E-shops have developed into the most important sales channel for fashion alongside classic brick & mortar stores. For women up to their mid-40s it is common practice nowadays to check what is being offered online. Mainstream brands like Zalando, OTTO and H&M are more up-to-date, authentic and often lower priced than the other retail channels.
Fashion blogs like “Style.com”, our German authority “Les Mads” or person-related blogs (from pretty much every fashionista) are the main new opinion leaders in the fashion world. Many bloggers now sit in the front row at the major fashion shows in Paris or Milan. In contrast to the fashion magazines, the bloggers are considered independent and allegedly uninfluenced by commercial interests. (In reality many have long been on the payroll of fashion companies.) Due to their supposed independence, the bloggers are trend scouts who mediate between hip street styles, new up-and-coming trend labels and the already established fashion brands.
The fashion world has acquired previously unimaginable democracy and impetus from the online retail of fashion: long-tail marketing and direct availability via e-commerce make it possible for hip trend labels from all over the world to capture a global clientele within months. Even high and luxury fashion brands like “Louis Vuitton” and “Gucci”, which were long just obtainable in big cities, have not been able to escape the e-commerce trends and opened their own e-shops long ago.
The availability of branded articles in various online shops is continuously growing so that products seldom sell out quickly or the same products can always be looked for on several provider sites. However, this latter point is making it increasingly difficult for providers to build lasting customer relationships.
Moreover, online retail has led to the pursuit of fashion gaining a new status in everyday life. Fashion surfing has become a permanent feature of everyday activities. In countless studies concept m has been able to extensively explore the function of fashion surfing during daily life. Browsing through fashion newsletters as part of early morning surfing or researching the current shoe range online during the office break serves many consumers as a substitute for daydreams.
The virtual dressing room to try on new self-creations is available online at all times. However, we have also got to know the drawbacks of virtual fashion pursuits in the studies: for some consumers the constant surfing on fashion sites has become almost a compulsion that they no longer have under control. Instead of taking place prior to ordering, spending is often controlled by an enormously high return rate.
In our studies, based on eye-tracking sessions among other things, we repeatedly notice how those e-shops are most successful which appeal to a large number of different online shopping mind states. By cleverly designing the interface elements, some e-shops manage to involve the online customers in certain patterns of interaction and thus to address certain usage mind states. For example, “Zalando” uses several teasers and an online magazine as design elements to inspire customers to stay on the website longer and to stimulate concrete purchases.
We know from our psychological user experience studies that a consideration of different stages of the buying decision process makes e-shops particularly successful. But not all devices are suitable for every brand, every product or every online shop. It may thus be advisable for the one provider to use blogs or online magazines for inspiration whereas another should focus more strongly on filter functions and product presentations.
If you are interested in learning more about the psychology of the different online shopping mind states and want to clearly increase your customers’ loyalty to your online shop, please contact Veronica Ebenfeld.