All About Big Changes in E-commerce [The Syte Report]

The year 2020 in e-commerce went by surprisingly fast. We already know a lot about this period, but Syte has prepared a great report in which they describe three important sectors and tell how they have changed. So if you’re interested in what the Fashion, Jewelry, and Home Decor industries look like, have a read!

Key Findings

#1 Retention is King

In 2020, a shock to loyalty was reported. Shoppers were seeking out new brands as online traffic spiked, and supply chains struggled to keep up. The brands that will be set up for success will be those that manage to retain the new customers they acquired as a result of changing shopping habits.

#2 Jewelry Ends 2020 on a High Note

Unlike other sectors, jewelry went up sharply. December revenues were up 246.7% from September. While fashion and home décor felt a drop in interest after Black Friday, the jewelry didn’t see such a dip.

#3 Smart Product Discovery Experiences Drive Long-Term Spending

Compared with other high-intent shoppers, shoppers who used on-site tech, such as image search and recommendation engines, to discover products had a 12% higher retention rate.

The 2020 Year in Review

The early part of 2020 was marked by disbelief, panic, and a rise in e-commerce traffic. Over a billion visits were made in June, surpassing peak holiday traffic in 2019.

The graphic below shows Coronavirus’s impact on retail e-commerce website traffic worldwide as of June 2020, by average monthly visits (in billions).

Source: The year that changed e-commerce forever report

As time passed, cities were put into second and third lockdowns, and e-commerce continued to grow. What’s more, in the week leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, predictions for online sales were very optimistic. In the US, consumers spent $9 billion online during Black Friday alone. Isn’t that a huge number?

Fashion Sector in Numbers

Speaking of the numbers, what did the Fashion sector look like in 2020?

As predicted, fashion brands experienced a slower start to the year in the latter months of 2020. In December, the numbers dropped once again by 38.7% and 10.8%, respectively, following a 68.7% increase in revenue and a 40.9% spike in conversion in November.

Below is a graph showing the traditional holiday peak and valley as we enter the new year.

Source: The year that changed e-commerce forever report

With 4.7 items on average per order, fashion shoppers purchased the most items during the holidays – and with fewer social activities, shuttered offices, and an increase in demand for masks and athleisure wear, they may not return for quite some time. 

Source: The year that changed e-commerce forever report

So, what’s the best advice? Fashion brands and retailers need to find new strategies to encourage repeat business.

Jewelry Sector in Numbers

Contrary to the fashion and home decor verticals, jewelry saw traffic and revenue grow by 132.2% and 246.7%, respectively, in December. The conversion rate tapered off after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but it ended the year 59.2% higher than it had been in September.

Over BFCM, jewelry had the highest CVR (118.34%) across verticals despite the slight drop in conversions.

Source: The year that changed e-commerce forever report

Trends may be on the rise, but jewelry will likely follow a similar arc to fashion just a few weeks later.

Source: The year that changed e-commerce forever report

So, what’s the best advice? When traffic drops, jewelry brands should focus on bringing in repeat business.

Home Decor Sector in Numbers

During November and December, traffic and revenue for home decor retailers grew by 31.2% and 21.9%, respectively. It is important to note that conversion drops slightly by 5.3% in November and recovers in December, which is the only notable exception to the trend.

Source: The year that changed e-commerce forever report

The home decor brands faced the unique challenge of generating new interest and urgency among shoppers since many consumers re-outfitted their homes early in the pandemic. E-commerce traffic to furniture stores worldwide rose dramatically from 1.56 billion visits in January to 1.7 billion in March.

Source: The year that changed e-commerce forever report

So, what’s the best advice? You can increase your chances of earning sales by offering complementary items to past buyers, such as throw pillows that match a new couch, and demonstrate that you understand their needs and decor preferences.

The Race for Retention

Retaining customers can be accomplished through loyalty programs, targeted sales, discounts, retargeting campaigns, and more. What’s more, even when other, cheaper options are available from different brands, 39.4% of loyal customers are willing to pay more for a product. 

In comparison to their AOV in the first six months, apparel shoppers spend 67% more per order after 2.5 years of buying a brand.

However, none of these measures will have the desired effect if the customer experience is not top-notch.

Over to You

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on e-commerce adoption. With more changes to come, brands that foster repeat purchases will win as consumers change their habits.

However, as competitors improve their online offerings, brands and retailers will need to redouble their efforts to retain customers – both to attract new customers and to avoid losing long-term fans. Keep that in mind if you want to stay in the game.