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Conversion rate in fashion ecommerce benchmarks: What we have learnt from analyzing 500 brands

There is no surefire way to guarantee success in ecommerce. A certain degree of cart abandonment is inevitable, and achieving full control over conversion rates might be an unattainable ideal. However, understanding what drives these rates is a crucial component of the winning formula.

Michal Wlosik

44 minutes

Fashion is one of the most competitive and complex ecommerce verticals in the world today – and it's constantly evolving. Over the past few years, direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce has grown to prominence, disrupting traditional retail models and giving birth to a generation of original fashion brands that sell products directly to consumers through their own online platforms. The new landscape has brought about not only opportunities but also new challenges. With so many competitors vying for user attention across different devices, channels, languages, and borders, it has become difficult for original brands to stand out and build a loyal following.

Our report aims to evaluate the impact of localization and cross-border ecommerce tactics on conversion rates and cart abandonment in fashion ecommerce. The metrics we’ve gathered come from 500 companies spanning various fashion verticals, including – but not limited to – apparel, footwear, and jewelry. We crunched the data seeking correlations between localization, payment options and conversions, providing insights that can help fashion ecommerce brands improve their results. The insights presented in this report, albeit sometimes surprising and counterintuitive, are a testament to the complexity of the industry and the multitude of factors determining success. 

We hope the information provided in this report will be valuable in shaping your strategies for future success in fashion ecommerce.

Enjoy!

A preview of some of the findings from our report

  • The median conversion rate for all ecommerce stores in our report is 2.4%.

  • The lowest median conversion rate is in the "men's fashion" vertical with 0.8%.

  • The highest median conversion rate is in the "accessories" vertical with 7.4%.

  • "Men's fashion" and "fashion for all" have comparatively lower conversion rates, but they have a high cart success rate (75% and 67%, respectively). 

  • Stores that support only one language show the lowest conversion median rate at 1.6%, and the highest cart abandonment rate at 73%. 

  • In stores that support five or more languages, the conversion rate jumps significantly to 5.6%, with the cart abandonment rate at 65%.

  • The highest cart abandonment rate is in the "baby/children's-wear" vertical with 54%.

  • The median cart abandonment rate for fashion ecommerce stores in our study is 34%

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Chapter 1: Report methodology and key metrics

For the best representation of the data in this report, we chose medians over averages. This was a conscious decision driven by the intrinsic nature of these two measures. In ecommerce, certain metric averages tend to be skewed by outliers, i.e., values that are significantly higher or lower than others. We’ve observed that medians are more resistant to such outliers, and they provide a more accurate depiction of the central tendency of data. The median, as the middle value of a data set, better represents the “typical” company within our sample, thus making it an ideal choice for our analysis.

For the purpose of this report, and to build a more comprehensive understanding of ecommerce performance, we looked at metrics such as conversion rate, Google Lighthouse Score for mobile devices, and cart abandonment rate.

Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to a website who complete a desired goal out of the total number of visitors. A high conversion rate is indicative of successful marketing and web design, signaling that a significant proportion of your users are completing your desired action (making a purchase, in this case). It is worth noting that ecommerce is a rich tapestry, and looking at the conversion rates of two different ecommerce stores is much like an apples-to-oranges kind of comparison. While 1-2% conversion rates are fairly common in ecommerce, don’t worry if your store misses the mark. Instead, focus on optimization efforts that help you improve it.

Cart abandonment is a fairly common phenomenon in ecommerce. Cart abandonment rate refers to the percentage of online shoppers who add items to their online shopping cart but leave before completing the purchase. A store’s cart abandonment rate is closely connected to its conversion rate – a lower cart abandonment rate translates into higher conversion rates, and vice versa. A good conversion rate is an indicator of good checkout design, transparent pricing, and overall user trust.

Nearly two in every three ecommerce shoppers abandon their cart prior to purchase. 

Nearly two in every three ecommerce shoppers abandon their cart prior to purchase. Researchers attribute the high rate to user sophistication: As shoppers become more experienced online, they’re more likely to comparison shop even as they move toward checkout.

CRO Expert and founder of CXL

Google Lighthouse Score suggests a website is well optimized for mobile users, a crucial factor given the increasing prevalence of mobile commerce.

In this report, we interpret metrics such as conversion rate, cart abandonment rate and Lighthouse score, examine the relationships between them, and try to identify the different features of an ecommerce store that impact them. In the ecommerce industry, everybody would expect that a good Google Lighthouse Score leads to a lower conversion rate, indicating a satisfactory user experience, particularly for mobile users. Also, we know a good checkout design with localized payment methods could contribute to a lower cart abandonment rate. But this is just the theory. Our report seeks to drill down into real-life data to verify and potentially challenge these assumptions. 

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Chapter 2: The factors influencing conversion rate in fashion ecommerce

Key findings

  • Conversion rate in fashion ecommerce is impacted by different factors than in other verticals of ecommerce. This poses both challenges and opportunities when it comes to a global fashion brand’s CRO efforts. 

  • Site performance can affect conversion rates and cart abandonment.

The success of a fashion ecommerce store can be evaluated by its conversion rate and cart abandonment. However, fashion ecommerce has unique attributes and characteristics that call for a more tailored approach. The vertical is a space where aesthetics, trends, and personal style meld together, creating a unique environment that doesn't quite mirror any other sector. 

Instead of listing the general CRO factors, let’s now look at strategies that are very specific to the fashion ecommerce industry – independently focusing on the frontend- and backend-specific efforts:

Fashion-specific CRO factors for ecommerce front ends

Fashion, less so than many other industries, thrives on the allure of visual aesthetics, individual expression, and cultural relevance. At the same time, the need to appeal to various markets with distinct trends, preferences, and customer behaviors demands a tailored approach to optimize conversion rates effectively. These unique characteristics pose both challenges and opportunities when it comes to CRO efforts. 

In this section, we will focus on the specific frontend and presentation factors unique to global fashion brands.

1. Product presentation and merchandising:

Fashion is a highly visual ecommerce vertical, and proper product presentation is paramount for successful conversion rate optimization. Customers want to see the products from various angles, zoomed in, and worn by models. The more visual information you can provide, the better the customer can imagine how the product might look or fit them. This can be achieved using an array of merchandising strategies like:

  • Virtual try-on features

    With augmented reality (AR) technologies, customers can virtually try on items to see how they would look on them. This kind of interactive feature can significantly influence the shopping experience and increase conversions.

  • Detailed fabric descriptions

    Listing fabric content, stretch, weight, opacity and feel sets proper expectations about fashion items.

  • Detailed size guides and fit predictor tools

    Due to the inherent sizing differences across brands and regions, it's crucial for fashion ecommerce websites to provide comprehensive size guides or fit prediction tools to help customers choose the right size.

  • Style recommendations

    AI-driven "complete the look" suggestions, style guides, or stylist-curated collections provide style guidance and help customers visualize how to wear an item, increasing its perceived value and thus conversion rate.

  • Trendy and seasonal updates

    Regular updates in line with current fashion trends and seasons keep your store relevant and attract customers. Showcasing these updates can stimulate purchases.

  • Offering a wide variety of styles

    Variety not only keeps customers interested, but it also increases the chance that they'll find something they love, hence increasing the likelihood of conversion.

  • Curated collections

    Depending on your audience's preferences, limited collections, exclusivity, and quick stock turnover can drive urgency to purchase and thus increase conversion rates.

  • Sustainable and ethical fashion options

    An increasing number of consumers care about the environmental and ethical impact of their purchases. Offering sustainable or ethically produced options can attract these custome

Don’t end up with an ecommerce design that looks good, but doesn’t help the customer journey, or is constructed in a way that doesn’t give the flexibility to adjust how it supports the customer in making informed decisions in their purchase journey.

CEO at www.fact.dk, ecommerce data, search, and conversion expert

2. Brand recognition and awareness

Consumers are more likely to purchase from brands they recognize and trust. And trust can be built through a consistent combination of thoughtful branding, consistent messaging, and strategic marketing. There are many specific ways fashion brands can build recognition and trust:

  • Social media and influencer marketing

    Although applicable to other sectors, it's particularly crucial in the fashion industry due to its visual nature and the influence of fashion bloggers and influencers. Successful campaigns, like Revolve's #RevolveAroundTheWorld, can greatly boost conversions.

  • Limited edition collections

    Limited editions or exclusivity can drive up demand and conversions. Supreme is known for this strategy, releasing limited quantities of products to maintain a high level of hype around their brand.

  • Designer collaborations

    Collaborations with prominent fashion designers or celebrities can significantly enhance a brand's appeal, leading to increased conversion rates. A prime example is the collaboration between H&M and Balmain, which created a huge buzz and led to increased sales.

  • Offering sustainable and ethical fashion options

    An increasing number of consumers care about their purchases' environmental and ethical impact. Offering sustainable or ethically produced options can attract these customers.

3. Localization

For global fashion brands, localization can be a powerful strategy to significantly boost conversion rates. 

  • Regional adaptation of fashion lines

    Adapting to local cultural norms, preferences, and climates can make fashion lines more appealing to different regions, impacting conversion rates. Localizing offers for local climate and seasonality can enhance relevance.

  • Language localization

    Translating websites and marketing materials into local languages, and adapting them to fit local cultural nuances can increase engagement and conversions.

  • Local payment methods and currencies Offering local payment methods and pricing products in local currencies can reduce barriers to purchase and increase conversions.

  • Customs, duties and shipping

    Understanding and managing customs and duties for international shipping, and offering clear, reliable international shipping options can enhance the shopping experience and drive conversions.

  • Using local sizing standards

    Using local sizing guidelines for fashion ecommerce brands enhances customer satisfaction, reduces return rates, and ensures a more tailored shopping experience for diverse global audiences.

  • Model diversity

    The use of model diversity, featuring different sizes, ages, and ethnicities, further enriches this approach, promoting inclusivity and allowing customers to better visualize how products would suit them. This is especially important for global sales, where localizing model ethnicities can resonate more deeply with diverse customer bases.

Fashion-specific CRO factors for ecommerce back ends

In fashion ecommerce, the ideal back end should cover areas such as inventory management, order fulfillment, returns handling, and customer relationship management systems. Due to the particularities of fashion – seasonality, trends, sizes, colors, and the high rate of returns – the back-end systems need to be highly responsive, scalable and robust. Moreover, the global nature of fashion ecommerce brings additional complexity, including handling different currencies, languages, tax systems, and shipping logistics.

Let’s now delve into how specific functionalities and features of ecommerce platforms can influence conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

1. Inventory management system

A robust and real-time inventory management system is crucial to prevent stockouts or overselling – which can be costly from the global brand’s perspective. The ecommerce back end should offer features that mitigate potential overstocking or overselling during unexpected demand changes like peak seasons.

Working with product data, especially for global brands will have a huge impact on overall performance, and being in control of brand compliance is key to scaling.

CEO at www.fact.dk, ecommerce data, search, and conversion expert

2. Order management system

The ability to handle and process orders efficiently, including the handling of returns and exchanges, impacts customer satisfaction. The ecommerce back end should enable easy integration with third-party logistics and supply chain as part of your order process, helping to reduce costs and streamline shipping and returns processes. Among other things, a good ecommerce order management system should take orders on incoming stock before it arrives at your warehouse to streamline orders and reorders, reducing working capital needs to a minimum.

3. Personalization algorithms

Back-end algorithms that use customer data to personalize product recommendations, content, and marketing communications can enhance the shopping experience and boost conversions for fashion brands. Personalization covers many aspects of an ecommerce store, and can benefit both the shoppers and the store.

  • Product recommendations: Based on your past purchasing history or browsing behavior, ecommerce websites can recommend similar or related products that you might be interested in.

  • Location-based personalization: Ecommerce stores can customize their content and product offerings based on your location. This could include showing different prices based on where you are located or displaying products that are popular in your area.

  • Search bar personalization: Ecommerce websites can remember what you have searched for in the past and use that information to provide tailored search results and recommendations.

  • Personalized emails: Stores can send personalized email campaigns or push notifications with relevant content.

  • Personalized shopping experience: Personalized home, category and checkout pages can create a unique user interface or design for each customer.

  • Personalized special offers: Custom discounts or deals can be based on customer preferences and behavior.

  • Personalized pricing: The store can display different prices to different customers based on their location, purchase history, or other factors.

4. Security and fraud prevention

Given the high volume of transactions, global fashion brands need robust security systems to protect customer data and prevent fraud. Trust in a brand's ability to provide a secure shopping experience can impact conversion rates.

5. Scalability and extensibility

During sales or peak shopping seasons, a sudden surge in traffic is common. The ecommerce back end must be ready to scale up when needed, and offer you the ability to connect with any number of third-party integrations: order management systems, ERP systems, and content management platforms – to help you deliver a seamless shopping experience for your shoppers.

6. Integrated customer service platforms

Integrating customer service into the ecommerce platform (like live chat support or quick access to help resources) can enhance customer experience, leading to higher conversion rates.

7. Technology and system integration

A good ecommerce back end should offer integrations with various back-end systems like inventory management, order processing, CRM, and customer service, leading to a smoother, more cohesive customer experience. For instance, a well-integrated system can ensure that customers see accurate stock levels online and receive timely order updates, both of which can enhance trust and increase conversions.

8. Data management and analytics

Brands need to review their business performance, and good CRO tactics are contingent on data and analytics. With analytics, you can track your inventory by seeing which items sell quickly and which don't, which markets perform best and which require improvement.

In a world where touchpoints get diluted across multiple platforms, tracking your performance and user interactions across platforms will become increasingly important but also increasingly difficult.

CEO at www.fact.dk, ecommerce data, search, and conversion expert

Collecting, managing, and analyzing customer data effectively can provide valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, informing everything from product development to marketing strategies. This can enable a brand to better meet customer needs and drive higher conversion rates.

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Chapter 3: The factors influencing cart and checkout abandonment in fashion ecommerce

Key findings

  • Fashion shoppers abandon their carts when they face doubt connected with sizing, shipping costs and returns policy. 

  • Most consumers expect free shipping even if it’s baked into the cost of the product

  • Displaying foreign currency in the store can lead to shoppers' confusion or uncertainty about the final cost of the product.

  • Site performance can affect conversion rates and cart abandonment.

Similarly to conversion rate optimization, improving cart abandonment and checkout abandonment rates in fashion ecommerce is a nuanced process that’s very specific to the nature and complexity of fashion products. This is why it requires a tailored approach with focus on a vertical-specific set of challenges shoppers face.

Let’s have a closer look at the different factors impacting cart abandonment in fashion ecommerce.

1. Unexpected costs

Cart abandonment very often results from extra costs that are only revealed to the shopper at the end of the checkout process – shipping, taxes, or customs duties (for international fashion brands). 

2. Free shipping and returns

Free shipping and returns policies can act as strong incentives for customers, enhancing the perceived value of a purchase and nudging them towards order completion. Most consumers expect free shipping. The success of Amazon’s Prime membership hinges on consumers’ obsession with free shipping (even when it’s baked into the cost elsewhere).

A free shipping offer that saves a customer $6.99 is more appealing to many than a discount that cuts the purchase price by $10.

a leading authority on ecommerce and author of "Why Location is (Still) Everything and What it Means for the Future of Business"

3. Complex, lengthy checkouts

A cumbersome or time-consuming checkout process can lead to customers abandoning their carts. This can be particularly relevant for global fashion brands that require additional information for international shipping.

4. Lack of clear size guide or fit information

Customers can't try on fashion items before purchasing. If your site doesn't provide sufficient sizing or fit information, customers might abandon their cart rather than risk buying the wrong size.

5. Limited payment methods

Particularly for global fashion brands, offering a range of payment options that cater to different regions can drastically reduce cart abandonment rates.

6. Delivery times

If delivery times are vague or too long (common with international shipping), customers may decide to look elsewhere.

7. Cart or checkout performance issues

Slow loading times, crashes, or mobile-unfriendly design can lead to customers leaving the checkout out of frustration.

8. Unclear returns policy

Customers buying fashion items online often want the reassurance of a free and easy return process. If your return policy isn't clear or seems too restrictive, it could deter customers. This is especially important for global brands and handling international returns. 

9. Currency issues

For global brands, if prices are displayed in a foreign currency or if the currency conversion is not transparent, customers might abandon the cart due to confusion or uncertainty about the final cost.

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Chapter 4: How do our findings compare to other ecommerce benchmarks?

Key findings

  • Original fashion brands tend to have higher conversion rates than multi-brand competitors.

  • Fans of original brands are more forgiving in terms of the store’s potential UX drawbacks or other friction points.

  • The lowest median conversion rate is in the "men's fashion" vertical with 0.8%.

  • The highest median conversion rate is in the "accessories" vertical with 7.4%.

  • The median conversion rate of 2.4% in our study is slightly higher than the rates reported by ecommerce benchmarks.

A store’s conversion rate can be affected by a number of factors: the industry, the target audience, the website design, and the marketing campaigns. Our study is focused on the fashion ecommerce verticals, and our median conversion rate of 2.4% is slightly higher than the rates reported by other ecommerce benchmarks. 

  • IRP Commerce data shows that the average conversion rate in the Fashion Clothing & Accessories ecommerce market increased by 0.49% from 1.76% to 1.77% in July 2023 compared to July 2022.

  • Oberlo In their report, fashion clothing and accessories was the fifth best-converting product category with a 1.53% conversion rate. Average conversion rates across ecommerce businesses were at 2.02%.

  • Smart Insights found that the average conversion rate for ecommerce stores in the United States is 3.34%.

  • Adobe found that the average conversion rate for ecommerce stores worldwide is 3.65%. At the same time, as of Q4 2022, the average conversion rates for the fashion and apparel vertical was 2.7%.

Original fashion brands boast above-average conversion rates 

When looking for a possible explanation for the discrepancies between the overall industry benchmarks and our data, it’s important to understand that many stores in our sample group are original brands whose products are unique and rarely available from multi-brand competitors. In this way, they can leverage their unique advantages, such as brand loyalty, brand advocates, and the overall influence of the brand.

Original brands target a narrow, very specific niche or segment of the market. The audience visiting their stores has the explicit intention to purchase specifically their products – and they want to purchase them specifically from the store. By precisely targeting their fans, specialized fashion and lifestyle stores typically boast higher conversion rates and lower cart abandonment rates. 

Fans of original fashion brands are more forgiving

Loyal fans of a brand are ready to overlook the store’s potential UX drawbacks or other friction points in an ecommerce store because of their attachment to the brand itself. An original brand has legions of fans worldwide who proudly wear their apparel not only for its quality and comfort but also for what it represents and communicates. 

The power of a brand can be transformative in how it impacts consumer behavior. In essence, being a distinct and recognizable brand can inspire a level of loyalty that is not easily shaken by friction in the user experience. Of course, Louis Vuitton is an extreme example here – but being an original fashion brand, when leveraged correctly, can positively influence conversion rates and the overall performance of the store.

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Chapter 5: Conversion rates in fashion ecommerce

Key findings

  • The median conversion rate across all the fashion ecommerce stores in our study sample is 2.4%

  • Stores that support only one language show the lowest conversion rate at 1.6%, and the highest cart abandonment rate at 73%. 

  • In stores that support five or more languages, the conversion rate jumps significantly to 5.6%, with the cart abandonment rate at 65%.

The median conversion rate across all the fashion ecommerce stores in our study sample is 2.4% – slightly lower than the average conversion rate for all ecommerce stores, which is 3.5%. The numbers in our study have also revealed that conversion rates vary across specific fashion verticals. The median conversion rate for the home and styling vertical is 1.5%, while the conversion rate for sportswear is 2.8%.

There are a number of potential insights to unpack here. The differences across verticals may suggest that shoppers might be more inclined to purchase online in some segments, while preferring physical stores in others, impacting the conversion rates across different fashion verticals.

Also, high-end or luxury fashion products may have lower conversion rates compared to more affordable or fast-fashion brands due to the higher price point and the need for a more significant financial commitment from the consumer.

Let’s now take a look at a few selected verticals analyzed in our study.

Men’s and women’s fashion

Conversion rate in women's fashion (3.6%) is comparatively high – but lower than in the accessories vertical (7.4%). The median conversion rate for men’s fashion is just 0.8%, which is significantly lower than for women’s fashion (3.6%). This roughly corresponds with the findings found in industry reports – according to Forrester Research, the average conversion rate for men's fashion ecommerce is 2.5%, while the average conversion rate for women's fashion ecommerce is 3.5%.

The low conversion rate for men's fashion compared to women’s fashion stores in our study may result from a number of factors:

These are just some of the possible differences in conversion rates between men's and women's shopping habits in fashion ecommerce. By understanding these differences, retailers can create marketing campaigns and strategies that are more likely to succeed.

Accessories

The conversion rate for the accessories stores in our study is 7.4%, which is exceptionally high compared to other fashion ecommerce verticals. Such discrepancies observed within the fashion accessories sector suggest that there are specific factors inherent to each product category that significantly influence customer purchasing decisions. 

In the case of accessories, there seem to be several factors at play. 

  • Lower price points. Accessories are, in general, cheaper products than clothes, which can make them a more impulsive purchase.

  • Lower risk, higher impulse. Accessories, being generally cheaper than clothing, present a less risky transaction for the consumer. This affordability supports impulsive buying behavior with low financial risk.

  • Simplicity of choice. The purchase of accessories bypasses common clothing concerns such as fit and sizing. This simplification of the buying process eliminates potential barriers to purchase, once again, facilitating impulsive buying.

  • More cross- and up-selling opportunities. The lower price point of accessories allows for greater flexibility in offering cross-selling and up-selling promotions. Strategies such as 'buy one get one free' are more effective when offered for cheaper items, encouraging customers to conduct multiple purchases within a short time span.

  • Accessories are ideal for gifting. Accessories – as opposed to clothes – are often chosen as gifts due to their inherently one-size-fits-all nature. This eliminates the correct sizing concerns. This makes them a popular and convenient choice, especially during festive seasons and occasions, and can significantly drive up conversion rates.

Overall, the differences in conversion rates across different fashion ecommerce verticals underscore the complex and multi-dimensional nature of consumer behavior and show a need for more nuanced, vertical-specific strategies to optimize cart abandonment and conversion rates.

Checklist for building highly-converting fashion ecommerce stores

Here are some general tips for retailers to improve their conversion rates in fashion ecommerce:

  • Design your fashion ecommerce website to be user-friendly and intuitive. Ensure that the categories of clothing and accessories are clear and distinct for easy navigation.

  • Create a mobile-optimized site or app that's visually appealing and easy to navigate on a small screen. Make sure that product images scale properly and that text is legible on mobile devices. 

  • Keep your website fast and responsive. Optimize images and limit heavy scripts that can slow down your pages, which is especially important for high-resolution fashion product images.

  • Provide multiple high-quality images for each clothing item from different angles, and include a detailed description with information about the material, fit, and care instructions.

  • Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your clothing items. Consider offering incentives for reviews and include user-generated photos in reviews if possible.

  • Make sure each page has a clear and compelling CTA like "add to cart", "shop now", or "explore the collection."

  • Regularly analyze the pricing strategies of your competitors. Ensure that your pricing reflects the value, quality and uniqueness of your fashion items.

  • Make shipping and return policies clear and easily accessible. For clothing items, consider offering free returns or exchanges to reassure customers about size or fit concerns.

  • Offer a variety of secure payment methods including credit/debit cards, PayPal, and popular mobile payment options. Consider also offering "buy now, pay later" options for higher-priced items.

  • Regularly test different elements such as product page layouts, CTA button colors, and headline text. Determine what design and copy elements result in better conversion rates for your fashion products.

  • Offer personalized product recommendations based on customers' past purchases or browsing history. Use data to tailor the shopping experience, like suggesting complementary items to those in a customer's cart.

  • Streamline your checkout process to be as simple and quick as possible. Consider options like guest checkout and saving customer information for repeat purchases to reduce friction and lower cart abandonment.

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Chapter 6: Cart abandonment rates in fashion ecommerce

Key findings

  • The median cart abandonment rate across all the fashion ecommerce stores included in our study is 34%.

  • According to industry reports, the average conversion rate for fashion clothing and accessories ranges from 1.95% to 3.34%.

  • There is variation in cart abandonment rates across different verticals.

  • Specific categories of fashion like jewelry, lingerie and styling include items whose purchase is generally considered less urgent, leading to higher cart abandonment rates.

The median cart abandonment rate across all the fashion ecommerce stores in our study is 34%, which differs from other ecommerce benchmarks.

  • Hotjar found that the average cart abandonment rate for ecommerce stores is 68.6%. 

  • Baymard found that the average cart abandonment rate for ecommerce stores in the fashion industry is 72.4%. 

  • Shopify found that the average cart abandonment rate for ecommerce stores in the United States is 75.5%. 

  • Drip found that the average cart abandonment rate for ecommerce stores worldwide is 70.3%.

Scroll to see more
VerticalCart abandonment rate
Baby/children’s-wear54%
Home & styling41%
Undergarments/lingerie40%
Health & beauty37%
Footwear35%
Jewelry35%
Accessories34%
Fashion for all33%
Sportswear28%
Men's fashion25%
Glasses & accessories24%
Women's fashion18%

While our data clearly indicates a significant variation in cart abandonment across different verticals, establishing a definitive pattern or correlation from these disparities would be difficult. 

Product complexity bumps up cart abandonment

Our study revealed that verticals with more complex product ranges (e.g, products with multiple styles, variants, sizes, and customization options) have higher cart abandonment rates. Such verticals include undergarments and lingerie. This might result in the shoppers’ difficulty choosing the right product.

Complex fashion products also constitute an important challenge from the ecommerce platform’s point of view. Centra is the only ecommerce platform geared towards handling complex, multi-variant and multi-size fashion products with no extra apps and integrations needed.

Perceived purchase urgency affects abandonment across verticals

Specific categories of fashion like jewelry, lingerie and styling might include items whose purchase is generally considered less urgent – and thus have lower abandonment rates compared to other verticals analyzed in our study.

From the store’s point of view, sales and limited-time offers can create a sense of urgency, pushing customers to complete purchases quickly to secure the discounted price. If a vertical frequently uses this strategy, it might have a lower cart abandonment rate.

Chimi Eyewear's summer sale offer

Urgency can also be influenced by personal circumstances. For example, if a person needs a specific piece of sportswear for a game next week, they're likely to finalize the purchase quickly.

Baby and children products

Our data shows an exceptionally high cart abandonment rate for the baby and children’s wear vertical, 54%, which is significantly higher than the 18% for women's fashion. 

The comparatively high cart abandonment rate for the baby and children’s wear vertical results from the nature of the products. Our interpretation is that parents are very cautious when buying products for their toddlers and infants and want to make sure that they are getting the best possible products for their children. They may be hesitant to make a purchase without doing proper research and comparing prices, and possibly add the products to the cart not with the explicit intent to purchase them, but rather to “save for later.” 

This behavior is also known as window shopping in ecommerce. Ecommerce window shoppers might explore different categories, read product descriptions, check customer reviews, compare prices, add items to their wish list or shopping cart, and maybe even go as far as the checkout page, all without finalizing the purchase. They might be doing it out of curiosity, for entertainment, to kill time, to gather ideas for future purchases, or to compare options before making a decision.

Size guides and virtual fitting solutions help minimize cart abandonment

Size guides and virtual fitting solutions have emerged as pivotal tools in the ecommerce landscape, addressing a primary concern for online shoppers: the uncertainty of fit. When consumers are unsure about how a garment or product might fit them, they often hesitate to finalize a purchase, leading to increased cart abandonment rates. By providing detailed size guides and leveraging advanced virtual fitting technologies, retailers can offer a more personalized and accurate shopping experience. These tools not only instill confidence in the buyer's choice but also significantly reduce the likelihood of returns, thereby minimizing cart abandonment and fostering a more seamless online shopping journey.

Nudie Jeans’ virtusize solution supports shoppers in finding the right jeans fit for their needs

Checklist for improving cart abandonment rates in fashion ecommerce

By tracking conversion and cart abandonment rates, retailers can identify areas where they can improve their customer experience and increase sales. By understanding why clients abandon their carts, retailers can improve the shopping experience for parents and increase sales of baby and children's products. Some of the things that retailers can do include:

  • Avoid unexpected costs by being transparent about all charges, including shipping, taxes, or customs duties. This helps prevent customers from abandoning their carts due to unexpected price increases.

  • Use free shipping and returns to increase the perceived value of a purchase. Consider absorbing these costs or including them in your pricing structure to avoid surprising customers at checkout.

  • Ensure your checkout process is straightforward and efficient. Remove unnecessary steps and consider allowing purchases without the need for creating an account to streamline the experience.

  • Include comprehensive sizing and fit information to help customers make confident purchase decisions and reduce returns. Use a variety of measurements and consider using fit models of different sizes for reference (i.e., add information such as “the model in the image is 185cm tall”).

  • Cater to a global audience by accepting a variety of payment methods popular in different regions.

  • Provide accurate and clear delivery times. Offer express shipping options when possible.

  • Ensure your checkout process works smoothly across devices, loads quickly, and is free of bugs or crashes.

  • Make your return policy easily accessible and understandable. A generous return policy can build trust and increase conversions.

  • Provide transparent currency conversion for global customers. Display prices in the customer's local currency to make their shopping experience more seamless.

  • Provide readily accessible and responsive customer support throughout the shopping and checkout process. Consider live chat or chatbot support for immediate assistance.

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Chapter 7: Localization

Key findings

  • Offering more languages can decrease cart abandonment rates. 

  • The cart abandonment rate also doesn't seem to improve with more available payment options. 

  • The stores in our study that localized for more than three languages had a significantly higher conversion rate than the companies that localized for fewer languages.

  • Stores that use several local or internationally recognized payment service providers tend to have higher conversion rates and lower cart abandonment.

Several factors can affect cart abandonment rates, including the checkout process, shipping costs, payment methods, and the overall customer experience. Many of these areas are strictly connected with localization – original fashion brands wanting to scale internationally, specific UX decisions may influence shoppers’ tendency to abandon carts. 

Localization is the process of adapting a product or service to a specific market or audience. In the context of ecommerce, localization can include translating the website or app into the local language, using local currency, and offering local payment methods.

Localization is very important for original fashion brands that want to scale internationally, leveraging the fact that fashion shoppers seek unique, affordable products that may not be available in their local markets. Shoppers expect web stores to display content in their native language, offer the ability to pay in local currencies, and use their preferred payment methods.

Let’s now take a closer look at how localization impacts conversion rates and cart abandonment.

Language localization

Localization can have a significant impact on conversion rate. According to a study by Toppan Digital, localization can increase conversion by an average of 70%. Another study, by Slator, found that localization boosted conversion rates at the food startup Huel by 200%.

Our research data, presented in the chart below, supports these findings. The stores that localized for more than three languages had a significantly higher conversion rate than the companies that localized for fewer languages. The companies that localized for more than five languages had the highest conversion rate of all.

Theory suggests that the conversion rate of an ecommerce store is strictly connected with cart abandonment, and offering more languages should decrease cart abandonment. However, our data did not show a clear pattern to support this claim.

We didn’t see any direct correlation between the number of localized languages and cart abandonment rates in our data. In other words, localization can lead to higher conversion rates but does not translate directly into lower car abandonment rates. 

Maya Delorez's localized navigation menu 

In conclusion, localization makes it easier for customers to shop, as they do not have to worry about translating the website or app, or about converting their currency. But most importantly, it’s about building trust.

Localization builds trust

Localization in fashion ecommerce is a multifaceted process that goes far beyond merely translating website content into different languages. It involves a deep dive into the preferences, cultural norms, and expectations of each target market, then tailoring the brand's offerings accordingly. This nuanced strategy can make a world of difference in the way a brand is received in different regions, and can be the deciding factor in whether a visitor converts into a customer.

The simple act of presenting your online storefront in the local language and using the local currency can instill a sense of familiarity and credibility in your brand, which in turn, significantly bolsters customer trust.

Customers are inclined to purchase from brands that they believe are reliable and trustworthy. Familiar language and currency can make a huge difference in creating that trust. 

Craft Sportswear localizes prices for the shopper’s country

When customers can easily understand product descriptions, payment instructions, and return policies in their native language, they feel more comfortable and secure in making a purchase.

Moreover, localization also means tailoring your product offering to the local climate and seasonality. For instance, during Australia's winter, which is summer in the northern hemisphere, brands might want to offer swimwear or lightweight clothing to their Australian customers.

Localization in the works: The Holzweiler home page displays collections based on location and seasonality

Localized sizing standards

Key to the localization process is providing product information that resonates with local customers. This includes adopting local sizing standards, which can reduce customer hesitation and minimize returns. 

A size guide providing all the measurement information in both metric and imperial formats.

Localized pricing

Currency is another factor that can impact customer experience significantly. Showing prices in local currencies makes the shopping experience more intuitive and eliminates the friction of having to calculate exchange rates, a common cause of cart abandonment.

Localized shipping methods

A smooth shopping experience also depends on clear, locally relevant delivery and shipping information. Providing shipping methods popular in the local market and communicating delivery times in a clear and straightforward manner ensures that customers are well-informed and confident in their purchase decision.

Localized customer service

When customers can interact with the brand in their native language, it creates a sense of familiarity and trust, which is especially crucial in resolving queries and concerns. This perceived proximity can significantly influence their decision to buy. For instance, in the event of an issue or question, customers are reassured that they can easily communicate with customer service in their local language. Likewise, should they need to make a return or exchange, customers feel more confident that the process will be handled smoothly, respecting local laws and customs.

Localized models

The power of localization is also evident in the visual presentation of products. Using models that reflect the diversity of your customer base – in terms of sizes, ages, and ethnicities can significantly enhance relatability. In the context of global sales, localizing model ethnicities promotes inclusivity and allows customers to better visualize how they might look in a particular garment.

Localized, familiar payment methods

Shoppers expect personalized or location-based payment methods. Some countries prefer specific payment options. Depending on your location, you need to make sure that they have specific checkout options for that location. For example, Affirm and Klarna may not be available to process payment in specific countries. 

On the Bjorn Borg website, German shoppers can pay using Sofort – on top of credit cards, Klarna and PayPal.

The easier you make it for a customer to pay, the more likely they are to make a purchase. If a customer has to sign up for a new payment method to make a purchase, they might have second thoughts and ultimately abandon their cart. Also, while offering numerous payment options can increase conversion rates, ensuring each payment method is secure is paramount to protect your customers and your business.

Localized PSPs vs cart abandonment and conversion rate

One of the main reasons for cart abandonment is a lack of preferred payment methods or suspicious-seeming checkouts. In general, the payment method offered in the store should be:

  • Fast

  • User-friendly

  • Secure

  • Universally accepted 

Customers look forward to seeing their chosen payment methods during checkout. If the option is not available, the chances of the shopper abandoning the carts go up. Choosing the right PSP with wide coverage can solve challenges connected with compliance with payment regulations across different countries, and help you lower the risk of unexpected downtimes.

There is an interesting conclusion that offering exactly four different PSPs is the sweet spot, but more than that seems overwhelming. This may be connected to "choice overload" or "overchoice" – leading to decision paralysis and potentially contributing to cart abandonment.

Offering several payment methods is important – some customers may prefer credit cards, while others want to use digital wallets, bank transfers, or cash-on-delivery. By offering multiple payment options, you cater to a wider range of customer preferences, increasing the likelihood they'll complete their purchase.

Payment preferences can vary widely by country and, depending on the market, certain payment methods can be seen as more secure or trustworthy. For instance, some customers might trust PayPal or other well-known payment gateways more than they trust entering their credit card details directly into a website.

Offering local payment methods makes it easier for customers to shop. Customers do not have to worry about converting their currency or paying foreign transaction fees. Also, offering local payment methods builds trust with customers. Customers feel more comfortable shopping then the retailer offers a PSP who they know and trust.

Familiar PSPs generate shopper trust

Our study has also found that the presence or absence of specific PSPs may impact checkout performance and abandonment rates.

Our data shows that providing multiple local payment methods (PSP) impacts both conversion and cart abandonment rates. The addition of each next PSP improves conversion rates, peaking at four PSPs with a 3.98% conversion rate. At the same time, quite surprisingly, while cart abandonment rates increase insignificantly with more PSPs, there is a significant decrease with five or more PSPs.

Our study did not reveal a clear pattern related to the number of payment options available. For instance, both high and low abandonment rates are seen across stores with different numbers of available payment options. This suggests that other factors might be at play, such as ecommerce vertical, price, shipping cost, and website usability.

The cart abandonment rate also doesn't show a clear improvement with increasing payment options. This indicates that simply increasing the number of payment options doesn't necessarily guarantee better performance.

Our study also revealed that, in selected cases, stores with multiple payment options (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7) tend to have a slightly higher average conversion rate than those with just one payment option. This suggests that offering multiple payment options could lead to a higher conversion rate, but is not the most important factor. 

The conversion rate doesn't always improve with an increase in the number of payment options. Some stores in our study that had 5, 6, 7, and 8 payment options reported low conversion rates. 

How many PSPs is enough?

Stores in our study have similar conversion rates regardless of the payment service provider used (Adyen: 2.2%, Klarna: 2.2%, PayPal: 2.1%). The differences in checkout performance are negligible, which suggests that the choice of PSP alone might not significantly impact the conversion rate. Interestingly, when Klarna is excluded, the conversion rate for Adyen drops to 1.0%.

However, when Adyen is excluded, the conversion rate for Klarna slightly increases to 2.25%.

This suggests that the presence of Klarna could positively affect conversion rate when offered alongside other PSPs.

Similarly, the cart abandonment rate is higher for both Adyen and Klarna when they are offered as the only options as compared to when they are both available. 

Also, PayPal has a slightly lower conversion rate (2.1%) compared to when PayPal is not offered (2.3%). This slight difference suggests that the presence or absence of PayPal might not dramatically affect the conversion rate. However, the cart abandonment rate is the same whether PayPal is offered or not (34%).

These conclusions, although based on our real-life data, might not be definitive due to a variety of potential influencing factors not addressed in our study. Also, it's important to keep in mind that these figures represent averages and may not reflect individual store performance.

Delivery methods

Major global carriers cater to numerous businesses and often encounter regulatory obstacles, causing delays or even halting product deliveries. Offering local delivery alternatives can help avoid these issues.

Localized deliveries typically bypass certain legal mandates, proving to be quicker, more cost-effective, and more popular due to the rising trend of click-and-collect options (BOPIS, BOSS). Moreover, consumers tend to prefer familiar delivery services.

Companies like Ingrid help ecommerce stores implement localized shipping methods enhancing the delivery experience at scale. The company provides plugin solutions and custom integrations to a vast array of modern ecommerce platforms. Ingrid's offerings ensure access to popular international and local carriers. 

The equestrian brand Maya Delorez, by integrating Ingrid with the headless ecommerce platform Centra, delivers services according to consumer locations, enhancing customer experience and boosting cross-border transactions.

Stores in our study that offer localized delivery methods appear to have a higher conversion rate (3.3%) compared to those offering a single delivery method (1.9%). This suggests that customers appreciate the flexibility and personalization that comes with localized delivery options. Having options that cater specifically to their location might make the purchasing process more convenient, thereby increasing the likelihood of conversion.

Offering alternative delivery options, such as in-store pickup or click-and-collect, can increase conversion rates by providing additional convenience and flexibility to the customer. Among other things, our report also analyzes the impact of offering localized delivery methods on conversion rates and cart abandonment.

The cart abandonment rate is the same (34%) for both types of stores included in our study –  those offering localized delivery methods and those offering a single delivery method. This might indicate that the number or type of delivery methods does not significantly impact the decision of customers to abandon their carts. There may be other factors at play influencing cart abandonment rates, such as product pricing, shipping costs, or website user experience.

Offering localized delivery methods could be a valuable strategy to improve conversion rates. However, to reduce cart abandonment, ecommerce stores might need to investigate and address other potential issues beyond just delivery methods.

Modern delivery methods such as in-store pickup and click-and-collect options can significantly influence conversion rates and cart abandonment. By providing convenience and flexibility, these services increase the likelihood of purchase completion.

In conclusion, localization in global fashion ecommerce is a nuanced and multi-faceted strategy that, when implemented effectively, can significantly improve conversion rates and customer satisfaction. As brands become more international, the ability to resonate with a global customer base while recognizing local nuances will become an increasingly important factor in ecommerce success.

Here are some tips for localizing your ecommerce website or app:

  • Translate the website or app into the local language.

  • Localize currencies for each market to make it easier for customers to shop and compare prices.

  • Offer local payment methods. This makes it easier for customers to pay for their purchases.

  • Adapt the website or app to the local culture. This includes using local images, colors, and fonts.

  • Get feedback from local customers. This is the best way to make sure that your localization efforts are effective.

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Chapter 8: Lighthouse scores on mobile

Key findings

  • Google Lighthouse is a tool that allows developers assess and improve mobile performance of websites, focusing on metrics such as First Contentful Paint (FCP), Speed Index (SI), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), Time to Interactive (TTI), Total Blocking Time (TBT), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

  • The companies with the lowest cart abandonment rate all had good mobile performance. 

  • Our study shows no clear relationship between the conversion rate of ecommerce stores and its Lighthouse score.

  • Google, recognizing the shortcomings of using the Lighthouse scoring system for ecommerce websites, is replacing the "First Input Delay" (FID) metric with "Input Delay" (INP). 

  • Centra is the only ecommerce platform that makes the “ideal” 200ms mark for the INP metric that Google is planning to implement.

With an increasing number of people visiting ecommerce stores and completing their purchases using their phones, mobile performance is a critical factor for ecommerce businesses. The proportion of ecommerce transactions made on mobile devices has been rising over the years, moving from 56% in 2018 to a projected 62% in 2027. The growth in the actual sales from mobile ecommerce has been even more pronounced, given the overall global expansion of the sector. By 2027, Statista experts anticipate mobile ecommerce sales to reach $3.4 trillion, a significant leap from the $982 billion recorded in 2018. This means that businesses that do not optimize their websites and apps for mobile users are missing out on a significant opportunity.

Independent sources confirm that mobile performance is a critical factor for ecommerce businesses. By optimizing your website or app for mobile devices, you can improve mobile performance and increase conversion rate. Here are some examples of how mobile performance can impact conversion rate:

Lighthouse scores vs conversion and cart abandonment rates in ecommerce

Lighthouse scores offer actionable insights for improving mobile performance, directly influencing user experience, search engine rankings, and ultimately, the store's bottom line. By prioritizing mobile performance, e-commerce stores can attract more mobile users, provide a better shopping experience, and increase their conversions and sales.

Google Lighthouse is a tool allowing developers to assess and improve mobile performance of websites. One of the key aspects Lighthouse audits is performance, which includes metrics like First Contentful Paint (FCP), Speed Index (SI), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), Time to Interactive (TTI), Total Blocking Time (TBT), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). 

Many of these metrics are especially important for mobile performance, where slow speeds and unresponsive interfaces can greatly impact user experience. Because Google uses mobile performance as a ranking factor in its search results, an ecommerce store with poor mobile performance may rank lower, making it less likely for potential customers to find its products in the search engine.

The Lighthouse score provides an aggregate view of the site's performance. A high score indicates that the site is well optimized and should deliver a good user experience, while a low score indicates that users might encounter problems like slow loading times or unresponsive interactions. The performance metrics are weighted differently in calculating the overall Lighthouse performance score. For instance, LCP has a higher weightage as it is also a part of Core Web Vitals, indicating its importance in user experience.

Our study revealed an interesting fact: pages with a Lighthouse score of 50-89 had an average conversion rate of 2.3%, and cart abandonment rate of 41%. However, for pages with a Lighthouse score of 1-49, the conversion rate was also 2.3%, but the cart abandonment rate was lower at 31%.

The Lighthouse score does not appear to have a clear impact on the conversion rate of an ecommerce store. Interestingly, however, the cart abandonment rate is lower for pages with a lower Lighthouse score (1-49). This seems counterintuitive, suggesting that there is no causation and the results could be influenced by other factors, such as the nature of the product or service, the user interface, the price point, and so on.

To understand the lack of a clear correlation between good Lighthouse scores and conversion rate, it’s important to remember that a store’s Core Web Vitals measure the initial page load, initial interactions, and layout shifts. While these metrics provide valuable insights into a site's performance, they don't paint the full picture of an ecommerce site’s performance. As a result, some sites may pass the Lighthouse test with flying colors and still feel subjectively slow to the user, significantly affecting the overall user experience. This might manifest in how long it takes to add products to the basket, how long it takes to log into the site, place an order, or even produce site search results. These critical user interactions directly impact conversion rates and user satisfaction.

So while it's helpful to aim for a higher Lighthouse score, it's equally important to focus on other aspects of the ecommerce experience, like the user interface, product descriptions, pricing, and overall user journey.

Google’s plans to change Core Web Vitals

Google, recognizing the gaps, is replacing the "First Input Delay" (FID) metric with "Input Delay" (INP). Unlike FID, which measures everything at the initial page load, INP measures how quickly actions are completed and the customer is notified – for instance, when a product is added to the bag. This change is aimed at delivering a more comprehensive and accurate assessment of a website's performance.

Starting in 2024, meeting the new INP standard will largely depend on the ecommerce platform used. The ideal INP value is 200ms, and any site not meeting this benchmark by March 2024 will fail to pass Core Web Vitals.

In light of these changes, Limesharp, a leading ecommerce agency specializing in designing and building digital flagship stores for brands with offices in both London and Auckland, tested some of the popular ecommerce platforms' “add to basket” speed. The average results, listed from fastest to slowest, are as follows:

These findings paint a clear picture: ecommerce platforms will have to address these performance issues urgently to ensure their customers can pass Core Web Vitals' new requirements.

Centra is the only ecommerce platform that makes the “ideal” 200ms mark, setting the platform apart in the context of the upcoming changes. If you're interested in exploring the advantages of Centra and how it might support your ecommerce endeavors, feel free to reach out.

Checklist for improving mobile performance

  • Optimize your website or app for mobile devices. This includes using a responsive design, optimizing images, and minifying CSS and JavaScript files.

  • Test your website or app on a variety of mobile devices. This will help you identify any performance issues and make sure that your website or app is working properly on all devices.

  • Get regular feedback from mobile users. Read app reviews to better understand what mobile users are looking for and how you can improve the mobile experience.

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Conclusion

There is no silver bullet to solve all the challenges of fashion ecommerce. There is complex interplay between various factors impacting conversion rates and cart abandonment. Brand loyalty provides an edge for original fashion brands today, but as the industry continues to evolve, fashion retailers must take a nuanced, data-driven approach.

While overarching strategies exist, optimizing conversions and cart abandonment requires solutions tailored to each brand's specific target audience, product mix, and business model. The complexity of fashion means solutions must be multi-faceted to boost conversions in this dynamic industry. The fashion ecommerce of the future will require agile, tailored strategies informed by data insights around audience, products, and brands will need to constantly monitor the performance of their stores and respond to market changes dynamically. Those that leverage technology and localization to provide personalized, on-brand experiences can gain a competitive advantage.


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