Marketing Best Practices

Fashion Leads the Way in eCommerce

Jon Gelberg By Jon Gelberg October 3, 2013

We all know e-commerce sales are rising, but a recent study demonstrates just how dramatic that rise has been.

Just 15 years ago, there was a total of $7.2 billion in online sales. According to a study conducted by Rakuten, 2013 online sales will top the $1.2 trillion. In 2013 alone, online sales have grown by 17%.

The Huge Clothing and Accessories E-Commerce Market

The biggest sector for e-commerce is clothing and accessories. In the United States, 60% of the population are buying clothes online and 45.1% are recommending items to friends, colleagues and family via social media.

Interestingly, the top reasons given by those who prefer to shop in a store included the ability to check items more thoroughly (seeing and touching), ease of payment and the ability to ask shop assistants for help.

What All This Means: Bernard Luthi

“The fashion industry is well ahead of the curve when it comes to engaging the online shopping community,” said Bernard Luthi, Rakuten’s COO/CMO. “That’s no small feat for an industry where the importance of ‘fit’ would seem like a natural obstacle to online sales.

“However, fashion retailers have become excellent online storytellers, creating interactive and highly visual online stores in combination with social media to fuel customer conversations, setting an example which other industries would do well to follow.”

Key Findings

Among the study’s other findings:

  • 26.4% of Americans now buy more items online than they do in store.
  • 24.1% of Americans buy the same amount on the web as they do offline.
  • More than 50% of Europeans buy clothes online, with Germany (70%) leading the way.
  • Brazil leads all South American nations with 34% buying clothes online.
  • Mobile is now the primary online shopping channel for 19% of people in the United States.

Social media continues to be a powerful force in online clothing and accessory sales. Sites like Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter are being widely used to post photos of clothing items. The Asian market has embraced social shopping more than any other region where around 55% of people recommend items on social networking sites. The Americas are a close second (49%), while Europe lags well behind (29%).


What does all of this mean for fashion brands?

  • Your digital marketing must try to recreate the experience of shopping in your stores. Top fashion brands make the customer feel as if they are engulfed in luxury. In digital marketing, then, online retailers need to present items with the highest quality photography, video and 360 degree views. It would also suggest the need for real-time customer service through live assistants.
  • With mobile shopping expected to account for $119 billion of all online sales globally by 2015 , brands must optimize for all platforms, including tablets and mobile, because that’s where your customers are shopping in greater and greater numbers.
  • If you are not already exploiting social media to assist in your sales efforts begin immediately. If you are only testing the social media water, it’s time to dive in!

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