How to Show the Correct Product Size & Avoid Returns and Bad Reviews

Have you ever got a bad customer review that went something like this—

“The dress is great. Delivery was fast. But it’s smaller than what it looks in the photos.” 3 stars.

Bam! Bad customer rating because the customer thought a product was bigger/smaller.

When photos don’t show your product size accurately, bad things happen: negative reviews, poor ratings, or worse – refunds and cancellations.

9 Reasons Why Consumers Return Merchandise

One of the major reasons for product returns turns out to be customers realizing they got the wrong product size or the product is too small/big.

And that’s all going to throw your morale out the window and hamper your business.

The good thing is you can avoid all those problems (almost) if you just make a couple of additions to your product photography.

There are four simple ways to make sure visitors see – not just read – what size your product is:

  1. Use humans for reference
  2. Show the product in use
  3. Use physical objects as size reference
  4. Bring out the measuring tape!

Most sellers mention the product size – as numbers – in the description. And they do a good job of clicking good product photos that do show – to a great extent – the size of the product.

When a customer buys a product and then says “it’s smaller than I thought”, the first reaction you have as a seller is: “You should have read the description because I’ve clearly mentioned the size.”

But as a seller, you must understand that most customers are going to be irrational and hold you responsible for what’s apparently their mistake.

seller talks about product size problems

One of the more sensible comments about this problem on Etsy.

1. Use humans for reference

If your product is a tiny doll, how tiny is it?

Hold it in your hand and photograph it. This gives the buyer a somewhat lucid reference of the doll’s size.

add humans to the product photo

Selling a toddler t-shirt? Put it on a toddler to show your visitors how it fits and what size it is. Image courtesy: PurpleElephantSTL.

The thing about using humans in product photography is that it’s a clear size reference (as long as it involves products that are much smaller than the models). When you hold something in your hand or when you wear something on you, the visitor gets a clear idea of what size your product is.

as a buyer - relative product size

use your hand as a relative measure

A human palm/finger is a simple and easy reference for products that can be held this way. Image courtesy: TinyWorldbyCrochAndi.

Sure, this may not work all the time but for many products, adding a human being to the photograph is a big step in eliminating the perceived size problem.

guess the size of this pot

Can you guess the size of this beautiful item? Image courtesy: Orit Creative Workshop.

holding the pot gives an idea of size

Now you get the size of the product. Image courtesy: Orit Creative Workshop.

2. Show the product in use

Do you sell a hat? Wear it. Sell handbags? Carry it.

guess the size of the stool

Here’s a question: what is the height of this side table? Image courtesy: Milkcart.

size of the stool in use

In reference to the bed, the height is somewhat clearer now. (It could still be better, right? Check out the item listing to see how this is resolved). Image courtesy: Milkcart.

The proper size of a product can be easily conveyed if you just show the product in use. Many times, a product photo that show the product being used in “real-life” situation is what seals the deal for the visitor – it’s the exact representation of how the product looks in the real world.

3. Use physical objects for reference

A penny or a dollar bill is often used as a size-reference for objects that are tiny. It’s hard to gauge the size of a small product so crafty sellers put a penny besides a product.

Sometimes, a penny or a dollar bill is still insufficient because not everyone in the world uses a penny or a dollar bill.

At this point, you’ve got to think just out of the box.

Here’s an example:

marmalady creative ideas to show product size

Sometimes, you should think outside the box to come up with creative ways to show your product. Image courtesy: Marmalady.

Marmalady’s Lemon Curd bottles are small but without a reference point, it can be hard to figure out just how small they are. So she places lemons right next to the bottle for a product photo.

And just like that, a beautiful creative product photo conveys the size of the bottles easily.

4. Bring out the measuring tape

All said and done, a measuring tape / ruler is something you shouldn’t miss. It’s perhaps the clearest way to tell what size your product is visually. Everything else is great for reference but the measuring tape seals the deal in most cases.

use a ruler instead

Sizing up the crystals. Image courtesy: The Gaian Crystals.

There are always exceptions to the rule. You can’t use a measuring tape or a ruler to tell how many drops of fragrant oil is inside that small bottle you sell. But where it makes sense, you should make use of a ruler to show the size of the product.

another example of a ruler

Image courtesy: GreenVi.

Don’t forget the math though

At the end of the day, don’t forget to add – in the description – the exact measurements of the product you’re selling.

All these methods of conveying the product size as accurately as possible are for visual reasons. The numbers should be indicated in text in the description.

numbers are not very helpful

Screenshot from BangiShop.

This is because you want to be safe from returns and refunds and avoid ambiguity. Almost no one’s going to have a good idea about the size of the product with just numbers but these numbers will save you from all the hassle that stems from careless customers.

I'll leave you with this. Look at #6. Shops lose about $62bn because customers order the wrong size / realize they got a product too small/big. Credit: Footwearplus Magazine.

I’ll leave you with this. Look at #6. Shops lose about $62bn because customers order the wrong size / realize they got a product too small/big. Credit: Footwearplus Magazine.

Share your ideas!

How do you solve the problem of showing the correct product size on your store?

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