The snow is starting to melt in parts of the country, and plenty of customers are already thinking about summer.

They’re planning ahead for beach or pool time – and that means they’re ready to start assessing their swimsuit options now.

The global swimwear industry is valued at approximately 19 billion dollars, and 38% of Americans say they purchase swimsuits at least once a year. 

Now more than ever, a big chunk of that purchasing is taking place online. And as many brands are introducing new swimwear designs for spring sales, customers are ready to dive in.

That said, your customers want the option to jump back out easily if the suit isn’t the right fit. Offering a great returns policy will not only win you more sales, but the continued goodwill of your loyal customers. 

Around 80% (77% to be exact) of swimwear returns happen between April and August, peaking with 22% in June. Now’s the time to prepare for a spike in sales and return requests to ensure your customers stay satisfied. 

If your ecommerce brand sells swimwear, it’s time to start thinking about how to optimize your sales and returns process to capture more market share and deliver a better customer experience.

Try these tips for making a splash in the swimwear market.

Send a promotion featuring your new designs

If your customers haven’t started thinking about buying swimwear yet, you can beat your competitors to the punch by offering your customers an enticing promotional offer, featuring photos of your latest swimwear designs. 

You can use your customer information to develop personalized offers for each customer on the channels most relevant to them: If one customer frequently engages with email, send the promotion that way; and send it via SMS to a customer who frequently clicks on your brand’s SMS links. You might also customize your content offers geographically: If one segment of customers lives in an area that’s already heating up, you might send your promotion to them a month before you send it to customers in colder climates. 

Use influencer marketing and UGC content to build your brand

Swimwear lends itself to picturesque shots by the beach or resort pool, so using influencer marketing can be a powerful way to showcase your brand. By asking influencers to model your suits and share their opinions, you’ll be able to drive new buzz for your brand among people who may not come across you otherwise. 

You should also make the most of your own social channels to solicit and re-share user generated content hash-tagged with your brand name, so that you can encourage fans to promote your products with genuine photos and reviews – and give them a shoutout on your own page. 

Display the products on different body types

Swimwear is frequently returned because the customer doesn’t like the way it looks on them, compared to how it looked on a size 0 model. By using “real-world” models in different clothing sizes, you can give your customers a more accurate representation of how the apparel might appear on their own body types. 

Include customer reviews

To help customers get a better sense of how a product might fit on them, you can also encourage previous customers to leave their own feedback, with details about how well it fit and any surprises (i.e., “cheekier than expected”). They can also submit their own photos of themselves wearing the swimwear, if desired. This will also help customers feel more confident in choosing a suit that will look and feel good on their own body type.

Be clear about your swimwear returns policy upfront

When it comes to swimwear, your brand will generally want to make it clear that they can’t accept returns that have had the hygienic liner removed from their suits. Hygiene is important, and no one wants to buy a used swimsuit. Make sure that your return conditions are listed directly on each product page, so customers won’t be surprised if they decide to return an item they’ve already worn. 

Incentivize exchanges

Customers don’t typically find the right suit on their first try – but the key is to get them to try again with your brand, instead of one of your competitors.

In order to do this, use a self-service returns management solution like Loop, where customers can identify the reason they’re returning a product and get exchange recommendations from your real-time inventory. 

For example, if the customer says the suit was too small, they’ll be asked if they want to exchange it for the next size up. If they didn’t like the style, your platform can recommend several other popular suits to choose from. Using a platform like Loop makes the exchange process seamless and easy for the user, with no need to return to an online checkout to complete the transaction.

In the event that the customer still asks for a return, you can offer “bonus credit” to use towards a different product of their choice. Spending $10 now to incentivize a customer to exchange their unwanted item for a new product not only saves the initial sale – it helps you maintain a long-term relationship with the customer that may otherwise terminate with the return. 

Making swimwear season work for you – and your customers

As demand builds for your swimwear products, be aware that there’ll be demand for smooth and simple returns as well.

When a customer requests a return or exchange, make it as easy for them as possible. Don’t charge return shipping, and make sure your customer can receive their refund or exchange quickly. 

By putting solid processes in place now for managing returns with a best-in-class returns management technology solution, you’ll empower your customers to find the products that they love, whether it’s on the first, second, or third try. 

With a seamless customer experience that gives customers the confidence to try out different options without committing to them, they’ll buy more from your brand, and purchase more frequently. 

Building flexibility into your returns process also helps you build brand loyalty – and that’s something you’ll be able to carry through countless swimsuit seasons to come.

Interested in learning how Loop can help you optimize your returns process? Book a demo.