Forget Everything You Know About Marketing Apparel Online

Updated on May 21, 2018

Whatever you think you know about marketing apparel and accessories online, now’s the time to throw it out. The growth of omnichannel shopping — especially by millennials and Gen X — is just one of the many signs that consumer behavior regarding clothing ecommerce has radically evolved. Luckily this shift has also produced new and evermore precise ways of gathering and making sense of that data.

Our latest apparel trend report — which fuses internal behavioral data with market research from external sources like Marketwatch, IBM, and the National Retail Federation — shows that, with the right information, there’s never been a more exciting, innovative moment for retailers. Some of the most fascinating findings include:

  • Unlike in other categories, when it comes to apparel, today’s online shoppers tend to spend more on mobile ($33.91), on average, than they do on desktop ($30.08). (During the weekends of December 2016, for example, nearly a third of all online purchases were made on smartphones, signaling a growing comfort and accessibility.)
  • Real-world shopping is still just as important as digital. In fact, 67% of Generation Z prefers to purchase in-store. 69% of US Click and Collect shoppers — who comprised a third of all US online shoppers in 2015 — made impulse purchases while picking up merchandise in store, and more and more retailers are opting for showrooming and click-and-ship as a way to better manage inventory, cut back on employee shrinkage, and increase customer loyalty.
  • A 2016 analysis of 180 campaigns within the Criteo retail network showed that exposure to paid search resulted in a 48% average increase in share of category consideration and a 43% average increase in share of category sales. But within the Apparel & Accessories category alone, those average boosts were even higher, at 51% and 47% respectively.

We also uncovered a variety of work-around strategies recently implemented by the apparel industry to address some of its biggest ecommerce challenges, such as:

  • To reduce still-high rates of returns (around 28%), online retailers should offer extra detailed, 360° views of clothing, explore software solutions like ReadyReturns that automate and simplify retailers’ return process, and offer complimentary return shipping to appeal to the 68% of online shoppers that want the option.
  • To counter growing expectations of deep discounts, brands can now initially produce more limited quantities, then act on available sales information, managing volumes to avoid too many products ending up on the sales rack.

For more invaluable insight — including notable 2016 holiday takeaways, concrete ways to measure the brand halo, and innovative ways retailers are engaging with the latest tech advances to build brand loyalty — read the full report here.

To get your omnichannel apparel offerings in gear, contact your Criteo account strategist or email us at

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