Welcome back to our LimeSpot Personalization Audit series. If you're new to our audits, in every edition we're taking take a look at a leading brand on Shopify. Whether you see them as a competitor or inspiration, you'll get an in-depth look at what some of the biggest Shopify brands are doing to make their shopping experiences more personalized (and where they might be leaving money on the table).
ModCloth personalization strategy audit
Long considered a darling in the Direct to Consumer (DTC) world, ModCloth was one of the original pioneers of DTC fashion, existing pretty much entirely online since their inception, apart from some pop-up shops.
With a commitment to inclusive fashion and retro-inspired design, ModCloth moved to Shopify in 2021 and continues to generate over $100M per year.
A few notes on ModCloth's product catalog. First, the brand is known for its quirky motifs and love of vibrant prints and colors. Secondly, the brand has specific collections dedicated to different decades, suggesting their customer base tends to gravitate to a particular era - whether it's the groovy vibes of the 70s or the polished perfection of the 50s.
These two things suggest that showing 'like' items is a key part of ModCloth's strategy. Given the brand caters to slightly different vibes and styles, one customer might only shop at ModCloth for their pinup-inspired pencil skirts and cats eye glasses, while another might be there for the wild prints for prancing foxes or out of this world galactic patterns.
We run extensive tests and reviews of every brand we audit, up until the checkout page. While we recognize post-purchase personalization is an important part of the customer journey, our primary focus is on what steps a brand like ModCloth is taking to drive sales for new customers.
For every brand we look at, including ModCloth, 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 Average Order Value (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)?
What ModCloth got right
- Product detail page (PDP) recommendation box placement: The recommendations are placed relatively high up on the PDPs with prominent attention drawn to the items featured within. Once a customer starts browsing the site, these boxes are also updated to include a second row of 'Recently viewed' items, which also appear on the home page - but with a different name ('Most popular right now').
- Geographic personalization: Shoppers in specific regions are served unique promotions in the main hello bar, tailored to shipping promotions or other incentives to drive more global sales.
Areas for ModCloth to enhance
- 'Other Customers Were Interested In' box: The 'Other Customers Were Interested In' box performed better the more clicks were recorded. An incognito session clicking on a bright rainbow-print dress brought up the examples above. But as shown on the other product detail page image above this one, clicking on a number of rainbow products makes the exact same recommendation block more tailored to a specific focus on highly similar items.
- Top-rated products: Right before you dive into reviews, ModCloth offers links to their top-rated products. While it's a good opportunity to drive people to other items on the site, after the highly curated experience of the 'Other Customers Were Interested In' section, the collection feels random - especially in this particular use case where the customer is browsing bright, colorful items, and is presented with almost all monochrome or black items. Calling out the gift card also feels like a misstep as it's not inspiring a next click, other than the slim use case of needing to buy a gift instead of purchasing an item outright.
Missed personalization opportunities for ModCloth
- Bundles: Despite selling many items that are cut from the same print and could be worn as 'coords' (coordinating sets), ModCloth doesn't actually promote bundles at all. Instead, they rely solely on their recommendation boxes to pull up like items. As a brand focused on styling, with a full range of accessories and shoes, ModCloth is missing an opportunity to boost AOV by suggesting ways to 'Complete the Look'.
- Collections: ModCloth's collections do not refresh once a shopper has started browsing. Retooling the collection sort order to prioritize a shopper's preferences could shorten the time to value for customers. The collection pages also don't highlight any bestsellers or trending products that could further guide a customer's shopping experience.
- Home page order: Much like another brand we did an audit on, Fashion Nova, ModCloth's home page is driven by campaign and collection promotion, and not personalization. They have a 'Get the Latest' section quite far down the page that syncs up with their New Arrivals collection, but it's not personalized. Notably, a section does appear at the bottom of the page called 'Most Popular Right Now', after a shopper has clicked on an item. This section includes items the shopper has looked at, as well as like items - the title is generally a marketing strategy designed to suggest urgency and fast-selling stock for a product a customer has shown interest in. Either way, ModCloth could stand to reorder their home page based on what a customer is most interested in - serve up rainbow dresses to rainbow fans and stick to basic black for neutral lovers!
- Cart and checkout: Once you add a product to your cart, ModCloth uses a slide-out Ajax cart that remains open unless the shopper closes it. This is a prime opportunity to cross-sell an item as the shopper is a captive audience as they close the cart, but ModCloth offers nothing. There is a 'Still Interested In These' block that appears on the cart page (highlighting recent views) but that's it. ModCloth also doesn't provide any further opportunities to upsell / cross-sell at checkout.
If ModCloth's primary goal is to curate their site to a shopper's individual tastes, they're doing a passable job - one that tends to do better the more time a shopper spends on their site, and likely even more after completing a purchase.
There are ways ModCloth could take this approach even further, by segmenting customers based on their preferred collections (ex: 'Prints Lover' or '1960s Style') and changing the home page, navigation, and collection sort order to focus on these unique styles.
Finally, ModCloth's cross-sell strategy could use a little TLC; adding more thoughtfully curated bundles or cross-sells once a customer has shown interest in a particular item could fast track them to more revenue.