Temperature guidelines


If you’ve ever flipped through an LL Bean or Land’s End catalog, you probably noticed that all their cold-weather gear has a temperature rating. This helps you decide which jacket to buy based on the climate that you live in (or are planning to visit). I find these usage tips really helpful, since they tie the product to the real-world scenarios where people will use it. But despite the obvious benefit and low cost, you almost never see this sort of information at mainstream retailers, regardless of whether you’re shopping the catalog, website, or local store.

I think it’s safe to assume that providing this extra information could only help sales. I highly doubt that sales would decrease because the product has some temperature guidelines on the tag. Those who don’t care about that would ignore it, and those who are trying to match their clothing to a certain climate would be able to locate a suitable option. So perhaps the obstacle is actually managing and delivering the information. Maybe it’s very costly to perform the temperature testing, or there’s a lot of work involved in getting that information to appear on the price tag or website description. Both of these could conceivably reduce margins for the retailer or brand.

Clearly, there’s some reason why only a handful of stores tell you which temperatures you can wear their clothes in. So if the retailers and brands won’t do it, maybe consumers can fill in the blanks. Imagine if Amazon or another online retailer asked for this information when you post a review of a sweater or jacket. People could say what temperatures they’ve worn the garment in, and how it performed. Granted, there are tons of great product review sites out there, but I’ve never seen one that shows climate-based usage ratings.

Besides the basics like “28 reviewers said this jacket is ideal for temperatures of 10-30 degrees Farenheit,” this would open up the door for new search and filtering methods. Shoppers could see the top-rated jackets for surviving the Minneapolis winter, or the best raincoats to keep out the Seattle rain. By encouraging people to provide this information with their reviews, and helping them find apparel that matches the environment where they’ll be wearing it, retailers should see an increase in sales. Plus, there will be fewer returns and exchanges because something was too warm or too cold.