The fashion industry is renowned for looking ahead, predicting trends and planning seasons in advance. But eCommerce retailers need to prepare for more than just the next big style craze. They need to adapt to changes in the way we shop, what we expect from, and how we interact with fashion and apparel brands in the digital space.

So what’s on the horizon for fashion eCommerce, and how do you stay ahead of the game in an increasingly competitive marketplace?

1. Treat ‘Green’ as the New Black

Historically, the fashion industry has been responsible for some pretty shocking stats when it comes to the environment, at both a production and consumer level.

On the production side, for example, around 700 gallons of water are used to make a single t-shirt, and an average of 75lbs of CO2 is emitted in the making of a single pair of jeans (that’s equivalent to taking your car for a 620 mile drive). On the consumer side, single use outfits resulted in 208m lbs of waste in 2019 alone. As a whole, the industry accounts for 8.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

But the one stat that will shape the future of fashion eCommerce is:

60% of millennials say they intend to shop more sustainably

Brands in the fashion space need to appeal to the conscious consumer, or risk falling behind. But it’s not enough to claim sustainability initiatives. They need to be evidently visible. 

Take cycling apparel brand MAPP as an example. These guys are a Bluesign® system partner, meaning their manufacturing process meets strict sustainability criteria from start to finish. They also aim to source 100% of materials from other Bluesign® system partners by 2022, and make use of otherwise wasted fabrics by repurposing them into limited edition jerseys. 

At the heart of it all lies transparency. Consumers want to see you’ve taken measures not just to lessen your environmental impact, but also to ensure ethical practices across the entire supply chain. We predict this will become a major part of the reviews space, with consumers using review content to guide more sustainable and ethical purchase decisions. 

2. Use the Power of Influencer Marketing

With sustainability and ethics in mind, brands need to move away from fast fashion. But that’s not to say you can’t take cues from those that have dominated this space - in particular, their use of influencer marketing.

To promote and sell new product lines at speed, fast fashion brands like PrettyLittleThing, Boohoo and Fashion Nova use the influential power of celebrity. And it works. In 2019, Boohoo claimed to have doubled their profits after investing in celebrity influencers. 

The strategy works because it plays on the psychology of social proof. And it can be implemented just as effectively outside the world of fast fashion through the use of micro influencers. 

These public figures have less of a follower count than their celebrity counterparts, but actually draw 60% more audience engagement - and the great news is there’s a growing number of them that fall into the bracket of ‘sustainable fashion influencers’. 

It’s all about finding the right people to represent your brand. Boxraw does just that using the REVIEWS.io influence feature. This clever tool allows you to see Instagram follower counts for anyone that’s left a review. If that review is positive, you know they’re already invested in your brand. And if their follower count is significant, you can strike up a collaboration that gets your products in front of an actively engaged audience.  

3. Focus on an Omnichannel Strategy

With more channels for brand interaction than ever before, it’s vital you’re everywhere your customers are, that you cater to their preferred methods of communication, and that you provide a consistent, friction free experience across the board. 

Google, social media, phone support, live chat and email marketing all play a role here. Don’t overlook the power of SMS either. Our own stats prove that when it comes to review collection, SMS invites come with an 18.2% conversion rate, compared to 4.3% for requests sent via email. 

The REVIEWS.io and Klaviyo integration is especially useful in supporting an omnichannel approach. Our platform allows you to manage your reputation across multiple touchpoints, and with Klaviyo, you can collect data on customers’ communication preferences - so you can segment and target marketing campaigns through their preferred channels.

The added bonus of this integration is that all your marketing data and analytics are stored in one place. You can take greater insight from this to fine tune your communications, and provide a better customer experience.

4. Encourage Brand Advocacy

With acquisition costs increasingly on the rise, your greatest asset is your existing customer base, particularly those with an affinity to your brand. These people are loyal, make repeat purchases, and are happy to recommend your products. Encourage these connections even more by rewarding advocacy and building a brand community

We’ve seen a great example of this from Fat Lad At The Back. This cycling apparel brand has a group of advocates known as ‘Flampions’. These supporters organise bike rides, sporting the Fat Lad brand with pride, and are rewarded through our integration with Loyalty Lion

What the brand now has is around 60 cycling groups across the UK, an inclusive community, and a growing number of dedicated customers, all of which contribute to business growth. 

5. Enhance the Customer Experience with Detail Rich UGC 

Whilst eCommerce is incredibly convenient for the consumer, there’s a disconnect between the on and offline shopping experience that’s particularly relevant to fashion. Online, customers are essentially shopping in the dark, unable to determine the quality and fit of anything they buy. The result? A lot of returns at your expense. 

To minimise this, improve the shopping experience with added layers of detail, and bring trust into the equation by collecting those details from past customers. 

Like with our Review Attributes widget, for example. We’ll refer to Apero here, since they make great use of this tool. As part of a product review, customers can rank comfort, performance and fit, as well as input their height and body type. This gives anyone browsing that product the insight they need to determine its suitability for them - reading the chance they’ll need to return it. 

You can take the trust factor even further by collecting image and video reviews that give more tangibility. Essentially, user generated content helps bridge the gap between what a customer experiences in-store, and what they’re offered online.  

The industry itself may be moving from fast to ‘slow’ fashion, but eCommerce still moves at speed. For brands to keep up, they need to evolve in line with consumer behaviour. 

Future Proof your business by adding REVIEWS.io to your toolkit. If you don’t like what we have to offer after 90 days, we’ll donate £1,000 to a charity of your choice. 

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2021 State of Reviews

Changes in Consumer 
Buying Behaviour

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