Fashion eCommerce trends in 2021 will primarily be fueled by consumer’s desires and expectations. Thus, consumer tastes and preferences will define the trends of the coming years.
Today shopping has become synonymous to perfect online functionalities, customized experience, and immediate support at all times. Besides, the modern-day shopper’s interaction process with digital channels has taken a 360-degree turn from a linear model to a more complex journey across different online and offline touchpoints. All in all, consumers expect an uninterrupted brand experience at all times.
Fashion eCommerce Stats
According to data by The Fashion and Apparel Industry report, the worldwide eCommerce revenue is estimated to rise from $481.2 billion in 2018 to $712.9 billion by 2022. The primary reason for this phenomenal growth can be attributed to:
- Increasing online access through smartphones and other hand-held devices
- Innovative technologies adopted by fashion eCommerce sites and top clothing websites
- The ever-increasing emerging markets outside the West, and
- Millennials being the majority of eCommerce fashion brand customers
But, merely having a fashion eCommerce website is not enough. Customers want their shopping experiences to be immersive, personalized and interactive alongside being enjoyable. So, again, fashion eCommerce trends in 2021 will primarily be fueled by consumer’s desires and expectations.
Fashion eCommerce trends to watch out for in 2021
Technology will dominate eCommerce for fashion in 2021, by combining innovations in technology with customers’ preferences. At this point, let’s look at some upcoming trends that will monopolize fashion eCommerce companies.
If you still aren’t on the Artificial Intelligence bandwagon to communicate with your consumers, you are surely lagging behind. According to a study conducted by IMRG & Hive, three- quarters of eCommerce fashion brands will invest in AI over the next 2 years. eCommerce giant Alibaba has already invested $15bn in R&D labs in an attempt to become the AI leader. On the other hand, Gartner predicts that customers will manage 85% of their relationships with a brand without interacting with a human by 2021.
AI fashion eCommerce tools and AI-powered personalization tools are becoming more and more necessary for fashion eCommerce. AI-powered personalization strives to ensure that –
- Customers don’t waste their time looking through irrelevant products
- They find the products that they like and want
- Customer experience will be personalized
And all this can be achieved by AI. We will look at how AI is slowly and steadily transforming the fashion eCommerce landscape, and how some of the best fashion eCommerce sites are using AI- powered personalization to give their customers a truly novel shopping experience.
By leveraging data collected from customers, top fashion eCommerce sites are predicting whether their customers are showing any signs of buying a particular product, by analyzing the number of visits to product pages, email open rates etc. These insights are then utilized to create better and positive shopping experiences.
AI-powered personalization is also increasingly being used to recommend products to customers. Additionally, we have seen proof that online shoppers enjoy being recommended products and deals which are relevant to them. Besides, they like having their shopping experience accelerated in the process.
Machine Learning Aided On-Site Search
Some fashion eCommerce web designs also incorporate machine learning to improve their onsite search. For instance, Fashion Nova’s predictive autocomplete saves the shoppers time, and also loads popular products – all at once.
AI-powered virtual assistants/stylists
The other thing which is surpassing chatbots in eCommerce is the AI powered virtual assistants who are enabling true one-on-on conversations. These assistants not only help the end user in achieving what the latter is looking for, things they say also line up more with the company’s brand. Additionally, they are impacting the way customers make their purchases. Sephora’s Virtual Assistant, for instance, allows its customers to try makeup online.
Amazon Echo Look’s screen and camera functionality are being used by fashion publications Vogue and GQ. Customers can use their device’s AI stylist to get style suggestions from the magazines by uploading photos from their smartphone.
Similarly, Orchard Mile which allows customers to create their own ‘shopping street’. The customer picks their favourite brands to populate the street, and then they can click on them and go to a customized website featuring the designer’s entire collection.
Stitch Fix uses AI to expedite the process of finding new clothes. Instead of the customer going from one store to another browsing, the company has coupled human personal styling with AI to find and send products directly to customers. The algorithm uses customer data to find the products it thinks the customer will like.
The fashion industry was among the first to recognize the importance of chatbots in their online commerce.
A spin-off from AI, Chatbots are used by businesses to perform certain customer service tasks. From a fashion eCommerce perspective, brands are using chatbots to direct customers towards relevant deals and products and to help them identify products they might want or need – all aimed to drive sales and revenue.
From a fashion eCommerce perspective, brands are using chatbots to direct customers towards relevant deals and products and to help them identify products they might want or need Tweet This!
Facebook Messenger, for instance, is being increasingly used by the fashion eCommerce industry to exchange Facebook messages with their current and prospective customers. Some of the top fashion retail brands like H&M uses bots which allow shoppers to customize and buy their own outfits.
Tommy Hilfiger’s chatbot engages you in a conversation, first introducing itself as a bot and then offering a variety of options. Shoppers can browse through the collections, proceed directly to the catalogue of available items, or even get the bot to help you in selecting an outfit. By asking questions, the bot filters the collections to suggest the items fitting your style – and all with Facebook Messenger.
The Burberry chatbot starts inviting you backstage where you can see models parading in Burberry outfits at the latest fashion shows. Simultaneously, you can also browse current collections and get a complete look with the bot suggesting matching items and accessories.
Chatbots can provide valuable support in terms of customer engagement, cost efficiency, fashion eCommerce conversion rate, and market reach. Fashion eCommerce startups can significantly benefit from chatbots as they increase their brand awareness and presence.
In order to be more customer focused, eCommerce fashion industry brands are now extending their offer to include ‘bricks and clicks’ in what is normally called the multichannel retail. On an average, multi-channel marketing and sales increase eCommerce revenues by 38%, 120%, and 190% with every additional channel.
Multi-channel marketing promotes and sells anywhere your customers go and buy. It brings commerce to various channels — like, social media, messaging apps, marketplaces and online communities everywhere your target audience exists.
Best fashion eCommerce websites sell to their customers through shoppable Instagram posts, native Facebook stores, or marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Google etc. Apparel eCommerce websites can substantially win market share by curating their collections for specific segments. Multi-channel is critical for enticing consumers and keeping them engaged from their first digital impressions to the eventual point of sale. Focusing on providing excellent customer service across multiple sales channels will yield big fashion eCommerce return rates in the coming year.
Technological Hardware Innovation
Fashion eCommerce sites and brick and mortar stores are now using virtual reality, augmented reality, wearable tech and connected fitting rooms to attract customers.
Within the first month of Rhone Apparel’s implementing Fits Me’ Fit Origin, their conversion rates increased from 3.7% to 9.8%. Fits Me addresses fashion’s sizing crisis. It uses its expertise from information gathered from various categorized garment types, data science algorithms, attribute mapping, and historical data, to create a deep understanding of body shapes, measurements and preferences. Those numbers sustained even after the implementation had been in place for more than a year and it was reported that Fit Origin delivered +20.4% in incremental revenue to Rhone’s website.
Augmented Reality is really stepping forward in fashion eCommerce to facilitate vital experiential shopping boosting e-commerce. AR leads customers through four stages of marketing – namely, creating awareness, building loyalty and converting users into paying customers. AR helps these fashion retailers to seamlessly transition through these different phases. Additionally, AR gives a customer access to in-store experiences of a fashion store, which in turn is beneficial for the growth of the fashion brand.
Gap with its DressingRoom application allows a customer to select the closest body type in order to choose an activewear. Subsequently, they can see an image of the apparel of their choice in that body type. This gives online shoppers a fair idea on how the clothing would look like on them.
AR has the potential to revolutionize apparel eCommerce websites. Augmented reality can be used to accurately superimpose clothing on a person. This will enable users to accurately assess size and fits. For online fashion eCommerce retailers, one of the challenges is high return rate. AR can bring about a reduction in these returns, by allowing consumers to make more accurate purchases. These kinds of increased efficiencies can boost online apparel retailer margins, and allow the retailer to cut prices or even pass on the savings on to consumers.
Social Media Marketing
The video will continue to be the dominant medium in social media. According to Entrepreneur, Instagram Stories are used by 200 million Instagram users every month. This alone makes Instagram a key platform to market popular clothing websites and best apparel eCommerce sites from the fashion eCommerce space.
If you are in eCommerce, y making your presence known on all platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, you will have a unique advantage in 2021 because these platforms make it easier to offer personalized customer experiences. Customers tend to be more of visual learners who shop with their emotions, and videos – by nature – trigger a certain emotion. More and more businesses are realizing this and are leaving no stone unturned in capitalizing on this marketing tactic.
Some businesses also live stream videos and give potential customers a more personal, behind-the-scenes peek at what’s going on around the office and how products are being made.
2021 will be the year when influencer marketing shifts from “who” to “how”. Influencer marketing faced some real challenges in terms of trust in 2019. Next year, social media platforms like Instagram will ensure that the integrity of influencer marketing is restored. Besides, efforts will be made to make sure that influencer marketing is made more elegant and in a less superficial way. Only those brands will cut through the noise and win customers which will learn to activate influencers in interesting ways. Thus, it is likely that influencer marketing will become a serious part of the online marketing mix.
Authentic user-generated content increases a brand’s reach and engagement on social media platforms. And when UGC is embedded on your website, it also boosts conversions. When it comes to fashion eCommerce, user-generated content becomes all the more important because it’s a way of showing that your customers love your brand. Thus, 2021 will see fashion eCommerce websites gathering more of these to better tailor their marketing strategies.
The Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Fashion
covıd-19 pandemic has effected nearly every aspect of online retail. For instance, online grocery sales has seen the peak becoming popular among elder shoppers. Besides, working-from-home wear [#wfhfits], yoga clothes and do-it-yourself products became popular.
But there is also the psychological effect of this pandemic which comes along with an epiphany; humankind has hurt mother earth and it is time for the earth to take its revenge!
For the ones who become more health and eco-conscious after the global shut-down, fashion industry is likely to provide a new route that involves a sense of realisation in buyers for the actual irrelevance of being an avid trend follower.
It is likely that sewing skills and and the art of wardrobe swaps will return. Thus, long-lasting fabric will be sought after. This is the time for the online retailers to follow the trends and invest in post-pandemic online fashion.
At the heart of it all is one single thing – personalized customer experiences. Whether you do with videos, AI or personalization, how your customer responds and reciprocates is what will define your success. There is no one “Golden Rule” to thrive in the Fashion eCommerce industry in 2021. You will have to do everything that will ultimately result in –
- Creating a better customer experience.
- Utilizing personalization as much as possible.
- Building a community of fans and followers on social media channels.
- Taking advantage of AI and, if applicable, AR.
- Aligning your fashion eCommerce site with Google algorithm updates.
The retail industry will keep evolving at breakneck speed for the foreseeable future, and preparing yourself and your brand for these five trends will arm you with the skills you need to grow your fashion eCommerce store in 2021 and beyond.
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