The apparel industry is finally feeling some love from online shoppers. Rich multimedia content, free shipping and returns, in-depth customer reviews, and reserve-to-pick-up in-store options fuel the fires. Some call this market segment a trendsetter, especially when it comes to onsite search. Data from a HookLogic study scheduled for release this week suggests the market segment also could be ahead of consumer behavior online shopping trends.
HookLogic analyzed more than 11 million online transactions representing more than $1.2 billion in sales from Dec. 13, 2014 through Jan. 26, 2015, across its retail search exchange network. It also includes analysis on behavior from a 500-consumer study commissioned by MarketTree in May 2014.
Pre-purchase browsing behavior generated the most interesting data. In the 500-shopper survey, consumers were 57% more likely than the average to browse different products on the same Web site. If a shopper needs a dress, she is likely to go to a Web site to search for options before moving on to another. These shoppers are also less likely, at 59% vs. 63%, to begin their searches with a specific product in mind. They are more open to discovering new items.
Similar to a physical clothing store, apparel shoppers like to save on impulse, and many also buy on impulse. More than 40% of consumers looking for apparel items do not have a specific product in mind when they go shopping online. In fact, about 24% are more likely to hold an item in their virtual shopping cart without making a purchasing right away. Once they find the items, they want to hold it and come back to recheck their decision another day.
The highest-converting terms show interesting results. Consumers who search for mock turtlenecks and valet trays are very intent on purchasing, or really like what they find. "Handkerchiefs" is the highest-converting term within Accessories, while "Handkerchiefs" comes in at No. 6. The search terms also are indicative of the items consumers need most assistance to find. They provide a sense of the items consumers are more willing to buy online.
HookLogic's report suggests that marketers need to pay more attention to search terms that consumers use. Misspellings are common. Make sure to include possible spelling variations. Less popular terms may offer opportunities for big rewards, as they can be high converters.
Apparel shoppers also are 14% more likely to want to compare different products on the same Web site. While electronics stores and marketplaces like Amazon offer this feature, it's less common on sites selling apparel, though consumers want the capability.
Images matter. More than 60% of Apparel shoppers chose product images as a top three influence on purchase, 1.5 times the average. Consumers look for the details that show them exactly what the items looks like on and off them, one reason that virtual dressing rooms work.