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6 ways for fashion retailers to improve their online conversion rate
February 24, 2023
The opportunities for fashion brands to drive growth in 2023 across digital marketing are diverse and plentiful. The recent pressures from macro-factors over the last several years have inspired partner diversity and innovation within the affiliate channel providing an optimum medium to implement testing with its transparent tracking, partner choice and risk-free pay-on-performance commercial model. In fact, studies have shown that brands embracing a diverse mix of partners benefit from increased performance KPI’s across traffic, sales and AOV.
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In 2022, Awin data tracked over 30 million sales across clothing, childrenswear, department stores, womenswear, menswear, accessories, jewelry, lingerie, shoes and sportswear. Whilst wider UK retail has seen an upward trend (+12%), fashion has faced a tough trading year, online sales declined by 3%, despite +2% revenue and +20% traffic year on year.
Comparison shopping sites (CSS) partners are driving the biggest growth at +109%, followed by editorial +73% and cashback +15%. Despite the current cost-of-living crisis, discount partners are trending -3% for the fashion industry specifically. We are seeing sales from ‘green' or 'eco-friendly’ brands up +6%, suggesting that consumers are prioritizing value over price when it comes to style choices.
Fashion brands saw strong ROI at £18.14 in 2022, the affiliate channel yet again meriting its strength as a low-risk channel to test new partnerships. Awin data recorded an average order value of £59.98 in 2022, up from £57.01 the previous year; this marginal shift suggests it’s likely because of inflation affecting retail supplier costs, as opposed to customers adding more items to each basket.
Conversion rate however is seeing the reverse trend, at 4.24% in 2022, down from 5.47% the previous year. Throughout 2022 IMRG reported a decline for retail across the whole purchase funnel, from homepage bounce rate, product pages, adding products the basket, and completing the payment stage. With the economic issues continuing into 2023, fashion brands will have to work harder than ever to support consumers throughout the whole shopping journey to convert.
Here are six ways for fashion brands to increase site conversion rate and overall sales performance in 2023.
1. Exit intent technology partners
These partner types re-engage on-site visitors showing signs of leaving a website without purchasing anything, with well-timed, brand aligned “overlays”. By combining data, insight and experience, exit intent technology can turn unknown visitors into valued customers. Partners such as intent.ly, RevLifter, and Upsellit have driven, on average, +30% increase in conversion rate, reduced site abandonment, and +25% average positive engagement rate.
2. Referral marketing
Optimizing referral marketing is an impressive marketing strategy that turns existing or repeat customers into brand advocates, allowing them to promote your brand and product to friends and family via social media. This does not only incentivize repeat purchase by rewarding loyalty, it’s also a great new customer acquisition tool. Referral marketing technology partners, like Soreto, often drive an impressive +12% conversion from click to sale and drive a x20 uplift in ROI.
3. Brand partnerships
Brand to brand partnerships proffer fashion retailers an opportunity to partner with non-competing, complimentary brands - from travel companies to beauty retailers - to provide customers an added-value incentive, such as a free gift with purchase, or access to a wider offers portal.
A recent Awin brand partnership between Myprotein and SimplyCook focused on new audiences and increased customer loyalty with an impressive 26.39% conversion rate. Awin has over 500 UK brands actively running brand partnership campaigns, resulting in +£13million in revenue in 2022.
4. Website personalization
These technology partners can recommend relevant product recommendations by focusing on personalizing your website for every customer. The algorithm is generated by collecting consumer data and allowing it to predict customer behavior. Recommendation engines show relevant products based on onsite behaviors. As well as increasing conversion, website personalization tools, such as Particular Audience, can drive 6.48% of a brands online revenue, and increase AOV by +12%. Personalized product recommendations are 35% less likely to be returned.
5. App tracking
Awin data recorded 61% of fashion sales from a mobile device. When a brand app has no in-app tracking, customers are forced to the m.site, impacting user journey and customer experience. App customers, often more generous and more loyal spenders according to data, are more likely to end their purchase journey before converting. Brands that activate in-app tracking not only offer their customers a preferred route to purchase, but also recognize and reward publishers fairly. Top publisher partners include in-app tracking within their analysis or site algorithm, offering preferential placements to those fashion brands tracking these sales.
6. Comparison shopping services (CSS)
CSS account for a substantial proportion of total online fashion sales, driving huge growth year on year. At the IMRG Fashion Connect Virtual event this month, it was shared that fashion brands actually see a lower usage of product search on site versus retail as a whole, and higher traffic landing directly on a specific product page. Fashion customers are starting their product-level search on a search engine, as opposed to beginning their search at a brand level. CSS are an integral partner type to include in your search engine strategy, they enable brands to present a product image to a potential customer at the consideration and research stage. CSS partners can also share a description, brand name, price and additional information, providing customers with clear, upfront information with a direct link to an individual product page, fast-tracking the overall shopping journey and intent to convert.
By Joelle Mullin, Senior Client Partner