In the fast-changing world of online shopping, the 2021-23 period has witnessed significant changes, transforming the way consumers purchase. Mobile devices dominated purchases, e-Wallets simplified payments, subscriptions surged and data-driven algorithms personalised products. Chatbots, voice search and augmented/virtual reality enhanced the shopping experiences. Furthermore, better integration with CRM systems improved the overall customer experience.
Considering the growing Indian fashion e-commerce market, projected to reach US $ 30 billion by 2030, fashion brands recognise the need to embrace technology across every aspect of the online shopping journey. One of the trends in the fashion retail industry garnering significant attention is the integration of fashion stores within the e-commerce platform itself.
Need of fashion stores on the e-commerce platform
Building a dedicated fashion store on an e-commerce platform means that customers can browse, select and purchase products without leaving it. There are several reasons why this strategy is beneficial for both the sellers and the buyers. Firstly, it provides greater convenience as shoppers no longer need to navigate between multiple websites or apps; they can effortlessly discover, select and purchase their desired fashion items all in one place, streamlining their shopping journey.
Secondly, the magic of personalised shopping comes into play as the e-commerce platform can utilise its customer data to recommend products, offer discounts and provide exclusive deals.
Lastly, this dedicated fashion store fosters a sense of community and trust among shoppers. They can engage in conversations, share reviews and showcase their fashion choices through pictures, ultimately creating a bond of trust and belongingness within the online shopping community. So, having a dedicated fashion store on e-commerce is a smart move that makes customers happy, makes them more likely to keep shopping there and also helps the e-commerce business make more money.
Amazon, AJIO, Nykaa Fashion and Tata Cliq all feature dedicated brand stores designed to meet consumer preferences. Amazon’s fashion store includes specialised sections like Plus Size, Party Wear and Gen Next with list of brands catering to diverse individual needs. Similarly, AJIO’s brand stores house renowned names such as MUJI, GAP, Steve Maiden, Armani and Superdry to cater to various customer tastes.
|In 2023, the global fashion e-commerce market is forecast to reach a value of over US $ 820 billion. By 2027, it could reach just over US $ 1.2 trillion. Amongst the primary segments of fashion, apparel makes up the majority of what consumers are purchasing online. As far as India is concerned, the fashion e-commerce market is worth US $ 11 billion in 2023, which is expected to cross US $ 30 billion by 2028.|
X consumer looking for a brand Y wants to purchase a black outfit precisely balloon sleeve top with a peplum skirt in sheer fabric. X heads to fashion store and then she gets the desired result in a matter of seconds either by uploading a similar image or by searching with the keywords. This eliminates the need to engage in an endless amount of browsing activities. X is also capable of filtering the price range and comparing the prices of similar products on various other e-commerce websites, which opens up a wealth of opportunities for making a speedy purchase either on the same website or by switching to a different one. Additionally, the website (or m-commerce app) offers a virtual try-on service so that X easily sees how the garment will look on her before purchasing it.
While X’s virtual look is being prepared, she is presented with additional styles that may be appropriate for her body type. As a result, she decides to purchase an additional pair of pants based on the recommendations, also taking a look at other personalised options for bundle accessories and footwear to create a full look. X has been served a few discounts and coupons by the time the customer moves towards the cart. X interacts with the chatbots to learn more about the sales and discounts and receives prompt replies from the other side, which leads to instant gratification. This is then followed by a seamless checkout and the details are provided to X via her Whatsapp, thereby keeping her updated on the real-time journey. All this is also being leveraged by unified commerce providing a holistic shopping scenario.
What it takes to build a seamless fashion e-commerce for a new D2C brand
A strong combination of technical, marketing and design aspects enables the creation of an excellent fashion store on any website which eventually leads to greater visits. For example, AJIO Gold Store boasts a curated selection of premium brands, including G-Star Raw, Scotch & Soda, Hunkemoller and Armani Exchange with trendsetting designs as well as pre-launch promotions.
Creating a user-centric experience: eye-catching UI and better usability UX
Coming to user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design, visual appeal and usability are most important. High-quality images and videos that showcase products from different angles and user-generated content, such as customer photos and videos, enhance authenticity and trust amongst the consumers. Detailed product descriptions, including size, material, care instructions and measurements help customers make informed purchasing decisions.
Vera Moda has integrated augmented reality (AR) technology into its e-commerce store, allowing customers to virtually try on clothes and accessories. By bridging the gap between the sensory experience of physically trying out products and the convenience of online shopping, it enhances the customer experience and reduces the likelihood of returns.
Similarly, Myntra offers Myntra Studio, a platform designed to grant Myntra’s users access to original and exclusive content. When consumers are browsing and come across an outfit worn by any of their favourite influencers, they instantly click on the shopping icon to make a direct purchase or add it to their wish list for purchase later.
A spokesperson stated, “At Myntra Studio, 70 per cent of our content is driven by influencers, letting creators connect with a wide audience. We’re launching with 2500 content pieces, including 1000 by celebrities, making elite fashion accessible. Everything you see is shoppable, with 50 new pieces added daily, all ready for purchase.”
Streamlining search functionality leads to better navigation
A menu structure that is clear and intuitive with categories and subcategories helps customers easily navigate and explore products. Furthermore, it is crucial to streamline the search functionality. Customers often have items in mind, so having an easily accessible search bar displayed along with advanced search algorithms capable of understanding natural language queries ensures that the customers swiftly locate what they are searching for. A better search functionality leads to better navigation.
Reliance-owned start-up Fynd has added a Chrome extension Fynd Now, where customers upload an image from their phone’s gallery to link a visual from the web and discover it or similar products on the platform. The feature uses AI to identify the product in the image/video and recommends a similar product from Fynd. Myntra, Ajio, Nykaa and many others are just some of the retailers that have found success with visual search.
|Streamlining the navigation and search functionality: Solutions like Clarifai, Google Cloud Vision API, InfiViz etc., are examples of deep learning image recognition system which actually help to identity the products being uploaded for search.|
Implementing advanced filtering and recommendation options
According to PwC survey, 30 per cent of consumers are willing to pay more for the things that are suggested to them. McKinsey also estimates that Amazon’s recommendation engine is responsible for more than one-third of its sales, clearly indicating that this is one of the important aspects boosting consumer purchases. Hence, it’s vital for fashion e-commerce stores to have advanced filtering options. Shoppers want to easily filter products by size, colour, style and price, making the shopping experience better.
|Implementing advanced filtering and recommendations options : Solutions like Consumer AI, ConvertFlow, Monetate, Salesforce are some of the solutions which are being used for better recommendation process. Brands like Burberry also use product recommendation tools such as RichRelevance that provide personalised recommendations.|
Seamless order fulfilment process: inventory management and real-time order tracking
Efficient order fulfilment processes play a crucial role in ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty. To achieve this, retailers use smart inventory management systems that not only keep tab on the stock but also automatically restock items to avoid stockout situations. Moreover, real-time order tracking and timely shipping updates enhance the overall shopping experience.
Ensuring a smooth checkout process and seamless billing gateway
Creating a seamless payment gateway is essential for reducing cart abandonment during the checkout process. To achieve this, one needs to have a variety of secure payment options available including credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets, UPI and bank transfers. Additionally, features such as auto-fill for address, guest checkout and saved payment information for returning customers play a vital role in simplifying the checkout process. Instamojo, PayU, Razorpay and Swipez billing providers are already available to streamline the payment process.
A look into the future
Currently, immersive technology is emerging in the country while Western companies like Lacoste, Saxx, Coach and Lululemon have already embraced virtual stores. While Zivame, StyleUp, Dennison and Madame have been actively into the metaverse space, other fashion brands in India are also contemplating their foray into virtual malls soon.
Shopping for fashion may soon evolve from clicking to just simply swiping. Imagine customers being able to visualise and try on clothing and accessories in a virtual environment. These immersive experiences seem like a far fetch dream yet for Indian retailers but trials are going on by brands to see if consumers will accept this technological trend. Only time will tell!