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Ask the Experts: Online Fashion and Accessory Retailers
Fashion is one of the most popular and competitive industries within retail. We’ve asked a series of e-commerce experts to dissect three of Australia’s favourite fashion and accessory online retailers.
Fashion is a category that will always stay in style, and Showpo, Beserk and Mon Purse are some of the leaders within their own field. We sat down wit Alita Harvey Rodriguez, the Founder of MI Academy, Suzanne Mitchell, AU Marketing Director, GoDaddy and Steve Orenstein, Founder of Zoom2U to dissect these e-commerce platforms.
Showpo is one of Australia’s leading pureplay fashion retailers. It was established in 2010 by Jane Lu, and continues to provide the latest trends to women across the country. In 2018, Showpo launched its first pop-up shop in LA and has expanded across the world.
Alita: “Showpo’s homepage is sassy, bold and in your face! But in a good way. Not a moment is missed, brands are bold with moving gifs to showcase them. Fashion and styling inspo is also on moving gifs showing off the diverse ranges Showpo has in stock. It doesn’t tell you what we want you to buy but rather does what a good home page should do which is inspire the journey. A great feature on the home page is personalisation. I wanted to checkout ‘Loungewear’ – Hello #Isolife, and upon returning to the home page it had been personalised based on interaction.”
Suzanne: “The first thing I noticed on the homepage was the static image displaying the ‘end of season’ sale, as it’s a bold, red colour taking up about two-thirds of the screen. It would be great for this placement to be thinner to allow some of the actual products to be highlighted as soon as a customer hits the site. It was great to see pertinent COVID-related information easily accessible in the text ticker at the top of the page, well above the fold. Below the fold, it’s nice to see large product images, some of which are static and some which rotate.”
Steve: “Showpo’s website has great UX, which enables users to easily browse the site whilst having an enjoyable experience. The images are styled with a complete outfit such as accessories so shoppers envision themselves wearing the outfit, rather than a single piece. There is an easily visible phone number to call, which is often lacking as many companies opt for only online help, which can sometimes add a barrier to purchases for those customers who want to ask a particular question. It also offers many payment options such as Afterpay, again removing barriers to purchasing. A key function for shoppers is having an option for speedy delivery and Showpo offers that for evenings and weekends. When you click on one of the huge range of products, you’re offered live web chat. To top it all off, there is free shipping on orders over $50.”
Product Page – Blazer
Alita: “Functionally the product pages are great on this site. Load time the speed is super quick and I’m running on a slow internet connection. They clearly get the importance of speed for their millennial market. I do think the pages lack some inclusivity for different sizes. Showpo has a great size range, it’s important to invest in photos on a more broad range of models, I hope Showpo does this soon. ”
Product Page – Dress
Suzanne: “The page load time was fast, and I immediately noticed that the page features two images side-by-side for easy comparison of different product images. I also like that the thumbnails of the different images are displayed below the larger images, making it easy for customers to view other angles of the dress by simply clicking on a single thumbnail. There is a clear product description, however, it is located below the fold.”
Product Page – Cosmetics
Steve: “The MCO beauty duo blush product looked great with high-quality images, quick page speed, description and high-quality images. The checkout process is good but could be improved slightly by going straight to the page which allows you to enter in shipping information, without the need to register and click to go through as a guest.”
Alita: “Almost gated but not quite. The checkout UX is clever. All button colours are black, almost equal weight outside of hierarchy, so you could easily miss the guest checkout. A lot of brands are starting to move back towards gated checkouts with no guest option because as the increasing understanding of loyalty on the Customer Lifetime Value and ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). A focus on loyalty helps to improve marketing budget performance. I love the addition of urgency ‘If ordered before 4 pm tomorrow ‘ to qualify for Free Express Shipping. A nice tactic to close the sale faster and prevent the customer from getting distracted or shopping around.”
Suzanne: “Overall, the checkout page is simple and easy to navigate. All of the important information such as the calculation of shipping costs is located above the fold, while two ‘Go to Checkout’ buttons give customers the option of confirming shipping costs before or after continuing with the purchase, helping to provide customers with full transparency of their order on one page.”
Steve: “They could try going straight to guest checkout process rather than choosing a guest option or log in. Removing as many steps as possible during the checkout process is important, but overall, it is a smooth process.”
What ways can this retailer improve its offering?
Suzanne: “To promote consistency across the site, it would be ideal if the product images had a consistent background. This would allow the actual products to be presented in a cleaner and more consistent manner.”
Beserk is Australia’s original Alternative fashion retailer Established in 2000, it has served as the longest-running alt and niche online fashion retailer in Australia.
Alita: “There is a lot going on here, also when I clicked on the categories section under the main banner it opened a new tab in your browser. CX wise there are some good elements like same day dispatch and free shipping thresholds, that messaging upfront can help build delivery confidence.”
Suzanne: “On first impressions, the homepage is very colourful, loud and quite busy. However, the brand is likely targeted to a very specific demographic, for whom this aesthetic could be very appealing. Away from its visual appearance, the homepage has a number of useful features such as a live chat, a link to its Google reviews and clickable images for each product category, making it easy for customers to navigate. Today, it’s important for online retailers to display pertinent COVID-related information, particularly if it has an impact on customers. In this instance, information such as shipping updates and contactless payment options is on a rotating slideshow, so it’s only viewable by scrolling through, or pausing on that slide.”
Steve: “Compared to other leading retail websites, Beserk’s could be improved with both its UX and aesthetic. It could be more polished, with more stylised and higher resolution images. Offering free delivery on orders over $89, there is an incentive to spend more money but when it comes to postage, there aren’t any same-day delivery options. Instead, it says same-day shipping, which often consumers expect to be same-day or one or two days delivery. The live chat and phone number are helpful for customer experience point of view.”
Product Page – Phone Case
Alita: “Navigating here I was overwhelmed with huge images. But, once I got here overall this page has all the right bits! Helpful sizing charts features nice big red ‘add to cart’ etc. Product info below the scroll starts off with more big products images which could be distracting and take the customer away from their buying journey. It wouldn’t hurt to reduce the size of images throughout the site. It would help with load time and deliver simpler navigation. More on model photos on product pages can help customers visualise the product on themselves.”
Steve: “The images aren’t super clean, the pages don’t load speedily and the checkout process isn’t as smooth as others. You also lose the menu bar when you go to checkout.”
Product Page – Fern Backpack
Suzanne: “The page load time for the Vegan Fern Backpack was seamless, while important details such as dimensions and material were easy to find. However, while the ‘Add to Cart’ button adds the product to the online shopping cart, it doesn’t take the customer directly to that page. Adding functionality taking customers directly to the cart, or having more visible ‘Checkout’ or ‘Continue Shopping’ buttons could enhance the customer experience. Taking a step back, on the product page itself there is a ‘Sort By’ function, but not a Filter. On the shoes pages, for instance, it would be useful to be able to filter by size so that if a product is not available in a particular size, customers don’t waste their time.”
Alita: “There was a bit of an unexpected step in the checkout process. I think simplifying this will help. It’s important when optimising checkout to get granular about what you really need from your customers. Asking your customers how you could improve it might give some gold nuggets to improve this flow.”
Suzanne: “Once you reach the checkout, the process is fairly straightforward with lots of options for customers, including multiple payment options such as buy now, pay later and PayPal, a ‘special instructions’ box and multiple delivery options.”
Steve: “The checkout goes to a new page with no navigation so it feels a bit clunky.”
How can this retailer improve on its current offering?
Suzanne: “I would suggest improving the functionality to inspire more shopping, and to take the customer directly to the checkout once an item is placed in the basket. Once at the checkout page, it would be great to inspire customers with other similar products or add a ‘continue shopping’ button to encourage additional purchases.”
Why is this retailer a leader in its category?
Alita: “This team have great support from their customers. They absolutely love them and have shown that year after year at the ORIA’s for the people’s choice award. Definitely one of the leaders in their category.”
Mon Purse is one of the trendiest accessory retailers in Australia. This young retailer has made waves for itself, thanks to its personalized bags, phone cases and everything in between.
Alita: “Nice clean sleek homepage design and good navigation. Although the scroll bar is very distracting and there are a few on the home page. There are a few reasons we avoid auto scrolls in design today.
1. Most people click on the first image anyway
2. The others just take up image bandwidth and add additional unnecessary files.”
Suzanne: “The first thing I noticed on the homepage was the large imagery on a rotating slideshow, which takes up the majority of the real estate above the fold. Below the fold, lots of product imagery gives the page a vibrant feel, perfect for its target audience. The page also contains a help button, although not a live chat, and clear links to its social platforms, making it easy for customers to navigate. A banner provides customers with important updates and information such as COVID-related shipping updates and current sales. The promotion code that was displayed in this banner was very easy to use, adding to the customer experience.”
Steve: “Mon Purse has a very clean design and brand, so it is consistent with its website. Unfortunately, due to COVID, some products aren’t available. There is also no phone number available for customers to call and there doesn’t seem to be instant chat either. Customers need to pay for delivery and the minimum delivery time is two to five days, so we would suggest enabling same-day delivery options. Following the depth of the COVID-19 pandemic, where online purchasing skyrocketed and delivery times were heavily delayed, many consumers look for speedy delivery options and are happy to even pay extra when given the option.”
Product Page – Phone Case
Alita: “The product page is nice a clean. The customisation on the pages to show almost realistic monograms it not an easy thing to do! Plenty of product images inside and out. I think there is an opportunity to ‘complete the set’ to upsell. I’m missing something important though, reviews! How do I know it’ll turn out how I want it? ”
Suzanne: “The page load time was fast, with a drop-down description of the product, as well as the ability to change product colours and monogramming were all located above the fold, however, no product materials were listed. Having a drop-down description rather than one that sits permanently on the page makes it slightly more complex. This product page featured four images, which are suitable for the product, however, there was no zoom function available – which is an important feature for many online shoppers.”
Steve: “Mon Purse’ website has great imagery, which is always key to showcasing a luxury brand. The website is fast to load too, which keeps customers engaged, especially if they’re browsing on their phones and perhaps making a purchase whilst on-the-go.”
Alita: “I can only assume Monpurse’s main customer is a gift shopper because there is a personalised gift card service on the first page of checkout. Voucher and discount code sections also take up a lot of real estate, we’ve seen a lot of CRO research suggest pulling away from having sections like this big and bold to help streamline the sales path and keep shoppers on site. Not looking for discount codes. Overall easy to follow.”
Suzanne: “Overall, the checkout page was clear and easy to navigate. The ability to enter discount and voucher codes, and create a personalised message card were all available on the first page, making it easy for consumers to customise their order. Once a discount code was entered, the price was automatically adjusted. However, shipping costs are not provided instantly, which could be a barrier for some consumers.”
Steve: “The checkout process is really simple and works well.”
How can this retailer improve its offering?
Alita: “UGC (User Generated Content) could definitely be more integrated into this site from talking about the brands #hashtag for social engagement to reviews on site. I think this would go a long way to build deeper internet connections with their customers and future ones.”
Suzanne: “I would suggest delaying the pop-ups promoting push notification and newsletter sign-ups to later in the shopping experience, as this can put some customers off at the start.”
Why is this retailer a leader in its category?
Alita: “Being able to build your bag is something super special to Monpurse. Definitely a leader in the personalised accessories category.”
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