Bazaarvoice, which helps brands use online word of mouth to build their businesses, today announced the availability of what it says is the industry's first sliding rating scale for apparel retailers.

The new Bazaarvoice slider complements the traditional 5-star rating with a more flexible and descriptive scale for apparel attributes such as 'classic/contemporary' or 'fitted/flowing'.

"As ratings and reviews move into new areas like apparel, traditional functionality needs to be adapted to different markets and requirements," said Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice.

"Designed in response to apparel retailer demand, the slider breaks new ground by allowing shoppers to rate products in a more subjective manner, which is consistent with the nature of apparel shopping and word of mouth."

Hurt added that the slider was completely customisable and that it would add insight into the product catalogue for both shoppers and merchandisers.

Slider dimensions are particularly useful in helping shoppers assess the fit of a product, a persistent problem for apparel retailers online. As many as 40% of all apparel products bought online are believed to be returned due to incorrect fit.

"Apparel retailers like Macy's rely on the Bazaarvoice technology and team to bring the voice of the customer into the eCommerce experience," said Sam Decker, VP of marketing and products at Bazaarvoice.

"We relentlessly innovate to help our clients effectively use the power of customer-generated content to increase sales, attract new customers, and improve customer satisfaction and loyalty."