Apparel is one of the fastest growing e-commerce categories in retail, with 18% of all sales happening online.
A Criteo study that analyzed the 2016 holiday season found that one-third of apparel purchases were made via mobile, and mobile purchases peaked on Nov. 13 with an average cart size of $126.
Mobile apparel purchases are truly making strides. The average apparel order made via phone is now more than via desktop: $33.91 versus $30.08.
Despite all the digital progress, online apparel purchases still hold their challenges. For example, 81% of consumers want an easier way to return products online, according to a recent Forrester study. Not to mention, return rates are as much as 28% higher than via physical store purchases because of the “unknowns.” In addition, 68% of shoppers are looking for complimentary shipping and a simplified return process.
Over the same holiday shopping period in 2016, an estimated one-third of all online purchases were made via click-and-collect, and 61% of those click-and-collect consumers made an additional purchase when they went to pick up their goods in-store.
There is no doubt that a mass transformation is happening in all categories of retail, according to John Roswech, Criteo's executive VP of brand solutions. But Roswech says the remaining challenge is if more and more shoppers are doing research before purchasing in-store, how do retailers keep employees engaging with customers?
“Brands have to adjust their tactics; they can’t rely on the same tactics they’ve used in the past. They have to make sure that they’re personalizing the brand for the consumer and working with the retailer,” Roswech told FierceRetail.
The Criteo holiday study showed a big push by many retailers into click-and-collect. Why? First, every time a retailer ships to a consumer, it costs money. Plus, a percentage of those items will be returned, costing the retailer return shipment. Plus, click-and-collect makes it easier to keep track of inventory.
In the future, retailers that continue to push omnichannel will be successful, according to Roswech. He predicts that there will be more and more physical retailers buying out e-commerce companies in order to create one powerful entity. He cited recent examples of PetSmart acquiring Chewy.com and Walmart's rumored interest in Bonobos. He says these types of acquisitions allow companies to combine the best brands with the best employee talent.