With Holiday Digital Window Shopping up 37%, here’s how mobile-first, customer loyalty, easy evaluation and convenience will drive retailers to success in 2022.
According to True Fit’s Fashion Genome, the Golden Quarter saw strong sales, up 8% in December year-on-year while online fashion checkouts were also up 8% across the three month peak trading period. Digital fashion sales fell back significantly in December but shoppers geared up even earlier than we saw in 2020 as True Fit saw pickup to both traffic and orders across our dataset in early October.
What are the common threads that drew holiday success for retailers? We have identified four key trends that will prove to be pillars of success for retailers as we head into the 2022 retail calendar.
A Mobile First Experience
The adoption shift to mobile might largely be driven by the growth in social commerce. The global social commerce industry is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional e-commerce according to an Accenture report titled ‘Why Shopping’s Set for a Social Revolution’. When we are able to shop and discover across our daily digital journeys while also connecting with friends on social platforms, this drives heightened engagement and the expectation from shoppers that their experience is mobile friendly.
According to CGK, more than half of Gen Z is spending five or more hours a day on their mobile devices. Our retail partners are delivering mobile first experiences to their shoppers knowing how much more time their target customers are spending on their phones.
Earning Customer Loyalty
Retailers that are leading in the digital shift are turning their focus to lowering the cost of acquisition. Traffic was up 37% on average during the holiday peak trading period across True Fit’s Fashion Genome. How can this traffic be met with relevance from the very first interaction? There are a number of unique strategies for unlocking loyalty but earning a shopper’s trust to build on that shopper’s future experience is a critical first step.
First party data will remain a key focus as Google phases out cookies by late 2023 and Apple limits how brands can track users through iOS apps. True Fit provides relevance to shoppers with a no click fit tip about how a product is fitting other shoppers and shoppers who sign up and register for the service provide first party data to get a personalized fit recommendation. True Fit can then serve that data back to retailers for their retargeting strategies.
Today, shoppers have so many choices as they browse digitally, and they expect to be met with options as they evaluate whether or not to purchase. Videos that demonstrate how a garment behaves or is intended to be worn began to be part of a shopper’s evaluation on retail sites likeASOS and this evaluation tool is still very relevant for shoppers today. Ratings and reviews of products are an important tool to convert shoppers from browse to purchase – building trust in both brands and the product offering. Brands likeForm and Fold have incorporated user generated content and different body shapes into their content strategy to improve upon how their shoppers evaluate products. UGC allows shoppers to see how other people style or wear a garment or footwear but it also helps them evaluate how clothing will fit their body shape. In 2021, True Fit observed that the demand for fit guidance remained strong even as stores were fully open for most of 2021. Shopper registration for True Fit was 52% higher on average than pre pandemic registration rates.
With the shift to digital discovery and buying, shoppers must be met with convenience across all aspects of their buying journey. Free shipping and free returns are no longer a perk. They are a necessity for retailers to incentivize shoppers to convert.
According to Forbes, Buy now, pay later services like Klarna and Afterpay have seen rapid adoption by Gen Z in the US, up six-fold from 6% in 2019 to 36% in 2021. Some of this rapid adoption can be attributed to the new digital first landscape where shoppers are not interacting directly with a product before they decide to make a purchase. The fitting room and first interaction with a product is now at home when the shipment arrives.