What Retailers Should Know About The Online Apparel Boom
The apparel and accessories sector of the retail industry is experiencing major changes, with retailers seeing more business happening online than ever before, according to a recent report from Internet Retailer Research Group.
The report cites a nearly 20 percent uptick in retail apparel website sales to $80 billion compared to the previous year. Not only that, but retailers saw the total amount of revenue generated by their websites increase 2.2 percent in 2015, while physical store sales of apparel saw half as much growth.
Clearly more people are turning to digital storefronts when making decisions about apparel and accessories, which unsurprisingly correlates to a much higher number of web-only retailers competing for a share of the pie. In 2015, seven of the top 10 apparel retailers were exclusively digital. These web-only sellers are growing in part thanks to marketplaces operated by Amazon, eBay, and the like — and the number of them operating is only likely to continue increasing. Internet Retailer’s Jack Love likens the recent trends in apparel sales to that of Amazon’s effect on physical bookstores in the ‘90s or iTunes’ impact on record stores a decade later.
That said, it seems absolutely necessary that retailers understand and capitalize on what’s driving more consumers to shop online to stay competitive in apparel. The good news here is that companies operating both physical and online storefronts aren’t entirely excluded from the shift to online purchasing.
The Internet Retailer apparel report states that the top nine department store brands collectively saw an increase of 19 percent in sales from their websites for 2015, with most of that revenue coming exclusively from apparel. Early investments in e-commerce, as well as paid promotion of digital storefronts, from these top companies prior to the rise of Amazon’s apparel ambitions is one big factor in why they’re able to keep pace with web-only competitors.
But there’s another big component at play that’s responsible for apparel retail sales success, and that’s an investment in technology to measure the customer experience online, which includes monitoring behavior on the website, replaying individual experiences, asking the right survey questions, and so much more. It’s something ForeSee is well-known for providing to some of the most prominent apparel retail companies in the world. In fact, of the top ranked 250 apparel e-retail companies (from Internet Retailer’s Top 1,000 database), 7 out of the top 10 are ForeSee clients.
For more information about what’s shifting within the apparel and accessories retail sector — including the hottest apparel categories, millennial consumer analysis — download the IR Apparel Boom summary report now.