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eCommerce Benchmark for the Fashion Industry

  • Unic Author

The eCommerce Benchmark for the fashion industry is a study, conducted by the eCommerce Foundation. The eCommerce Foundation is a non-profit organisation whose goal is to help companies improve their e-commerce activities.

This study is sponsored by Unic, hybris and Buckaroo.

What is the eCommerce Benchmark?

The eCommerce Foundation launched the eCommerce Benchmark six months ago. The eCommerce Benchmark is an online platform where e-commerce managers can freely and anonymously benchmark their e-commerce activities on 100+ different key performance indicators. Currently, more than 1,150 companies from more than 12 different countries participate and more than 345 benchmarks have been approved.

The eCommerce Benchmark & Fashion

As more than 70 fashion companies have participated in the eCommerce Benchmark, the Foundation decided to publish a detailed report on how they are performing. Both online fashion pure players and fashion retailers participated in the study. Within the retail fashion industry, participants are either Generalist (18%) or operate in specific segments, such as Women (34%) / Men (13%), Shoes (4%), Body (12%) and finally Jeans (3%).

All sizes of company are represented: about half of the participating merchants are relatively small, with fewer than 10 employees (55%); medium size companies, with 11-100 FTEs, is the segment least represented (13%), 31% of participants have 100+ FTEs, and 10% of the total sample have more than 1,000 FTEs.

Where does the traffic come from in fashion?

As expected, the majority of traffic comes from search engines (53%). Direct traffic is relatively low (15%); in fact, the average direct traffic for other retail industries is significantly higher (22.3%). This is not surprising given that the online fashion retail market is very fragmented. This low figure can also be attributed to the purchasing behaviour of online shoppers regarding fashion: the same products are normally available in a large number of online boutiques and so shoppers browse to get the best deal.

It is interesting to note that social and viral media play a much bigger role in fashion (8%) than retail in general (4%). Still, social media delivers less traffic than, for example, ‘old-fashioned’ email marketing as a traffic source (10%). The email open and click through ratios are high in the fashion industry compared with retail in general, and it is not surprising to see that women’s fashion is the segment with the highest open ratio at almost 35%.

Conversion ratios in fashion retail

Women’s fashion has by far the lowest conversion ratio (1.85%), while body fashion, as a niche player, has the highest conversion ratio (2.40%).

Key focus areas in online fashion

Participating companies were asked which projects are key focus areas for them. Based on their answers, a “hot list” of three key projects for 2012/2013 was identified:

Companies made the following statement: reaching new customers in order to make their business grow is the main strategic goal for 2012/2013 (67.64%). Operationally, this is done by improving the online marketing processes (56.51%). SEO/SEA are now standard tools for any merchant. New tools are applied to reach a better ROI, such as real time bidding (RTB) or conversion attribution measurement systems. In addition, fashion retailers are trying to sell via new channels (54.83%).

Other KPIs that companies can benchmark on include average order value, order return ratio, number of order lines, marketing, ICT and organisational expenditure, and innovation priorities.

For access to the full research report of eCommerce Benchmarks for the Fashion Industry, please contact
phone: +31 6 5234 2568.

The eCommerce Foundation

The eCommerce Foundation is a non-profit organisation created to help both companies and the industry as a whole improve their e-commerce activities by conducting research studies, facilitating knowledge sharing and supporting benchmarking efforts. The eCommerce Foundation is sponsored by Unic, hybris and Buckaroo, and led by representatives of the companies and other e-commerce experts, such as Professor Cor Molenaar (Erasmus University), Professor Bernd Skiera (Goethe/Frankfurt University) and Ian Jindal (founder and chief editor of the UK publication Internet Retailing). Partners and sponsors are able to access aggregated results only. Individual results are never shared outside the Foundation.