Sizing Up Mobile Shoppers: A Critical Skill for Fashion Commerce
In the movie "Pretty Woman," the salespeople thought they could evaluate exactly what type of shopper Julia Roberts was based on her looks. They were wrong and she took her business elsewhere, later telling them they had made a “big mistake” as she displayed arms full of shopping bags from other stores. Similar assumptions about shoppers in the online world may be far off as well. That leads us to the big question for online fashion retailers: When sizing up digital shoppers, how should we be evaluating them based on their “digital look"?
To find out, we analyzed 1.19 billion visits to online fashion sites to benchmark shopper behavior, with a focus on which channel drove that visit (i.e., on a “last click” basis). The results were perhaps as surprising as they were to the salespeople in "Pretty Woman." Compared to desktop, mobile shoppers now generate the majority of traffic, sales and order volume, according to our Fashion on the Go Report. Furthermore, there are some interesting variances in traffic patterns, conversion rates and average order value (AOV) across different paid and organic channels. Paid channels are noticeably lower than organic channels. Here some other highlights from the report, which benchmarked a variety of channels to see what was performing best for retailers on a last-click basis:
- Paid ads are not driving significant traffic to mobile fashion e-commerce sites. While paid social plays a critical role in product discovery, and search and product listing ads play a key role at the bottom of the sales funnel, the majority of traffic to online fashion sites actually comes via search engines, directly to the site, and via untracked sources.
- Shoppers on Pinterest spend. While Pinterest boasts a solid 250 million monthly active users, it doesn't drive a significant portion of retailer traffic when measuring results on a last-click attribution basis. However, for the shoppers that can be attributed to Pinterest, when it comes to AOV, the social platform outshines all other channels at $140.
- Don’t sleep on Instagram for commerce … but don’t expect to see it in your traffic stats. Instagram is crucial for product discovery and branding for retailers. Although Instagram doesn't drive a significant amount of directly attributed purchases (not surprising with the intentional lack of links in the format), that may change now with the introduction of Instagram Checkout. Meanwhile, Snapchat appears to have stopped the bleeding of its user base, with Q1 2019 showing user growth for the first time in a year.
- Enterprise retailers are better spenders. Forget the myth of the large retailer asleep at the digital wheel. Enterprise fashion retailers generate a higher percentage of nonpaid traffic than fashion retailers overall, as well as having a higher AOV on Instagram ($103 vs $72). This suggests that enterprise retailers may be more effective in investing their paid spend towards driving purchases of higher-ticket products or higher AOV shoppers.
Now that fashion shopping has reached the “mobile tipping point” where the majority of both browsing and purchasing happens on mobile devices, understanding the variance in how consumers behave based on where they came from is critical for retailers. It’s clear that not all traffic is created equal and not every shopping journey is going to be the same. Retailers need to close the loop and incorporate more sophisticated segmentation into their personalization strategies. Otherwise, they risk making more “big mistakes” with their paid and organic traffic.
Matthew Levin is the global head of marketing for Nosto Solutions, the leading AI-powered personalization solution of choice for the world's top e-commerce retailers.