Bracketing is when consumers purchase a number of items in different sizes or colors with the intent to return the items that don’t meet their preferences or needs.
Most shoppers need to see and feel a product in real life in order to feel confident purchasing it. That can pose a challenge for ecommerce retailers who aren’t able to give their customers the hands-on product experience they need. In these cases, many customers resort to bracketing to find the right product via the convenience of online shopping.
While bracketing can be beneficial for consumers, it can present many logistical challenges for businesses. When bracketing occurs, businesses have to manage fulfilling larger orders and field large amounts of product returns. This can make forecasting budgets or streamlining operations difficult.
To navigate this challenge and reduce the amount of bracketing, many businesses are finding creative ways — such as using augmented reality (AR) or showrooming — to give consumers a hands-on (albeit virtual) experience with their products. This enables consumers to purchase products with confidence and avoid logistically stressful bracketing techniques.