We are more than eight months into 2017, and it can well be maintained that the e-commerce industry will continue with its promising trajectory in the days to come as well. The growth of this particular sector (which continues to challenge the retail industry) has been phenomenal, to say the least.
The extraordinary growth obviously can be quantified as well. As per reports, at present times 79% Americans prefer shopping online. If you are particularly looking at the millennial population in this regard, then the number rises to a whopping 87%.
It had also been reported by Forrester that 62% of the shoppers had admitted in the previous year that they were more interested in investing in online shopping. Keeping all these figures in mind, it was estimated that the industry would experience a steady growth at 10.72% every year. The e-commerce global revenue which stood at 1.915 trillion dollars in the previous year is well poised to touch $4 by the year 2020.
It has been noted that the promising growth of e-commerce, however, has not done away with the challenges that one of its top contenders – i.e the online apparel and fashion industry- is facing. This particular section (online fashion) is consistently confounded by ambiguous sizing charts, low conversion rates and poor average return rate of 28%.
In the wake of such dismal performance, the industry should look forward to embracing a few e-commerce trends to turn the tables around. Documented below are a few of those strategies.
At the heart of the industry’s success should be its endeavors to adopt omni-channel functionalities comprising centralized IT structures and uninterrupted software solutions. There should be a conscious attempt at blending offline and digital stores paving the way for improved management of inventory.
Among the Asian countries China has emerged at the forefront of commercial growth in recent times. It is estimated that the country’s online growth is well set to grow by 1 trillion dollars in 3 years. So, though America has ruled the online shopping market till now, it’s time for the fashion and apparel industry to put equal focus on the Asian market.
Armageddon was a stamp on the status enjoyed by responsive sites in the digital arena. The apparel industry it seems has disappointed mobile shoppers in that regard. Though it has been maintained that there is still a large section of shoppers apprehensive of shopping on their mobile devices because of security concerns—many were turned away by nonresponsive sites themselves. In the days ahead the apparel industry is expected to focus more on its user interface in a bid to bolster shopping experience. Shoppers irrespective of whether they are using mobile devices or desktops should be able to enjoy a hassle-free shopping experience.
E-commerce is largely steered by storytelling at present. If you are the owner of a fashion store you can actually refer to the sites of the biggest names in this industry to find out what we mean. Social media will play a major role in forging emotional engagement. The brands will be seen clamoring to get social media influencers on board to add credibility.
Leveraging the kind of attention that storytelling and the involvement of social media influencers command today – is no longer an option but a necessity today.
In 2017 if you are talking about ways in which Artificial Intelligence is steering e-commerce then you must be aware of the role played by chatbots in this regard. Gone are the times when talking robots sounded incongruous. Today they are a digital necessity because they welcome web visitors with the right message at the right time thereby helping you reduce your customer service budget.
The need for real time customization will be felt more intensely than ever. It’s quite simply because of the fact that your competitors have started employing myriad tech innovations including 3D printing and 3D scanning. These are just a few methodologies that will go on facilitate the introduction of made-to-measure functionalities – not only in the fashion industry but in the footwear industry as well.
The industry needs to mull significant changes in its shipping facilities in the days to come as well. Experts have clearly hailed Uber’s concept of connecting to people with the help of technology. In the days ahead, we are clearly looking at minor and major changes brought about in the shipping facilities offered by the stores. Those having small online fashion stores can consider investing in facilities that help them carry out same-day delivery at local drop-off points. The reduced shipping costs are tipped to draw more customers as well.
The shopping experience, on the whole, might undergo sea changes with the online portals clearly overshadowing their offline counterparts. In order to meet this particular challenge, brick and mortar shops can actually embrace significant changes. They can reduce their inventory and shift focus from store magnificence to smart fitting rooms and a higher number of digital displays.
Let us tell you businesses’ ability to analyze market insights will continue governing their success online. What we call business intelligence will go on to shape the success of businesses in a major way. Talk about the optimal utilization of solutions like the Internet of Things and predictive analytics – we can tell you that the omni-channel functionalities are poised to be greatly bolstered by the same.
These are just a few of strategies that if adopted by the fashion and apparel industry can herald effective changes in terms of conversion rates, ROI.
Stories by Nirdesh Singh