A recent study from Astound Insights claims that while Seattle-based e-commerce giant Amazon.com, Inc. is growing in popularity in the fashion sector, its failings leave the door open for other retailers to expand their market share.
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The study, entitled “A Window into the Fashion Shopper’s World” surveyed 1,000 US consumers about their apparel shopping habits and was able to pick up on some intriguing insights concerning shoppers’ perceptions of Amazon.
Indeed, the online retailer appears to be suffering from something of an image problem in the apparel sector, with only one out of four respondents describing it as “highly fashionable”. This may explain why only 26% of those surveyed stated that Amazon’s private-label fashion brands were a factor that influenced their choice to shop on the platform as opposed to elsewhere.
As in the vast majority of industries that the e-commerce retailer has successfully entered and dominated, where Amazon has the edge is convenience, speed and pricing. 57% of those surveyed said that speed of delivery was the most important consideration in their decision to purchase from one online retailer or another – a fact which favors Amazon and its expansive distribution network –, while 55% identified the platform’s competitive prices as a key deciding factor.
What’s more, 46% of shoppers stated that they preferred to browse on Amazon than in department stores when beginning a search for new fashion items, citing its wide variety of products and ease of navigation as important advantages. This initial browsing does not, however, necessarily translate to sales.
On top of this, many of the study’s findings seem to add weight to the prediction articulated in a Coresight report published in February 2018, which, despite naming the online retailer as the US’ second favorite apparel retailer behind Walmart, warned that Amazon “risks being viewed as an off-price retailer”.
All of the above could give hope to other apparel retailers, and Astound also had some interesting insights to offer for apparel stores, both on and offline, hoping to hold their own against Amazon.
The study confirmed the already much-commented importance of in-store experience for brick-and-mortar retailers, with 59% of those surveyed claiming that they took the experience of a physical store into consideration as part of their decision to shop there or not, while 61% of shoppers in the millennial age group said they were likely to leave a store if they thought the experience was unexciting.
Perhaps more interesting though are Astound’s observations about growing tech trends.
The burgeoning popularity of mobile shopping won’t come as a surprise to many (73% of shoppers said they had used mobile devices to either research or purchase apparel) but the study also singled out voice technology as being on the rise, with 47% of those surveyed saying they use it to browse as part of the apparel shopping process, and a further 37% stating that they thought they would use it within the year.
Subscription services, which have garnered over 11 million subscribers, also received a special mention, while 36% of survey respondents claimed to have tried out a curated shopping experience.
However, these trends could, of course, also benefit Amazon as it deploys its considerable resources to develop its own differentiated services, such as its Alexa-enabled Echo Look and the try-before-you-buy Prime Wardrobe service.
“Technology offers a massive opportunity for retailers to optimize the customer experience, but without a detailed understanding of their target market preferences, it can be difficult to decide where to invest time and resources,” said Astound Commerce CEO Igor Gorin.
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“Providing a seamless shopping experience across every channel is an expectation among fashion shoppers, and is key to maintaining an edge over the competition, and more importantly, Amazon.”
The full “A Window into the Fashion Shopper’s World” report is available for download on Astound Commerce’s website.
By Robin Driver