and Taxonomy of E-commerce Fashion Items
Brazilian online fashion and accessories stores adopt different means to inform customers of product specifications and ensure they are displayed in significant detail.
Product Pictures and Virtual Change Rooms
Fashion and accessories e-commerce websites in Brazil commonly display multiple pictures on their product pages instead of offering 360 degree views of products. One solution adopted by stores such as Dafiti is to enable a virtual fitting room in which customers can create a 3-D model based on their body size and dress it with the offered products to simulate their look and facilitate the search for product combinations.
Another solution adopted by stores such as Posthaus and Oculos Shop is to enable a virtual mirror, or an image feed based on pictures captured by the customers webcam, which provide a simulation of what the product will look like on their bodies.
The size numbering system for fashion items in Brazil is generally more limited than systems found in other countries. In general, clothing stores either provide products in P, M, G and GG sizes, the Portuguese representation for English size abbreviations S, M, L and XL, or offer size numbering based on each product category.
The lettering system in Brazil is non standardized, which means products with the same letter categories can have different sizes depending on the manufacturer. Not only that but there are no standard letter specifications for sizes larger than G, as stores use terms such as EG, XG or GG to refer to the same size.
The size numbering system in Brazil also needs to be highlighted. As opposed to the numbering system used in countries like the United States, each clothing item category in Brazil is numbered with one single algorism. For example, trousers are offered in numbered sizes based on waist width, and do not provide the option to choose the length of the inseam. It is also a widely adopted practice to provide a chart with the relation of size to the specifications of each product on their pages.
Fashion and accessories online stores must be attentive to the peculiarity of Brazilian systems when offering products in the country. Below, we have compiled a general list of adult clothing sizing systems by Brazilian online stores that serve as a reference to what is commonly practiced in this sector:
- Mens Shirts: Numbering based on neck size, with a range from 1 to 6 that represents sizes 36cm to 47cm
- Womens Shirts: Numbering based on the combination of bust and waist size, with a usual range from 36 to 46 that represents sizes 80x65cm to 100x85cm
- T-Shirts: Letter representation from P to GG that represents the combination of length and width of shirts, which usually range from 68x50cm to 76x60cm for men and 55x40cm to 60x48cm for women
- Trousers: Numbering based on waist width, with a range from 36 to 46 that represents sizes 76cm to 100cm
- Shoes: Numbering based on foot length, with a range from 33 to 46 that represents sizes 22.8cm to 29.2cm
- Underwear: Lettering based on waist size, ranging from P to G that represents sizes 68cm to 92cm for women and 76cm to 96cm for men
- Bras: Number and lettering system that combines the width of the back ranging from 38 to 54, representing sizes 63cm to 107cm. For the cup size, the range is from A to DD and represents sizes 14cm to 30cm
- Gloves: Numbering based on hand width, with a range from 8 to 11 that represents sizes 9cm to 12cm
Try-On Plans at Home
Fashion and accessories e-commerce websites in Brazil rarely offer try-on plans at home, which refer to the delivery of a selection of products to be tried during a determinate period and culminating in either the purchase or return of the items.
One of the sole stores in Brazil that offers this service is glasses retailer Lema 21. Their plan allows customers to choose four different pairs of glasses, pay a deposit of BRL 245 plus the shipping fee and have a four day period in which they can try the products. In case they decide to purchase a pair of the glasses, no further payment is required, whereas if they decide not to make the purchase the fee paid is returned minus a service charge of BRL 35.