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Study: Online Apparel Retailers Need to Improve Search Navigation

When it’s deliver-or-die, supply chains become the lifeblood of a company. To that end, the fashion industry has embraced technology to navigate today’s hyper-complicated supply chain, with myriad solutions shaping the first, middle and last mile. Call it Sourcing 2.0.

A new study from Edgecase, a platform aimed at creating positive online shopping experiences for brands and their customers, found that apparel and accessories retailers’ websites and search options have room for improvement. The study looked at 220 websites across 10 retail segments to conclude how online shoppers are navigating in the digital world. The results of the study were then compared to current Edgecase retailers in the same categories to show the flaws in web navigation standards.

While retail websites in the electronics segment were found to offer the highest number of navigation options, with an average of seven filters spanning brand name to mega-pixels requirements, the apparel and accessories categories were among the lowest performing retail segments, averaging just three filters.

Home furnishings and health and beauty were also named low performing retail segments, each offering on average three ways to tailor searches. In contrast, Edgecase health and beauty clients in the same segment offer online shoppers up to 17 different navigation filters.

In its research, Edgecase discovered that much of the critical information shoppers look for, in fact, already exists, but is not presented in an organized fashion. The platform addresses this format as a “scatter-shot” approach, which can leave shoppers jumping all over the place, trying to gather the information they need. The study from Edgecase showed that language, and how it is used to make decisions, is vastly underrepresented.

Edgecase CEO Garrett Eastham said, “The typical online shopping experience is shockingly poor, where a 5 percent conversion rate is considered fantastic and less than 60 percent cart abandonment is seen as a breakthrough. What’s missing in the online store is humanity.” He added, “In order to facilitate greater online sales conversions, retailers need to identify the gaps in shopper communication and work to create a common language between merchandisers and the individual.”

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