3 E-Commerce Tips for Apparel Retailers
While online and offline shopping journeys are becoming increasingly intertwined, in many cases due to the omnichannel nature of consumers, retailers are struggling to understand how this defines consumer segments and what influences the shopper journey online the most.
The apparel industry, in particular, is straddling both sides of this omnichannel approach. For those focused on growing brick-and-mortar sales, they’re trying to optimize the value of those in-person interactions. On the other hand, most retailers are focused on taking advantage of the ease and convenience of e-commerce by identifying ways to offer better benefits to shopping in person through digital tactics.
Pulling from an attitudes and usage study conducted on the online apparel shopper, here are three key tips apparel retailers can look to in order to improve their e-commerce strategy:
1. Highlight convenience, lower prices and variety.
It’s fairly common knowledge that many consumers choose to shop online in order to save time or because it's a more convenient means than going in-store. However, they also shop online because prices either seem lower or are cheaper than in-store. Providing price guarantees or a price comparison when it comes to items frequently purchased online and in-store will resonate well.
The online apparel shopper is also specifically looking for convenience when it comes to purchasing from brands and retailers they know. Starting a strategy by gaining awareness (if you’re a fairly new retailer) among target consumers or leveraging brand equity (if you're an established retailer) is going to be significantly easier and more successful in the long run before targeting customers with other marketing tactics.
Consumers are also currently buying — and most comfortable buying — more casual clothing online. Less-fitted items will require more sizing and fit guidance as a result. Being able to save time and browse a large variety of items online is also more appealing to online shoppers. Highlighting the availability of more apparel choices such as more colors, styles or patterns, especially compared to brick-and-mortar retailers, could provide a competitive advantage.
2. Leverage the shopper journey.
The online apparel shopper journey often starts at home while consumers are relaxing. Sharing email communications during this time may more effectively reach them and result in more open rates and conversions.
Furthermore, many consumers spend 30 minutes to an hour browsing; those who are spending more time doing so are likely to result in a purchase in order to avoid wasted efforts. As consumers are spending more time on a brand’s site, offering them discounts or recommended items could encourage a purchase. In fact, on average, many online apparel shoppers purchase up to three apparel items at any given sitting.
3. Target accordingly and know your audience
Smaller apparel retailers or those that already cater to unique customer segments have an advantage as targeting specific consumer segments by age or gender can help personalize and improve the online apparel shopping experience.
For example, depending on the type of online shopper, certain variations in barriers, triggers and online behaviors exist. Millennials, Gen X and baby boomers, for example, all have unique aspects of their online shopping experience that should be resolved or messaged to by online retailers.
To learn more about the research guiding these tips, and to better understand online apparel shoppers and their journeys, you can check out the full research report here.
Brooke Patton is a research content specialist at GutCheck, a global, agile market research firm.
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