Why fashion retailers shouldn’t ignore digital any longer
In the current retail environment, it has never been more important for fashion-orientated businesses to showcase their products online
There were 16.2 billion online fashion sales recorded across the UK in 2017, with this figure expected to increase by 79 percent by 2022. In contrast, a poll has revealed that 50 percent of retailers had witnessed a decrease in in-store sales. These figures showcase that fashion retailers cannot afford to ignore the potential that the digital sphere offers in terms of sales opportunities.
It’s not just in the UK where high numbers of online sales are being recorded. Keeping the focus on just the fashion market, PwC’s 2017 Total Retail Survey found that 52 percent of shoppers across the globe now prefer to research purchases online when it comes to clothing and footwear. Just 34 percent of respondents said they prefer to carry out their research in-store. On top of this, 40 percent of global shoppers prefer to purchase clothes and footwear online.
E-commerce has also been found to be the fastest growing retail market throughout Europe and North America, according to the Centre for Retail Research’s Online Retailing: Britain, Europe, US and Canada 2017 report. In fact, in Western Europe and Poland it was recorded that online sales had jumped from £174.8bn (€197.4bn) to £201.9bn (€228bn) between 2015 and 2016 alone.
In the near future, customers will become more willing to share data, allowing retailers to build comprehensive data models
There are various ways fashion retailers can grow their brand and achieve success digitally. In its Fast-paced Fashion: The Digital Forecast 2018 white paper, Mediaworks has identified six areas for retailers to focus on over the next 12 months. Here, we take a look at what each of these areas mean for you, the fashion retailer:
The importance of attribution
Attribution has been deemed important for marketing success by 90 percent of advertisers. Fewer than 27 percent of marketers use multi-touch attribution models, which can help you properly attribute value across devices and channels.
When looking into this at your business, begin by looking at your current attribution model and questioning whether it provides value to each channel and stage of the purchasing funnel.
Understand your customers
To run a successful digital marketing campaign, you must understand who your customers are and what they are looking for when heading online. In the near future, customers will become more willing to share data, allowing retailers to build more comprehensive data models.
Take the time to look into any feedback provided by your customers and review purchase history to see if you can find opportunities to achieve additional sales from other consumers within the demographic. Likewise, unify your online and offline efforts through local inventory ads.
Find strengths in your data
Data and how it is used will become an even more important topic for fashion retailers once the General Data Protection Regulation is implemented across Europe in May. A key process will be transitioning from segment-based to signal-based data, which will ultimately help you gain greater visibility of the success your digital marketing strategy is delivering.
Contextual marketing will be advised, as it will enable you to better time the promotion of your key products and services. Aim to use data that is gathered from all of your digital touchpoints when looking into this digital marketing technique.
Get to grips with journey personalisation
It has been predicted that consumers will regard customer experience as a key reason for picking a brand over their competitors by 2020 — placing it higher than both the product available and its cost. You can boost a customer’s experience through journey personalisation, which essentially helps you deliver an in-store experience online.
You can boost a customer’s experience through journey personalisation, which essentially helps you deliver an in-store experience online
Don’t underestimate the power of advanced technology when enhancing the customer experience on your website. AR, VR and MR technology could lead to everything from virtual changing rooms to product AR scans. Artificial intelligence and understanding customer preferences and habits will also be important.
The urgency to have a mobile-friendly site in place
In 2014, Statista recorded there were 189.5 million smartphone users in Western Europe alone. The statistics portal also predicted this number would reach 279.6 million by 2019. Nowadays, we’re rarely without our mobile phones – that’s probably why we swipe and tap our smartphones 2,617 per day, on average.
As well as placing retailers in a great position to record a greater share of online sales, mobile readiness can also deliver a boost to in-store performance, with 76 percent of people visiting a business after a product search on a smartphone. Nearly a third of those visits will result in a conversion.
In this digital age, it’s vital for all fashion retailers to have a mobile-friendly website, too. For those that do already, the priority becomes refining and building this mobile presence to deliver a superior user experience. Consider creating an app to diversify your brand, use conversion rate optimisation to improve the user journey and further your mobile presence through social ads.
Capitalise on the rise of voice search
More than a third of all searches online (40 percent) are now conducted through the power of a customer’s voice. This is a result of its falling error rate (eight down from 20 percent), the growth of mobile devices and the rise of personalisation.
It’s important a fashion retailer ensures their site’s content is optimised around long-tail search phrases so they can cater to the rise of voice search. Review your existing content’s style, format and flow. Also consider implementing visual search, something retailers like John Lewis and Boohoo.com are already experimenting with.