Learn why eCommerce edge storefronts for fashion and apparel brands are the future of online shopping to increase business sales.
The fashion and apparel industry has been growing rapidly across the globe with the retail eCommerce sales reaching trillions of US dollars already. And the numbers only continue to grow by the year - from 700 billion US dollars in 2021, it is estimated to reach over 1.2 trillion US dollars by 2025.
But despite this increase in the number of fashion and apparel brands online, how many do we as consumers really remember?
That’s exactly why going online is no longer enough for fashion and apparel brands to reach their target audience and turn them into customers.
Research shows that around 80-90% of eCommerce businesses fail - from increasing competition, cost of customer acquisition to inability to keep up with consumer interests and preferences, the reasons are plenty.
And at the heart of it lies one key reason - our fashion and apparel purchases are heavily influenced by what we see on the internet.
But the experience we are offered by fashion brands on their eCommerce stores, is far from what inspires us!
That’s exactly why the traditional approach to leading online shoppers from social media and other platforms to your store website, is no longer enough.
It’s time to push fashion and apparel shopping from your brand to the Edges and meet consumers where they are the most active!
Redefining the future of fashion and apparel eCommerce with Edge Storefronts
Before we start talking about why Edge Storefronts are the future of fashion and apparel eCommerce, let’s take a quick look at the status quo.
Status quo of fashion and apparel shopping online
Of the overall fashion retail sales made worldwide, nearly 21% of them are eCommerce transactions.
In fact, the same study has found that in regions such as Europe, Oceania or the Americas as a whole, around 30% of fashion retail sales are generated through online channels - primarily, brand websites and social media.
The most popular reason for these increased numbers being the ability to shop whenever and wherever they want.
An average consumer’s journey to making fashion and apparel purchases online typically includes:
- The consumer discover the brand or its products on search or social media
- They visit the fashion and apparel eCommerce website to learn more about the brand
- They either make a purchase, subscribe to a newsletter or abandon the eCommerce site based on their intent
- The brand then works retargets them with ad campaigns to bring them back to the website
- After several attempts from the brand, the consumer final makes a purchase from them
While this looks fairly simple - set up an online store, promote your fashion and apparel brand on search and social media, drive traffic to the website and get sales, no one accounts for the number of options available to the consumer at each stage.
And the fact that social media platforms have reduced our attention spans from an average of 8 seconds to just 3-5 seconds.
If you think about it, that’s not enough time to even look at one product picture in detail - let alone explore options, its USP and move it to purchase!
How big is the problem of fashion and apparel eCommerce growth?
Fashion and apparel eCommerce brands have diversified their marketing strategies.
Take any brand out there and you can see them going beyond email and SMS marketing, tapping into the opportunities that various social media platforms have to offer - Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat; you name it.
Despite the efforts to drive in as many interested buyers to the store, the average conversion rate for fashion and apparel eCommerce hovers around only 1.53%.
As per research and surveys, it was found that it costs approximately $129 to acquire a new customer in the fashion and apparel industry.
Simply put, there has been an increase in spend budgets on SEO, PPC and social media (39-81% combined) but when it comes to calculating the ROI and ROAS from respective strategies, the numbers are less than promising.
As per our research,
- CAC has risen by 222% in the last 9 years
- Brands lose $26 on every new customer acquired
- Underreported social revenue (almost 245%)
Why is the current approach to fashion and apparel eCommerce not working?
Fashion and apparel product purchase is no longer only based on ‘need’.
A study by ResearchGate has found that there are a number of underlying reasons behind fashion and apparel purchases, varying based on the consumer demographics.
Results show that the need for uniqueness, self-concept, brand image, word of mouth and perceived quality are some of the leading reasons for the purchases made in the industry.
Another study by them has also found that social media has the biggest impact on the fashion and apparel industry worldwide.
Think about how you followed an influencer account sharing daily outfits and discovered a brand that ‘seemed’ good.
You’re not alone.
75% of internet users use social media to research products (DataReportal, 2022).
Our own research highlights that 90% of Gen Z routinely use social media as a part of their shopping process, instead of in-store experiences.
So where is the problem?
The disconnect between the perceived uniqueness and value of a brand seen on social media as compared to what is presented on the website.
Let’s explain this with an example.
Here are some clips from a brand’s recent Instagram Reel, showcasing different looks:
If you watch the video, you will see the influencer rapidly changing into different looks.
You like it and either take a screenshot like we did or save the post.
Your next obvious step is to go looking for the dress on their website.
Now because the brand has provided the exact name, you make a search and land on the exact product.
You click through to the product page and see this - now, the product looks a ‘little’ different from what you saw in the Reel.
When it comes to buying fashion and apparel products online, you want to be doubly sure about the fit, material and the overall look it will give you.
While the brand here did a great job at driving traffic to their site, their product page instilled doubt in the mind of the online shoppers.
This is what we call the Experience Gap and brands are losing $700bn every year to this disconnect.
Here are some of the common reasons why the experience gap occurs when selling direct-to-consumer:
1. Shift of perceived value
As you promote your brand on social media, you focus a lot on how it appears visually. And as you start working with creators, the perceived value for your brand’s products starts to take shape in the minds of your audience.
But when they reach your brand website, the way your collection is presented changes to keep your branding intact.
2. Loss of context
When moving from one platform to another (social media to your brand website), there can be a loss of context around ‘why they liked the product’ when presented with it in a different way.
Add to that the short attention spans, and you have a bigger problem at hand.
3. Broken links
Fashion and apparel brands continually update their deals, discounts and offers to promote their seasonal collections or best-sellers.
But to do so, they set up separate pages on the brand website that can be easily promoted across social media platforms.
Now while these links get updated almost on a weekly basis, when a consumer stumbles upon a trending Reel or TikTok by an influencer, it is not in your control. And for those shoppers, your current link may not lead to the product they liked.
Broken links are more than just 404s.
4. Incorrect products
How many times do you pay attention to the caption of a social media post?
Even though the video above is all about the dresses available on the brand site, a viewer who finds the content on Explore, can also like the bag or the shoes in the video.
Now if the idea was to promote dresses, your brand just lost out.
Worse - you don’t have a range of bags and heels on your site!
5. Out of stock products
Ever clicked through a social media ad or buy button, only to land on an out of stock product page?
As Harvard Business Review states, stock-outs cause walk-outs - especially for fashion and apparel brands where most purchases are made on impulse or influence!
If they don’t see the product on your site instantly, they will not wait to explore other similar items.
They will hop on to search and find another brand for it!
Simply put, fashion and apparel brands need to not just diversify their marketing channels, but also the eCommerce experience they offer to consumers.
Fashion and apparel eCommerce needs to move to the Edges: Introducing Edge Storefronts
What is shopping at the Edge?
Recapping our previous article, edge refers to the outside area/ limit where your brand gets discovered. This includes the marketing channels you use to promote your brand - social media, email, marketing and advertising platforms. Learn more about shopping at the edge here.
What are eCommerce Edge Storefronts for fashion and apparel brands?
Let’s say you saw the Instagram Reel and loved the second dress the influencer wore.
Traditionally, you will have to visit the brand’s website, manually enter the product name, search for the item, click to the product page and then decide if you want to make a purchase - stating this itself has us tired.
Edge Storefronts create a middle ground between the edges (social media, search, ads, etc) through which consumers discover your collections and your eCommerce website - but here’s the catch…
… it does not require them to leave the channel and visit your brand website to complete a series of steps!
Edge storefronts are shopping experiences that blend content from the edge with the checkout process of your brand website.
So instead of taking the interested consumer to your brand site, you’re taking the site to them!
When almost six in ten consumers surveyed said they mainly bought clothing or shoes online by impulse, we say Edge Storefronts are your hack to ensure the ‘impulse’ does not die!
How do Edge Storefronts work and how are they different from landing pages?
What are the benefits of eCommerce edge storefronts for fashion and apparel brands?
You have a brand website and you’ve built an audience across key social media platforms.
So why do you need an Edge Storefront in addition to the ‘link in bio’ and the landing pages?
Let’s take a look at some of benefits of eCommerce edge storefronts for fashion and apparel brands:
1. Create engaging experiences and encourage impulse purchases
When you are investing heavily into how your brand is presented through marketing and advertising campaigns, and collaborations, why lose out on the engagement due to disconnect in experiences?
Edge storefronts are an all-in-one solution that makes social content fully shoppable - while retaining the trust and security that brand sites offer for making transactions.
2. Reduce customer acquisition costs
While Edge Storefronts don’t require a consumer to leave the social media platform, they are connected to your eCommerce site in the backend.
This allows them to capture customer data that like demographic, intent, interest and engagement, giving you the opportunity to create retargeting and remarketing campaigns.
And that has proven to help fashion and apparel brands reduce customer acquisition costs by almost 20%.
3. Create new revenue streams from the edge
Edge storefronts are designed to handle different levels of intent and hence deliver a higher level of personalization.
As per a study by McKinsey, a brand’s ability to personalize shopping experiences as per consumer intent, interest and point of discovery, is what makes or breaks their success in driving sales.
eCommerce edge storefronts remove the hard landing that consumers experience from social media to the fashion and apparel brand’s website. While they still get to complete checkout on these storefronts, they are not “pushed” to do the same, helping you tailor their shopping journeys.
Can you build an eCommerce edge storefront for your fashion and apparel brand?
Google edge retail solutions and Google retail API have been talked about in the past.
While industry technology leads are exploring the new way to shop online aggressively, setting up these stores is still a far-fetched dream for most.
That’s why we’re seeing most fashion and apparel eCommerce brands stick to their usual no-code CMS to build online storefronts, landing pages or link in bio URLs to create a ‘connection’ between marketing channels and their site.
Is it working?
To some extent.
But can you do better?
After years of research and running experiments, SimplicityDX has launched Edge Storefronts for all fashion and apparel brands selling online.
Our technology has made setting up an Edge Storefront as easy as installing an app from your CMS - take for instance, a Shopify app for your online store.
Want to learn more about Edge Storefronts and how they can help fashion and apparel brands succeed?
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