The good news for online fashion retailers is that more fashion shopping is being done online than ever before. But there could be dark clouds ahead…
As we enter the winter months, the Office of National Statistics Retail Sales Report for the UK for October 2018 provided some interesting statistics, particular on the fashion shopping front.
During the month, consumers did more fashion shopping and footwear shopping online than ever before. This shows a definitive move by fashion lovers to shop over the internet rather than in-store.
What’s also interesting, if less positive for retailers, is that shoppers spent less in this category overall across all sales channels than they did a year ago. We can only assume that the influence of Brexit is making UK consumers more cautious. Plus many shoppers are likely to be saving money for their Christmas gift spending.
UK online sales for October 2018
Black Friday effect
Looking at actual figures, 18.2% of fashion and footwear sales took place online during October. This was up an impressive 14.3% year on year. However, it was actually 1.6% down on September 2018.
Experts put the monthly dip down to people holding back for Black Friday. The people are delaying their spending so that they could take advantage of the yearly end-of-November discount period.
Overall online sales followed a similar pattern to fashion. Purchases grew by 12.6% year-on-year, with 18% of all UK retail sales taking place online. Household goods, meanwhile, grew an impressive 26.5% year-on-year, taking up 13.6% of total retail sales.
With UK belts tightening with respect to fashion shopping and online retail in general, retailers are going to maximise their efforts to retain their existing customers and attract new ones.
Facing falling revenues, the dilemma online retailers face is how to achieve this without massively increasing the spend on marketing. Discounting products can help shift more sales, but unfortunately this also reduces margins.
Managing post-purchase communication
One strategy could be to engage with customers during the post-purchase phase. Taking control of this part of the consumer journey, which is the most emotional element, and making it a more effective and personal experience for customers can itself encourage loyalty.
However, it also presents a great opportunity to reinforce brand values, as well as offering a new marketing channel. With 70-80% of customers likely to open post-purchase emails, this is a great time to inform them about offers, as well as market complementary items to those which they have just purchased. This is why it’s best from retailers to take control of the post-purchase communication, rather than handing it over to their logistics partners.