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If there was one permanent shift that the pandemic has solidified, it would be the need for e-commerce. As social distancing, border closure and lockdowns became commonplace in Australia, e-commerce became the primary method of shopping. According to a recent e-commerce industry report by Australia Post, the increased online engagement led to phenomenal e-commerce growth as Australians spent a whopping AU$50.46 billion in 2020. With 80% of online shoppers either maintaining or increasing their online shopping frequency, retailers in specialty categories inevitably have to adjust to the changing demands and needs of consumers. The fashion and apparel category is one such sector.
However, simply riding the incredible growth sales to bear the full brunt of the pandemic will not suffice in the long term. Understanding the trends in fashion e-commerce is thus imperative when attempting to explore expansion opportunities, support sales growth and make a strong e-commerce presence. So what are the seismic shifts in apparel e-commerce that businesses must consider to boost performances and bottom lines?
According to a research done by clothing company Levi’s, Australians own between 50 to 150 pieces of clothing. In addition, 45.3% stated that they eventually get bored of their clothes or stop wearing them because they are out of season. Changing fashion season cycles constantly keep consumers on their toes, leaving them hungry to purchase the latest designs. The rapid growth of fast fashion has also allowed consumers to update their wardrobes quickly and affordably.
These rapid replenishment cycles to deliver what is new and on-trend are the main driving factors in the growth of the seasonal and fast fashion logistics market. However, there is no denying that the changing consumer and fulfillment expectations are putting pressure on the apparel business. To get on top of the demands of seasonal peaks and changing fashion trends that significantly influence consumer behaviour, businesses must get creative with their solutions.
While the revenue generated by the apparel market soars steadily, so do the return rates. As e-commerce is continuously stimulated by these seasonal sales, promotions, and other discount events, customers become increasingly tempted to place large orders. According to the Australian Circular Textile Association, about a third of all online sales are returned in Australia. This means that a vast amount of business operations is spent on returns, making the maximisation of reverse logistics efficiency in the fashion industry essential.
However, managing these returns can be a costly and time-consuming issue. Add to that the fact that many fashion retailers have order fulfilment rather than reverse logistics as their primary focus, revenue, customer loyalty, and brand status are at risk.
Unlike brick-and-mortar customers who get to feel and try out the apparel, the same tangible experience is not offered to online shoppers. Therefore, offering customers the option of a simple return process gives them a sense of security. Such fair return policies will appeal to customers and boost brand loyalty.
As one of the trusted courier service providers in Australia, DHL Express understands the importance of logistics planning, especially for returns management. This is why we are able to aid with shipment returns by allowing businesses to create return labels for their consumers. While the main air waybill handles door-to-door delivery, the return air waybill can be printed and placed within the package. This way, customers can simply contact our customer service specialists to arrange for a collection when they have decided to return a shipment.
According to an article by Clean Up Australia, for every 10 minutes, Australians dump at least 15 tonnes of clothing and fabric waste. With consumers all over the world learning that the fashion industry is one of the highest polluting contributors, more are now increasingly aware of how and where they buy. As Australians begin to question how they can reduce their clothing and textile footprint, fashion brands have to take the first step by offering sustainable fashion. While the journey towards becoming an ethical and sustainable fashion company does not happen overnight, catering to the appeal for environmental sustainability can be done in other ways. One solution is to work with a fashion retail logistics provider that has taken the initiative to reduce their environmental impact.
To survive in the fashion and retail sector, adapting to the ever-changing landscape is crucial. By understanding current fashion e-commerce trends such as the demand for sustainable fashion, businesses can seek potential solutions to save both costs, emissions, and brand reputation. For more business insights and access to innovative yet sustainable services, open an account with us.