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You might have heard about it: the say-do gap in fashion. But what does it mean? 

It is no secret that sustainable fashion has moved beyond a hot and trending topic. Conscious consumerism has became the most discussed phenomenon on all news outlets, from traditional media to social platforms. And for good reason. Customers expect brands to do more than just sell clothes. 

Nowadays, fashion brands need to contribute to a more sustainable, ethical and overall better tomorrow. Those who do not are being called out more and more by citizens. But what about these conscious customers? Are they putting their money where their mouth is? That is where the say-do gap in fashion comes in.

Green Story found that 84% of global customers want to shop sustainably  

Did you get that? 84%! While that is a very uplifting and promising metric, there is a catch. 

Only 10% of these customers follow through

There you go, that is the say-do gap in fashion, in a nutshell. Most people do have the best intentions and want to shop responsibly. Yet, there are only a few that follow through. However, there is no need to dwell on these numbers. Look at the bright side: the 74% are potential customers for your sustainable fashion business. They are ready to be won over by YOU.

So what’s stopping them? 

At Scircula we are fortunate to be partnered with some of the most progressive sustainable fashion brands who always offer us a lot of insight into what their customers want. Which we also validate with our own ongoing consumer behaviour research.

One concern that comes up time and time again; customers worry about the negative impact of returns.

In case you didn’t know, online clothing returns (which we all know cost time and money) also have an enormous negative impact on our planet. With every return generating at least 50 kg of CO2. To put that in perspective, the transportation alone contributes 15 million metric tons of CO2 to our atmosphere

Add to that, around 10-20% of returned goods are not sold. Often due to the compromised quality in which these goods are returned, making them unsuitable for resale. The result? These returned items end up being burned or in landfill, generating even more CO2. 

…customers are more and more aware of the negative impact they have on our planet by ordering the wrong fit.

A problem that doesn’t just impact the after sales and repeat sales experience, but also the potential of converting a new customer to make an initial sale. The risk of ordering an incorrect size and having to return it is a huge barrier for most shoppers, supported by the fact that around 30% of cart abandonment is directly attributed to the doubt about what size to buy to be sure it will fit.

On top of that, sustainable and ethical fashion is more expensive than fast fashion. While customers are often happy to pay a fair price, using their wallet to vote for the type of world they wish to create, there are some limitations. Shopping, in the end, is an emotional process. Higher fair prices mean a higher financial risk to the customer and if there is doubt about size or fit, the risk for them is doubled. 

The #1 thing that all customers want is TRUST. 

They want to be confident that buying from you is not only about getting a beautiful, low impact garment that they will wear and cherish for years to come, but that you’ve done all you can to enable them to have a great experience that doesn’t cost our planet.

So how do you build trust and get around the say-do doubts?

1.Inform your customer about your brand’s core values. Share your story on why you started your brand and what steps you’ve taken or are taking to empower them to also make a positive impact on the world. Remember: People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Help your customers be part of the impact journey and feel aligned with your core values.

2.Make sustainability information accessible. Look at where you place your sustainability reports and proven impact. Are they within your customers journey? If not, see about moving them to a place that will give customers the confidence they need to say “yes, I believe what you believe and I want to support your cause”.

3.Improve customer experiences by eliminating guesswork. No one wants to have to contort their brain to buy from you. So look at how you can remove the guesswork by guiding customers on how to buy the right fit. This will not only win their wallets, but also their hearts. Because let’s be real, we feel good when we do good and know that our decisions are building a better world.

4.Show your customers how their decisions are making a positive difference. There are plenty of tools available that offset and track your customers CO2 impact. One of our all time fav’s is by Green Story. Their relatable metrics show customers the positive impact they can make by buying sustainable vs conventional apparel.

We totally get that there are always a million things to do and never enough time to do them in. But we do hope these few easy to action insights have been helpful. Our goal is always to help you increase your customers trust so that together, we can empower responsible consumption and have a positive impact on people, profit and our planet.

Discover more here about how we help remove size and fit guesswork, making your brand easy to trust and buy from again and again.

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