Fashion is a fickle business – but one trend that’s set to remain in style for the foreseeable future is shoppers’ penchant for buying apparel online. In 2018, clothing and footwear were the most commonly purchased online goods, while eCommerce transactions are expected to make up 36% of total fashion retail by 2022.

Of course, simply making goods available online won’t guarantee long-term revenue growth. To keep pace in the competitive world of online fashion, retailers must meet customers’ increasingly sophisticated demands. These expectations are largely being shaped by mega online marketplaces like Amazon, making it critical for independent retailers to maintain a good brand reputation. Ultimately, this comes down to their ability to offer an exceptional shopping experience across channels and borders by perfecting the path to check-out, through to delivery.

Our 2019 Ecommerce Fashion Report looks at the key trends impacting the industry – from omnichannel flows and social eCommerce, to AI technology and the rise of marketplaces. It explores the challenges facing fashion retailers as they try to enhance the customer journey and lift revenue, offering steps to fix leaks in their online payment funnel. In this blog, I share some of the report findings.

Omnichannel: the buzzword that never goes out of style

For a number of years now, online retail sales have been on the rise, while profits from brick-and-mortar stores have suffered. As of February 2019, a record 18% of retail sales were made online.

RC visual 1@2x
Source: eMarketer, January 2019

This doesn’t mean that retailers should be investing exclusively in online efforts – shoppers still tend to want an in-store experience. Merchants should be leveraging technology to offer a well-integrated shopping journey across physical stores and online.

One way of achieving this is to capitalize on mobile: as a browsing tool, as a wallet, as the main vehicle for integrating social media and augmented reality into the shopping experience, and so much more. For example, Farfetch’s ‘stores of the future’ utilize mobile to facilitate strong customer engagement through digital wardrobes, pay-by apps, and social media. A 2018 survey of 1000 fashion enthusiasts revealed that almost half used a fashion app for browsing or buying.a

A social eCommerce strategy is #vital

Many users however, want the option to buy directly from social media platforms. Social selling is already the norm in China and has effectively propelled the concept of ‘going native’. Facebook has been giving retailers the ability to create and run native shops for years, while Pinterest offers ‘Buyable Pins’ and Instagram has launched ‘Shopping on Instagram’.

Given that internet users spend (on average) 2 hours and22 minutes on social networking and messaging platforms each day, it comes down to retailers ensuring they have a significant presence in their consumers’ sphere of influence. Moreover, over 900 million people have global social media connections. By smartly leveraging social media, fashion retailers can take advantage of this cross-border connectedness to quickly grow brand awareness and boost overseas online sales.

Entering new territories

Cross-border customers are major contributors to online growth in the fashion industry, and catering to these diverse markets as a means for accessing untapped revenue has never been so important. In 2018, apparel, footwear, and accessories had the highest share of cross-border digital buyers globally, with 68% having purchased from an international seller within the past year.    

Not only does cross-border selling provide retailers with a large pool of potential consumers, these customers also tend to spend big. Riskified data reveals that orders placed with US fashion merchants by shoppers from Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East are generally worth more than domestic purchases. For example, APAC shoppers spend around 32% more per fashion purchase than US consumers buying from US retailers.

RC visual 5@2x

Keep your customers coming back

By 2022, worldwide online apparel and accessories sales are forecast to reach $765 billion. Although pricing is still a major factor, convenience and customization are becoming key to winning over shoppers. From the time consumers enter a shopping site, to the moment they receive their package, building and maintaining a good reputation by offering a safe and smooth shopping journey will be integral to reaching revenue targets. For more detailed and actionable insights, download our report. To find out more about our solution contact us directly: