How Apparel Brands Can Reduce Cart Abandonment This Season

As shopper acquisition costs and competition continue to rise into the stratosphere, curating an optimized on-site experience will be of critical importance for apparel brands looking to reduce cart abandonment during the Q4 peak season.

Last week, we discussed how economic headwinds will shape shopper purchasing habits in Q4 as the start of WAIR's peak season survival guide. In this segment, we will move further into the shopper's journey by discussing how optimizing the on-site experience can help reduce cart abandonment from new and returning site visitors.

As most of you know, shopper acquisition costs are rising faster than oil prices amid soaring inflation and dwindling demand. As shoppers shift their spending priorities away from vacations and toward essential goods (like gas and groceries), apparel brands with a robust online presence must ensure any and all site visitors are met with an optimized experience, especially during the decision stage of their journey. 

After all, eCommerce activity may be slow compared to last year, but it is far from dead, as shown by a recent report from Astound Commerce detailing how 40% of shoppers plan to spend the same amount on gifts this year as they did in 2021. Needless to say, there are still ample opportunities for your brand to make Q4 a memorable quarter provided you establish a sound game plan well in advance. 

Without further ado, let's get right into the article.

Why Do Apparel Shoppers Bounce or Abandon Their Carts?

A woman shopper abandoning her cart

One critical fact that apparel brands often fail to consider is that holiday shoppers are almost exclusively looking to buy products for others. Sure, you might run marketing ads targeted toward gift buyers all the time, but really ask yourself here, what is your brand explicitly doing to help prospective gift buyers complete their journey and purchase the products with the highest likelihood of being kept and loved? 

For example, let's draw up a quick hypothetical. Suppose you're looking to surprise your grandmother with that new cardigan she's been eyeing for weeks but have no idea what size she wears. Obviously, you can't ask her what her body measurements are without ruining the surprise, and thus, you're left to a miserable guessing game, all while hoping the brand in question offers free returns. That is if you don't abandon the purchase altogether and opt to give her cash or a gift card, which, while extremely useful, isn't quite as special, is it?

This situation is all too common in the eCommerce apparel industry, and according to Bolt, 35% of shoppers abandon their carts due to being unsure about sizing and fit during their journey. Imagine what offsetting that 35% cart abandonment rate could mean for your business in Q4 alone.

Of course, while size confusion is a leading cause of cart abandonment, it isn't the only reason site visitors abandon their carts when shopping for apparel. Issues such as accurate product representation, hidden costs, and your brand's return policy also significantly affect cart abandonment rates.

How to Optimize Your On-Site Experience to Reduce Cart Abandonment

A male shopper looking to reduce cart abandonment by referencing reviews, referrals, and delivery

When it comes to curating an optimal on-site experience for your shoppers, the importance of product display pages cannot be overstated. Product display pages (or PDPs) are the central hub where your shoppers obtain every relevant piece of information on your product, and in many cases, they can be both the first and last interaction the shopper has with your brand.

Naturally, you will want to stock your PDPs with a plethora of information on the product to ease shopper apprehension and drive conversions. That said, refining the on-site experience can be a challenging and time-consuming endeavor, especially during the weeks leading into the peak shopping season. Fortunately, we've compiled a few simple steps your brand can take to optimize your on-site experience and reduce cart abandonment in Q4.  

Leverage online reviews - One of the first and most impactful information sources your shoppers will seek out when considering a purchase is reviews. According to a recent survey by Invesp, shoppers are 31% more likely to purchase from a business with great reviews, and over 90% of all shoppers refer to them prior to purchase. As such, leveraging reviews is a crucial step your brand must take to reduce shopper apprehension and cart abandonment, and thankfully, your dev team won't have to work over the weekend to make this happen. There are several apps on both Shopify and WordPress that can help your brand start collecting reviews from shoppers in mere hours.  

Streamline the sizing journey - Even if you forgot about our earlier hypothetical on size selection, it's a well-known fact that the eCommerce apparel industry has a sizing problem. Shoppers are often provided little to no clarity on how a garment will look and fit their body and are left to rely on outdated and inconsistent size charts or model dimensions from people who look nothing like them during their journey. When we look at this all-to-common scenario, it is no surprise that 35% of all online carts are abandoned due to size confusion. Brands looking to break this conversion barrier have turned to modern sizing solutions like WAIR, which leverage AI-driven, 3D body data to provide shoppers with personalized and accurate size recommendations at scale.

                                                                                                       Learn more about modern sizing solutions      

Ensure accurate product representation - Without the ability to see and touch the product in question, all your shoppers have to rely on to determine a product's look, feel, and quality is your PDP. This makes the inclusion of high-quality photos, material composition, and product size specifications an absolute must. Even if your brand touts a vast assortment of products, accurately representing each one is a best practice to alleviate shopper doubt, reduce cart abandonment, and lower the possibility of returns.  

Don't skip on buy now, pay later - Just because your shoppers have reached the checkout screen doesn't mean their journey is complete. In fact, the checkout screen is where a surprisingly high number of shopper journeys end; this is due to unforeseen costs associated with shipping, taxes, and other fees. Even before the days of historically high inflation, sticker shock at the checkout screen has been a driving force behind eCommerce cart abandonment, accounting for nearly 50% of all abandoned carts. While most brands can do little to nothing to mitigate these fees, integrating buy now, pay later options (such as Afterpay, Klarna, or Affirm) can help soften the fiscal blow during one of the most critical stages of the shopper's journey. 

Conclusion

Driving traffic to one's eCommerce site is only half the equation, and if prospective shoppers are met with an unoptimized site experience, you're most likely leaving some pretty hefty marketing spend on the table. Optimizing your brand's PDPs and overall site experience in these critical weeks prior to the peak shopping season will prove crucial in converting virtual window shoppers into paying customers.

Stay tuned for the third and final installment of WAIR's peak season survival guide releasing next week!   


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