The fashion industry has seen tremendous growth recently, with ecommerce playing a crucial role in this development. In fact, the global online fashion market is projected to reach $898 billion and is expected to grow to a staggering $1.2 trillion by 20251. There are immense opportunities for retailers within the fashion industry to scale their businesses and reach new markets through ecommerce marketplaces, cross-border trade, and social commerce.
Fashion marketplaces are gaining traction, with 45% of online fashion sales occurring on marketplaces2, and this figure is projected to rise to 47% by 2023. Additionally, the popularity of social media and influencer marketing has paved the way for social commerce, which offers a new and lucrative avenue for fashion retailers to promote their products and reach a wider audience.
Furthermore, scalability and cross-border growth are other critical factors that retailers should consider when selling on ecommerce marketplaces. The Asia-Pacific region is the fastest-growing market for fashion ecommerce, with China being the largest market, accounting for 44% of the global fashion ecommerce market3.
By leveraging these trends and implementing effective strategies fashion brands and sellers can significantly expand their reach and sales.
One key strategy to scaling on fashion marketplaces is employing a hybrid 1P/3P model that allows you to act as both a vendor and a seller.
In the 1P model, the seller acts as a vendor, selling their products directly to the marketplace. The marketplace then sells the products to customers. With this model, the marketplace controls the products' pricing, inventory, and fulfillment. In the 3P model, the seller acts as a third-party seller and lists their products on the marketplace, selling directly to consumers while maintaining control over pricing, inventory, and fulfillment. The marketplace takes a commission on each sale made by the third-party seller.
A hybrid 1P/3P model allows sellers to take advantage of both 1P and 3P models, providing the flexibility to adjust strategies as needed and maximize sales opportunities. By embracing both 1P and 3P selling, you can move between the two with agility as needed. For example, if a marketplace has no interest in a quarter of your inventory, a hybrid 1P/3P model enables you to sell it through 3P and capture DTC sales that otherwise might not have been possible.
The agility provided by a hybrid 1P/3P model can be essential for businesses, as online marketplaces like Amazon and Bol often change their algorithms and product priorities. With this model, no time is wasted adjusting to these changes, ensuring businesses can remain flexible and efficient.
Let's look at some best practices that can help you embrace a DTC mindset and adopt a hybrid 1P/3P model to succeed.
1. Create a Seamless Shopping Experience Across Multiple Platforms
Selling on multiple channels is more effective than selling through a single channel. This is because ecommerce businesses that use 3 or more channels have a 494% higher order rate4 than those that use only a single channel. This highlights the importance of a seamless shopping experience across various platforms such as marketplaces, social media, and websites.
When you enable customers to buy from your social media channels, you make it easy for them to purchase products and leave reviews, recommendations, and comments. This, in turn, helps you to glean more data on their buying habits and improve engagement on the platform. Integrating social commerce with your broader omnichannel marketing strategy is crucial.
2. Sell Where Customers are Searching for Your Products
When customers search online, your products should be easily found to generate opportunities and repeat orders for you. Research has shown that consumers' search behavior has shifted from brand-oriented searches to brand-less searches. Over 75% of Amazon searches are now non-branded5, with customers searching for generic products instead of brands.
For example, a customer is more likely to search for "ladies running shoes" than a specific brand. Therefore, putting your brand name before the title may not be beneficial. ChannelEngine can help you optimize and automate product names and keywords, and build a different strategic approach per marketplace and product category.
3. Integrate AI/Emerging Tech into the Way You Sell
Fashion is about emotions and seduction. As a fashion retailer or brand, it's important to inspire consumers during their search on a marketplace and enthuse them about your products, even if they are looking for a competitor's product.
One of the ways to entice consumers to buy from you is by integrating AI into the way you brand your business and sell your products. For example, if you sell on specialized fashion marketplaces like Yoox, you can take advantage of their AI-powered styling guide. Other marketplaces and social commerce platforms allow users to "trial" outfits on their avatars or digital versions of themselves, giving them the feeling they own the products already.
4. Automate Sales to Scale
Selling via multiple marketplaces can be complex, but it doesn't have to be. Innovative product feed management tools like ours can automate processes such as managing stocks, content optimization with advanced mapping, and order processing through a central dashboard. Selling more products across multiple marketplaces increases the importance of efficient logistics, as providing timely and reliable deliveries will lead to satisfied and returning customers.
5. Manage (and Then Surpass) Expectations
Clear communication of product information across marketplaces — stock management, and delivery and returns — is vital in exceeding customer expectations. Your content should include top-quality photographs, videos, and clear product information with the most important facts and search terms in the right place. This ensures the product meets expectations and reduces the risk of returns.
Fashion marketplaces often have specific requirements for product content, such as image quality and specific sizes that meet the platforms' guidelines. It's essential to be well-prepared to ensure this process runs smoothly. For example, top-quality photographs of products enable customers to zoom in and view product details. On some fashion marketplaces, such as Zalando, the order of images is essential.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll tackle challenges (and our solutions) of selling successfully on fashion marketplaces, and remind you about a very valuable channel to add to your omnichannel mix!
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1 $1.2 trillion by 2025, Statista
2 45% of online fashion sales occurring on marketplaces, Market Insights Reports
3 44% of the global fashion ecommerce market, Statista
4 494% higher order rate, Omnisend blog
5 Over 75% of Amazon searches are now non-branded, NGPF