A successful conversion strategy results from in-depth market research, which helps us draw insights about customer behaviour and take a systematic approach to optimisation. As a result, user research forms an integral part of our optimisation process every time we work with a brand.
In the second post of our #WhatYourUserWants series, we discuss the behaviour of online fashion customers and suggest how retailers in this segment could deliver better customer experiences on their websites.
Fashion eCommerce Shows Steady Growth in the UK
Over 2.6 million people in the UK purchased apparel online in 2020. According to Statista Digital Market Outlook, eCommerce fashion purchases are likely to continue to grow in the next few years.
Further, a joint study by ChannelAdvisor and CensusWide has also shown how the ongoing pandemic is likely to augment 5-year D2C sales in the UK, as more brands are now selling through their own eCommerce sites.
To make the most of these opportunities, fashion retailers should consider optimising their websites to improve customer experiences and thereby increase conversions and revenues.
Considering these favourable circumstances for the fashion eCommerce industry, let us look at some insights derived from our research into fashion brands and how they can improve customer experiences on their eCommerce channels.
How Do New and Returning Users Behave Differently on Online Clothing Sites?
We found that for fashion brands, the drop-off rate for new users is around 49% across all stages of the buying journey, against 35% for returning users.
Further, PDP and add-to-cart are the major drop-off points for new users on fashion websites.
Interestingly, new users mostly explore landing pages and use links from there, whereas existing users tend to use links from the menu. That apart, we saw that conversion rates for new users on PDP are often lower than the website average.
Now coming to the checkout, we noticed no major problems, with drop-off rates being similar for both types of users.
All this indicates that fashion brands need to put in more effort to motivate new users to add items to cart and move to the checkout stage.
Here are some key insights derived from our research into the fashion eCommerce industry:
1. Search & Discovery
While only around 3-4% of visitors use the search option across all devices, when it is used, conversion rates are 90% higher.
Our research shows that filter functionality is important to most fashion consumers, because most clothing sites have a large number of products and users want to find relevant products as quickly as possible.
Another important factor in product discovery and customer journey is consistency in the product information on listing pages and PDPs. When users find inconsistent information, they are driven away from selecting a product and completing their journey.
Often, we also see small font size affecting customer experiences as it compromises the findability of products on fashion eCommerce websites.
Now speaking of solutions, improving filter options and menu taxonomy can help users find relevant products in the discovery stage. Fashion brands should also make sure that the fonts and labels on their websites are consistent and readable enough to not cause any friction for the users.
Other suggested measures include testing UX changes and homepage elements to improve click-throughs and promote the use of lesser-used features.
2. Product Selection Ease
Product Detail Pages see an influx of visitors from organic search, paid search, and email, but our research highlights that most of the conversion rate drops occur here.
Possible reasons for this could be missing size information and precise measurements. With customers getting meticulous every day, eCommerce websites with insufficient product images are also likely to experience higher drop-offs.
In such a case, we usually suggest testing UX changes to improve the discoverability of products on PDP. For instance, adding colour options and related product features can prove to be beneficial in catering to customers’ needs.
You have to remember that product detail pages on a website are a substitute for actual product examination in a store. So, making sure these pages are as perfect as possible can help increase your sales considerably.
And website optimisation can increase your investment returns from paid marketing channels where money is hard to recover if conversion rates are low.
But as per our research, product prices remain the major reason why several users decide to leave the website.
If discounting does not sound like a good idea, fashion retailers may provide different payment options, including buy now pay later schemes, to encourage the users to go ahead and place an order.
3. Checkout Process
Users bouncing from the checkout stage is common, but what drives them to that route? The insights we gleaned from data say that the reasons for this could be limited delivery options, confusing form layout, and slow payment processes.
In fact, we observed customers leaving the checkout to find answers to their last-minute queries. To resolve this issue, brands may add an FAQ section or assuring microcopy at the end of the checkout and thus stop users from leaving the page.
As for other problems, a guest checkout, more delivery options, and optimised error validation on forms can help retain the users and motivate them to complete their purchases.
4. Mobile Experience
Our research shows that the number of fashion customers using mobiles for shopping is higher than on desktop, but the conversion is 56% lower. Complex navigation, limited screen space, and on-the-go distractions are the apparent reasons for poor mobile conversions.
Users clicking on the mobile menu may seem like a good sign, but it does not guarantee their interactions with homepage content, category pages, or any actions towards conversion.
Further, high drop-offs at the checkout stage indicate that the purchase processes are too complex for users to complete on small screens. That is why people prefer leaving the site and might be completing purchases from their desktops.
Thus, improving customer experience on mobile should be a top priority for fashion retailers. But to get there, further user research becomes essential to underscore the friction points thwarting conversions on mobile.
Some suggested solutions are: simple navigation to allow your customers to visit any area on your website, a shorter purchase path by removing unnecessary steps, and readable fonts for product information.
In addition, implementing autocomplete in the search bar, integrating more payment options, and resizing the visual content can also help users convert on mobiles.
Here is a quick recap of what fashion retailers can do to get more conversions on their websites by improving customer experiences:
- Encourage visitors to use search and other navigation features by making the elements prominent.
- Make product information findable ensuring that information is precise and font size is readable.
- Streamline the checkout process by adding guest checkout, more delivery options, and so on.
- Improve mobile experience through improved navigation and prominent product details.