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Learning From the Best: UK E-Commerce Shipping Study 2020: Fashion Edition


Published on: January 6, 2020

Updated: September 8, 2023

UK ecommerce shipping study

What is the state of delivery and returns for UK fashion retailers? Are fashion retailers delivering on the high expectations of customer experience that consumers hold? These questions were the basis of parcelLab’s ‘Fashion Edition’ of the UK E-Commmerce Shipping Study 2020. The study analysed the checkout, shipping and returns processes of the UK’s top 100 online fashion retailers.

Whilst the results showed that many online retailers have a long way to go to optimise their shipping and returns service, we did find three UK fashion retailers that stood out from the crowd in their personalisation, brand and customer experience. We awarded these the following:

Best Customer Experience – JD Sports

Best Brand Experience – Missguided

Best Personalisation – Hugo Boss

###Personalised shipping communication examples!

Best Customer Experience: JD Sports

Who is JD Sports?

JD Sports Fashion plc, more commonly known as JD Sports, was founded in 1981 as a single store in the North West of England. Now with over 2,400 stores, the JD Group offers branded and own brand sports fashion apparel and footwear in the UK and Ireland.

Founded: 1981

Industry sector: Athleisure

Revenue: £4,717.8 million

What did we like?

  • Integrated tracking information in customer account: JD Sports provides detailed information in the customer account about delivery prediction and order status
  • Payment options: Several payment options are available to the customer including Klarna and Clearpay, which allow the customer to try now, pay later.
  • Delivery pass: JD Sports offer customers unlimited delivery for a one-off payment of £9.99 a year.
  • Guest checkout: Customers are able to checkout without providing personal details.

What could be improved?

  • Upselling inclusion: No product recommendations are included in the post-checkout journey. Customers are more engaged with the brand at this moment, so including these has the potential to increase revenue by up to 5%.
  • Discount code: Rewarding the customer with a discount code after checkout could promote future purchases and create a loyal customer.
  • Branded tracking emails: The tracking information came from Hermes. In order to create a smooth and branded customer experience, JD Sports should take control back of these comms.

Why best fashion retailer for customer experience?

  • Design and layout: Clean and simple design throughout the whole journey that is easy to navigate.
  • Delivery pass: For just a one-off annual payment, JD Sports customers can enjoy unlimited delivery. This encourages loyalty in customers and promotes repeat purchases. In addition, customers feel like they are receiving free delivery as the initial cost has been forgotten about.
JD Sports display tracking information in the customer account
JD Sports display tracking information in the customer account.

Best Brand Experience: Missguided

Who is Missguided?

Founded in 2009 by Nitin Passi, Missguided is a multi-channel womenswear fashion retailer. Its target audience in 16-35 year olds and the retailer claims to ‘drop’ 1,000 brand new styles each week. They describe themselves not as fast fashion but rapid.

Missguided have had collaborations with major names throughout the past few years, including Nicole Scherzinger and Jourdan Dunn. After great success as an online-only business, they branched into physical stores in 2016.

Founded: 2009

Industry sector: High Street

E-Commerce Revenue: £215.9 million

What did we like?

  • Social sharing: Customers are informed of the social sharing hashtag after checkout and are encouraged to share their new purchases with the retailer.
  • Referral: Friend referral scheme promoted after checkout for future discount codes.
  • Integrated Track & Trace page: Missguided guide customers to an integrated and branded Track & Trace page which includes detailed updates on the parcel’s journey.
  • Branded tracking email: The retailer actively communicates with the customer during shipping, sending branded tracking emails.

What could be improved?

  • Upselling in Track & Trace page: The Track & Trace page is very simple and includes no upselling or promotion links. This is a key time to encourage further purchases so including these links would increase repeat revenue.
  • Carrier emails: Hermes still communicates with the customers as well as Missguided. Missguided should turn these external communications off so the customer is only direct to their pages.
  • Customer account: Order did not appear in our customer account so we could not tell if there was tracking information to be found here also.

Why best fashion retailer for brand experience?

  • Customer centricity: Missguided have made the customer the priority and have created a branded experience as a result, from checkout right through to returns.
  • Consistent communication: Missguided consistently communicates with their customer in a branded format. These include order confirmation, dispatch confirmation, tracking updates and delivery success announcement.
missguided checkout process
Missguided include upselling ads and social tag in order confirmation.

Best Personalisation: Hugo Boss

Who is Hugo Boss?

Often referred to as BOSS, the branded was founded in 1924 by Hugo Boss. Headquartered in Metzingen, Germany, the retailer originally focused on general purpose clothing and made its mark in the 1930s producing and selling Nazi uniforms. Now with around 14,700 employees worldwide, the BOSS and HUGO men’s and womenswear offers clothing for all occasions, including business wear, casual outfits, athleisturewear and eveningwear.

Founded: 1924

Industry Sector: Luxury

E-Commmerce Revenue: €2,733 million

What did we like?

  • Personalised communication: All communication comes from Hugo Boss and is branded and personalised to the customer.
  • Product recommendations: The Track & Trace page includes product recommendations based on the customer’s order.
  • Hugo Boss Experience: A personalised customer account that includes a history of all purchases online and in store, free alteration services and personalised offers.

What could be improved?

  • Upsell in delivery comms: Including products in the delivery comms as well as the tracking page would increase upsell potential.

Why best fashion retailer for personalisation?

  • End-to-end personalisation: From the moment you enter Hugo Boss’s site to the end of the returns journey, the experience is personalised to the customer. All delivery comms are branded and personal, as well as the tracking page and product recommendations. There are no generic messages sent to the customer throughout the entire customer journey.
  • Multi-channel personalisation: The Hugo Boss Experience allows customers to track both their on- and offline purchases in one place, as well as receiving personalised offers and alteration services. This level of service is above average and goes a long way in creating loyal customers.
Hugo Boss personalized checkout offer
Hugo Boss provide customers with a seamless on- and offline experience with the Hugo Boss Experience.

What can we learn from these retailers?

The three category winners show us that in order for fashion retailers to stand out in the crowded marketplace and provide superior customer experience, they must:

  1. Provide transparency across the customer journey, from checkout right through to returns. This should include tracking information in the customer account, branded shipping communication and integrated track and trace pages.
  2. Offer delivery passes where possible. For a one-off cost, the customer feels like they are getting free delivery for the year and are likely to purchase over and over again.
  3. Create personalised experiences for the customer that go beyond the norm. Where possible integrate both online and offline orders in the customer’s account to provide a seamless experience. Provide personalised offers and rewards to encourage customer loyalty.
  4. Create a community with customers using social sharing hashtags.

Download the full study here to see how we ranked the UK’s top 100 fashion retailers.

Want to know more about how you can create personalised and branded customer journeys? Schedule a demo here.

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