When it comes to personalization, fashion brands are definitely leading the pack. Which makes total sense when you think about it; fashion is an incredibly personal choice, and leading ecommerce fashion brands on Shopify understand how important it is to tailor the shopper journey to each individual customer. Even here at LimeSpot, over 50% of our total client base comes from the fashion, apparel, and accessories industry.
Knowing that fashion and personalization are so closely linked, we wanted to take a closer look at who's doing what with personalization, and where there might be room for improvement.
With that in mind, welcome to our new series of LimeSpot Personalization Audits. In every audit, we'll take a look at a leading brand on the Shopify platform. Whether you see them as a competitor or inspiration, you'll get an up close and personal look at what some of the biggest Shopify brands are doing to make their shopping experiences more personalized.
We run extensive tests and reviews of the brands we feature in these audits, up until the checkout page. Post-purchase personalization is an important part of the customer journey, but for now we wanted to focus on what steps a brand is taking to drive that initial conversion.
For every brand we look at, we consider the following criteria:
Relevance - How accurate or relevant are the product recommendations or other personalization features?
Placement - Are there untapped areas to insert personalization that aren't currently being taken advantage of?
Promotions - Are there incentives to increase basket sizes or AOV?
Real-Time Adaptation - Does the site adapt during a single session to a customer's browsing behavior?
New vs. Returning Shopper Experience - Does the site adapt to where a customer is at in their buying journey?
Shopper identification - Does the site recognize where a customer is from and provide any custom content (beyond a change in currency)?
Fashion Nova personalization strategy audit
The first brand we're looking at is Fashion Nova. This massive fast fashion brand sells thousands of products at an affordable price point. When you've got that many products, it only makes sense that personalization comes into play to give customers a less overwhelming experience. Fashion Nova is also ranked #2 on Shopify's platform overall, with an estimated $267M in annual sales.
What Fashion Nova got right
- Similar styles box: When you've got thousands of products, showing products with similar characteristics is clutch for casual browsers. Shoppers can easily tell from the thumbnail images that the additional products they can view are in the same vein as the featured item. Not only that, the visual search actually populates in a modal window, meaning the shopper doesn't need to leave the PDP they're on if nothing else catches their eye.
- Refreshed collection: After browsing a number of pink dresses, the dress collection page refreshed to prioritize styles that were similar to the ones being looked at, suggesting some level of collection curation. However, the collection page only seemed to adapt once; it didn't refresh again once the browsing activity changed to other types of products.
Areas for Fashion Nova to enhance
- PDP recommendation boxes: These boxes are located quite far down the page right now. The 'Top Picks' box had relevant styles to this 'pink dress' theme, but the first item was the exact one being viewed - not inviting you to click further. When you click on the 'Top Picks' items, it doesn't refresh either. The 'More Cute Stuff' box seemed pretty random at first but became more relevant the more you click on 'Top Picks'.
- Cart: When you add a product to your cart on Fashion Nova, a cart just briefly appears on the page in a temporary flyout window. Clicking on the shopping bag icon takes you to a cart that gives you a tabbed interface for browsing product recommendations. The items labeled 'Add-ons' in this case feel like misfires as they're too similar to the item in the cart, which could send the shopper on a spiral away from checking out.
There are a couple of positives though. The single-click add to cart is a useful feature, as is the 'load more' in case the initial batch of recommendations don't quite cut it. The 'Recommended' tab seems to be mostly recently viewed items if a shopper has them; if they don't, the results on an incognito browse seemed very random and not curated.
Missed personalization opportunities for Fashion Nova
- Home page: New to Fashion Nova? Returning shopper? Either way, the brand's home page seems focused on driving you to campaign-specific callouts, as opposed to any kind of personalization. There is a bit of personalization right at the bottom of the page with 'Customer Favorites' and 'Trending in <City>' callouts, but the likelihood of most customers getting there and clicking through seems slim after a barrage of campaign-driven messages and imagery. The home page also doesn't update after browsing, other than the 'Trending in <City>' box changes to a 'Recently Viewed' box.
- Collection pages: Not having any personalization on the collection pages seems like a missed opportunity. At this point, Fashion Nova knows the category you're interested in and could point the way by highlighting trending items or bestsellers. They do employ some custom sort order logic (typically by color / similar qualities between items) but it's not hyper tailored to the shopper.
- Bundles: All PDPs feature a 'Goes Well With' bundle box, but the items aren't specifically curated to the look pictured. Given Fashion Nova sells accessories likes shoes and jewelry, it's surprising they haven't better linked items together to drive higher AOV. On a dress page for example, the bundle actually points to a couple of cosmetic products, which don't exactly inspire the desire to 'complete the look'.
- Checkout: Fashion Nova doesn't have any opportunities to add onto your order once you get past the cart page. They could benefit from a consistently higher AOV by including true 'add-ons' at the checkout stage, similar to the way shoppers at brick & mortar stores are often tempted by bins or display units of accessories, sample sizes, or cosmetics.
The primary objective for a fast fashion brand like Fashion Nova is to help shoppers get the exact right product from the dozens of similar styles the brand has on offer at any given time. In that sense, they're largely successful by offering up multiple ways to browse alternatives at multiple points in the shopper's journey.
A secondary objective that seems like a missed opportunity for Fashion Nova is to bring together their entire product catalog to curate different aesthetics, or a more granular level, different looks. Styling head to toe looks and offering up the accessories, shoes, or separates that go with a styled outfit would be a quick route to bigger basket sizes for Fashion Nova.
If Fashion Nova really wanted to step up their personalization game, they could start segmenting customers based on their perceived interests and tailor the site's content, navigation, collection sort orders, home page promotions, and other areas to more specifically speak to a shopper's interests and personal style.