The pandemic has accelerated many consumer behaviour trends, especially shopping online, with ChannelAdvisor revealing that 55 percent of UK consumers shop online more frequently than before Covid.
This shift is a challenge for most brands and retailers and an opportunity to build a resilient e-commerce business, as today’s consumers are shopping in more places than ever before, on multiple channels from Amazon to Instagram.
To help navigate this evolving retail landscape and turn consumers into customers, ChannelAdvisor’s Lauren Hérouard, senior manager, client services, discusses consumer trends, the role of marketplaces, capturing international customers, and how to improve your brand’s visibility online and stand out from the competition.
How much of a role does e-commerce play in the fashion industry?
Fashion has long been one of the sectors best suited to e-commerce thanks to how easy it is to transport goods to the consumer. Selling online has become an integral part of any fashion brand’s revenue growth.
How has Covid changed consumers’ behaviour when shopping online?
Online shopping offered brands a lifeline to continue to serve their customers throughout the pandemic. As store locations closed, those consumers who hadn’t shopped online much in the past found themselves turning to e-commerce out of necessity and we’ve found that many are staying thanks to the fast, convenient online experience that many brands offer. The pandemic was essentially an enormous education exercise for many online shoppers and these consumers have become very savvy in how they go about purchasing.
What role do marketplaces like Zalando, About You and others play in the fashion industry?
Marketplaces are often the first port of call for shoppers when they research items, even if they chose to complete their purchase elsewhere. They draw huge audiences, so should be a consideration for all brands selling online.
In many ways, marketplaces also set the agenda of the online fashion industry through their requirements. For instance, Zalando has stated that by 2023 all fashion brands selling through its platform will need to provide supply chain details in order for their environmental and social impact to be reviewed.
How do you pinpoint the right marketplaces for your business – with regard to full price vs outlet?
We advise brands to narrow down the list of available marketplaces by assessing how the features align with your brand’s needs. This will help you consider location, price points, category-specific options and positioning against competitors. Then rank the top picks by the support they offer, such as scalability and fulfilment. Before making your final choice, undertake research into each marketplace’s listing requirements, including set criteria around necessary product data, imagery format and customer service capabilities.
How can you use marketplaces to capture international shoppers?
Selling on a marketplace that has its own established customer audience can test the reception and performance of a brand’s product range in a new market, which can de-risk much of the investment required in investing into a new country or territory.
Brands may want to prioritise marketplaces that offer all-inclusive fulfilment support when expanding into a new territory, instantly giving a new wave of shoppers the confidence in rapid delivery and returns.
Make sure to research and invest in the appropriate marketplace features that will improve your brand awareness, rather than just focusing on revenue opportunities. Just because you are a well-known brand in France doesn’t mean you will have any brand recognition in Germany, so explore the marketing and advertising options available.
Competition is hard, how do you boost visibility on marketplaces?
Each marketplace has its own marketing features which will play an essential role in determining how discoverable your products are. Get to grips with each channel’s features early to boost product performance, whether by promoting certain items, including specific products in one of the marketplace’s digital storefronts, or even getting featured in the channel’s external marketing. For instance, Veepee, La Redoute and Zalando all offer merchandising and store opportunities that open up a much greater range of customisation options compared to single listings.
The consumer journey is fragmented – how do you guide customers on their path to purchase, whether on a marketplace, brand website, or in store?
Attention should be paid to where your target customers are browsing to make the best use of promoted listings on marketplaces and ads across social media. Shoppable ads and on-site marketplaces across Facebook and Instagram mean the average user can go from product discovery to an item being on its way within a few clicks. Providing “where to buy” options in your marketing will help guide them towards choosing your product via their preferred channel.
Content is key in converting a browser into a buyer. Detailed product descriptions and visual assets are the first things most customers look at, before comparing product pricing and reviews. This information must be easily accessible to customers and will need to be specifically optimised to meet each platform’s requirements, although need to be consistent across channels in order to not confuse shoppers.
All brands, especially those new to a marketplace, should frequently adapt their listings to observe which changes improve visibility and performance. Close attention should be paid to customer reviews, as they will often point to information that would have been helpful to include in product titles or descriptions.
How can ChannelAdvisor help?
ChannelAdvisor has been on the front lines of e-commerce since 2001, helping brands and retailers connect with customers, optimise operations and grow sales channels. The multichannel commerce platform can manage marketplaces, digital marketing, direct-to-consumer, global expansion, first-party retail, drop ship and fulfilment needs.
Marketplaces – ChannelAdvisor provides everything brands and retailers need to connect with more customers and optimise their selling activities on marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Zalando, Walmart, and 920+ marketplaces connections around the world.
Digital Marketing – The proprietary technology, combined with ChannelAdvisor’s team of e-commerce experts, helps automate and optimise advertising campaigns and product feeds across search engine marketing channels, social media marketing, marketplaces advertising, and video advertising.
Shoppable Media – Ease the path to purchase by making websites and digital campaigns dynamic and actionable. ChannelAdvisor Shoppable Media can help brands improve their customer experience while providing the retail insights needed to grow and strengthen their relationships with preferred retailers.
First Party (1P) Solutions – The ChannelAdvisor offering automates and scales to support multiple channels, helping with purchase order management, shipment notifications, invoice maintenance, and product creation (on supported retailers) for your wholesale or dropship partners.
Brand Analytics – ChannelAdvisor Brand Analytics is a reliable and powerful solution that can help multi-channel brands manage online distribution, grow sales and protect their reputation. The platform scans product metrics from online retailers, making it easier for brands and manufacturers to supervise large distribution networks.
Fulfilment – ChannlAdvisor integration and advanced automation allows brands and retailers to consolidate all of its inventory, order and fulfilment processes into one centralised platform.
To find out more about ChannelAdvisor and how they can help you grow your business, visit
www.channeladvisor.com/de for more information or email us at email@example.com or call 0203 014 2700.