D&I: E-Commerce Strategies
Many businesses are committing to stronger diversity and inclusion initiatives via employee programmes, corporate donations and increased representation. This report explores how e-commerce strategies can uphold D&I commitments by building shopping features for a more diverse clientele.
While visual representation is often the first hurdle for brands to adopt when addressing diversity and inclusion initiatives, it should not be the last.
As consumers put more pressure on brands to increase D&I commitments, they will expect them to better represent a diverse world and create more systems to support it. One of these tools is a brand’s website, with an e-commerce platform that supports a diverse range of consumer identities, backgrounds and needs.
Size diversity is often the most cited form of e-commerce inclusion, particularly because issues in sizing are the number one reason for consumers to return online purchases. In a survey of 1,200 US shoppers, 91%said they were confused by inconsistent brand sizing. In addition, US shoppers were set to return $280bn worth of what they bought online in 2022. However, other forms of inclusion are just as necessary, across ethnicity, accessibility, gender and financial ability.
This report highlights leading e-commerce strategies to promote diversity and inclusion in the US and UK.
Brands should always hire a diverse cast of models to showcase their products, but hiring large numbers of people to account for diversity may not be financially realistic for small companies.
E-commerce startup Gander (US) makes it easier by tapping its network of diverse UGC (user-generated content) creators to embed their own content into brands’ websites. It promotes site engagement via interactive content, and supports people of colour by giving them more control over how they’re represented by brands.
Gander founder Kimiloluwa Fafowora was included in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for championing e-commerce diversity and underrepresented minorities as informed consumers.
Online fitting rooms, digital twins and expanded sizing guides will make shopping more comfortable for people of all sizes.
Online fitting rooms are being made over thanks to digital fitting avatars that help users see clothes on their body type. Levi’s shoppers can choose from dozens of virtual models, including both the US brand’s employees and micro-influencers, who best match their size, shape and ethnicity as part of its See It In My Size feature. Walmart (US) took this tech a step further by allowing shoppers to upload their photos and see a personalised avatar try on its clothes via its app.
While it’s a good time for large e-tailers to invest in digital fitting solutions, smaller brands can take a more content-forward approach, as seen at outdoor retailer Alder. The Canadian brand’s website includes a sizing page describing how each garment was made to fit the body.