Most (62%) online fashion shoppers buy from a small group of favourite stores most of the time, a new study has found.
Some 63% of those shoppers who favour a few sites trust three or fewer sites. The Apptus Fashion Monitor, built on data from a YouGov survey, found that almost half (46%) venture beyond that circle of trust just once or twice a year, while 4% do so as often as once a fortnight.
Younger shoppers are more likely to stick to a small selection of sites: 78% of 18 to 24-year-olds said they did so, as did 70% of those aged between 25 and 34.
Apptus [IRDX VAPP] UK country manager Andrew Fowler said: “This is not good news for fashion retailers seeking to offset sluggish in-store sales with big growth online.
“It seems consumers, rather than welcoming a wealth of choice, would rather narrow down their options to a few favourites, and then stick with them. That means winning new, loyal customers online – not just those seeking a one-off bargain – is going to be very tough.”
When YouGov asked 2,000 shoppers how other fashion sites could break into their select favourites, two-thirds (66%) said they should offer value for money.
Fowler said: “Value for money should not be confused with price-cutting, which is not a sustainable way to build a customer base, or customer loyalty. Rather, it’s clear from these results that the challenge is to attract and retain customers who value a relevant and tailored experience.
“But delivering that kind of custom experience for each visitor is going to require a new approach to online merchandising – it simply cannot be done manually, which is why forward thinking brands like Very.co.uk are already adopting artificial intelligence driven approaches.”
Other factors included websites that make it easier to find products they are looking for, valued by 48%, while 22% wanted a website tailored to their tastes. More than three-quarters (76%) said their core favourites were at least fairly relevant to them, compared to 45% for other fashion sites.