Clothing retailers: use visual search and personalisation to target young millennials

30 June 2017 (Last Updated June 30th, 2017 09:48)

Over a third of clothing & footwear spend on mobile is generated by 15-24s, but there is room to drive up spend among this age group as they have the highest mobile penetration but a lower than average spend per head, according to GlobalData’s latest report, Mobile & Tablet Retailing in the UK.

Over a third of clothing & footwear spend on mobile is generated by 15-24s, but there is room to drive up spend among this age group as they have the highest mobile penetration but a lower than average spend per head, according to GlobalData’s latest report, Mobile & Tablet Retailing in the UK.

With competition fierce, particularly in this area of the clothing & footwear market, retailers must use tools such as apps and personalisation to better engage young millennial shoppers and encourage them to spend more on mobile. While clothing retailers have increasingly adopted mobile apps to drive up shoppers’ purchase frequency, 15-24s place just 5.5 mobile orders annually and though this has increased from 5.0 a year ago, there is still an opportunity for growth here. Therefore, apps must have extra features and functionality which are not available on the mobile website to keep customers shopping through the app over time.

In response to changing consumer behaviour among ASOS’s young millennial shoppers, the retailer is exploring a visual search function where shoppers can upload a photo or screenshot of a product they have seen on social media and ASOS will suggest similar products it sells; this is a tool Urban Outfitters has already introduced on its app. With interaction on social media more prevalent, visual search is certainly a useful function for millennials – GlobalData’s recent e-retail survey found that almost three quarters of 15-24 year old mobile shoppers use the picture-led platform, Instagram. This tool will also highlight and drive sales of products which the customer may not have found through the simple text search methods due to the volume of items available from online pureplays like boohoo.com. However, this function needs to work well and have few pain points, otherwise shoppers will get frustrated by it.

Over half of 15-24 year olds browse for less than half an hour on their mobiles prior to purchasing, showing that retailers have less time to capture young shoppers’ attention – this emphasises the importance of personalisation. Customers’ purchase history can be used to suggest relevant items on the homepage of the retailer’s mobile website or app in order to drive visitor-purchaser conversion and encourage shoppers to trade up and spend more. As large product ranges can often seem overwhelming, personalised recommendations and edited ranges can be used to engage shoppers, especially those who browse intermittently through the day.

Amazon does this well – with homepage recommendations including ‘inspired by your shopping trends’ and ‘your recently viewed items and featured recommendations’. Though ASOS has mimicked this by using a feature called ‘my recommendations’ on its app, multichannel clothing & footwear retailers must catch up and champion personalisation to increase young millennial shoppers’ spend.

Am