Online shopping: How fashion brands can push buyers from cart to wallet

Representative Image | Photo: iStock
Friction in the aisles can lead to millions of rupees lost in potential sales online says a new report that urges brands to turn the spotlight on the mobile experience being offered to consumers. 

According to the Zero Friction Future Report on the Indian fashion industry from Facebook, based on a study by KPMG and Nielsen, apparel and accessories brands across the spectrum — be it from traditional brick-and-mortar companies or new digital marketplaces — are losing out potentially on $5-$9 billion worth of sales because consumers are not going down the entire length of the purchase pathway online. 

To fix this, companies must turn their attention to their mobile strategies for two reasons: one, this is the medium that is drawing in the most fashion buyers and two, mobiles influence buyers and create compact purchase journeys, which reduces the chance of consumers dropping out, or what the report labels ‘consumer friction’.

“The fashion consumption story of India is evolving and demand for quality fashion products is on the rise. This phenomenon is not limited to Tier 1 markets, but also Tier 2 and below towns,” said Sreedhar Prasad, partner and head — E-Commerce and Internet, KPMG in India. Fashion, one of the fastest growing e-commerce stories today, can significantly accelerate its pace by paying attention to small screens, the report implies.

At present the 500 million mobile phone users accessing data services in the country are a huge opportunity for retail companies as they seek to tap into the next big market after China. Big tech companies like YouTube and Facebook have been working with advertisers to convert the casual viewer into an active buyer for a while. These efforts make it pertinent for them to track the friction points where users lose interest.

Prasad further adds that rising affluence of the middle income group is creating demand for aspirational brands. In order to capture a larger share of mind, time and wallet of their target customers, fashion and e-commerce brands should continuously evaluate their marketing mix. 

According to the findings of the report, friction accounts for 19 per cent of consumer dropouts, in apparel category, and more than two-third of this friction is caused by media. Both men and women display different drivers for entering the purchase funnel. Men seek clear next steps after watching an advertisement, while women are more likely to ignore ads if they fail to capture their attention or provide relevant information. 

As men and women head into the purchase journey, credible information and better 'value for money' become important decision making parameters. While buying fashion accessories, women are more sensitive to price and lack of trust at point of sale. Men are more likely to ignore an advertisement at the top of the funnel, but seek lucrative offers and detailed information for their shortlisted products.

The Facebook study further reveals that mobile enabled purchase journey is 14 per cent and 25 per cent shorter than offline journeys of apparel and fashion accessories respectively. Online beauty products retailer Nykaa has been tapping into this area through a mobile and digital first approach despite their brick and mortar expansion plans. Hitesh Malhotra, chief marketing officer Nykaa said “Nykaa uses a lot of discussions on the (digital first) community to drive the conversation around beauty.” While the portal is constantly updating its recommendation engine, they are also working  with technology partners at various levels to increase the mobile outreach.

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