It must drive Jeff Bezos crazy. For the wizard who has cracked the code on how to dominate e-commerce for everything from books to food to diapers and car parts, one category has eluded him: fashion. Bezos is not alone. Around the globe, fashion consumers remain out of reach for behemoth online retailers like Amazon.com and Walmart’s Jet.com. Only a handful of European fashion-specific retailers like Asos, Boohoo, and Zalando have reached significant scale. So while other online retailers may shiver at the prospect of Amazon moving into their category, not so for growth-stage fashion e-commerce companies. For up-and-coming fashion retailers, we're still at the beginning of a golden era for online fashion shopping — and it’s their game to lose. However, that’s doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Fashion shoppers are a discerning bunch who of course value price and convenience. However, according to research from Accenture Digital, 91 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations. And with the increasing availability of sophisticated marketing technologies, many fashion brands and retailers that have adopted an online-first strategy are seeing the potential to connect directly with their customers and create powerful relationships with them. To help online retailers take advantage of this opportunity, our new global benchmarking report analyzed online shopper behavior on mobile and desktop to identify trends and insights. We looked at 1.2 billion site visits across 200 different online stores for all of 2018.
Here are the three biggest findings from our report, as well as resulting recommendations for growth-stage fashion e-commerce companies to keep in mind as they're planning their digital strategy for 2019:
- Ignore shopping carts and focus on shoppers. More than desktop, more than tablets, shoppers love mobile websites. Revenue and conversion rates are up across the board on mobile and desktop, however, cart abandonment rates remain stable. This suggests that time is better spent on improving upselling and cross-selling opportunities instead of trying to address cart abandonment. Americans are fickle mobile shoppers, but when they click “buy” on mobile, the average order value is only 6 percent less than on desktop devices. Fashion retailers should focus on the earlier part of the funnel with better personalization to drive higher conversion, which will have a big impact on revenue from mobile.
- Up your mobile game. Fashion e-commerce has hit the mobile tipping point globally — and fashion retailers need to respond. Traffic share for mobile was already dominant going into 2018: median traffic share averaged 55 percent in Q1, and increased to 62 percent in Q4. We saw Q4 mobile revenue share exceed desktop at 46 percent vs. 44 percent, compared to mobile share in Q1 of 37 percent and desktop share of 50 percent (with the remaining traffic from tablet devices). Given the limitations of product visibility on mobile devices, extra attention needs to be paid to merchandising products in this format. This means intelligent personalization of both product selection and content experiences to squeeze the optimal interaction out of every engagement.
- Stop the clock. It seems we can’t pay attention too long to anything these days. While mobile revenue continues to grow, average time spent per mobile site visit hasn’t grown. This points to both the opportunity and need to provide an ultra-targeted and personalized experience on mobile sites. As shoppers will spend less time leisurely engaging with your mobile site, building a one-to-one experience will ensure they find what they need and maximize conversion as well as upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
For fashion e-commerce players, all signs point to a primary need to focus on the personalized shopper experience, particularly when it comes to capturing and converting precious mobile attention. As long as Amazon puzzles on the fashion problem and continues to stumble with frustrating personalization experiences elsewhere, there’s a huge window of opportunity for fashion e-commerce companies to build and nurture lasting customer relationships.
Jim Lofgren is the CEO at Nosto, a global leader in e-commerce/mobile personalization.
Related story: 5 Trends E-Commerce Retailers Need to Know for 2019