By Joanna Perry | Global Head of Marketing

Practicology has ranked a group of 15 Australian fashion retailers against 10 of their UK competitors, in research to determine who is doing a better job of serving Australian consumers online.

The findings demonstrate how much Australian fashion retailers have improved their online offers in the last few years; and how UK competitors are failing to keep up with the experience and services provided. This includes a growing adoption of Live Chat, same-day and next-day delivery services; as well as offering click-and-collect and adding Afterpay as a payment choice.

The Selling Fashion Online in Australia Report highlights benchmarks that all brands should be working towards if they want to delight Australian consumers. These include:

Payment methods - 100% of Australian retailers in the study offered Afterpay (though only 20% of the UK retailers did) suggesting it’s an essential payment option for the market.
Delivery choice - 44% of the retailers reviewed offered same-day or next-day delivery in Metro areas, including The Iconic, Showpo, Myer and David Jones. No UK brands guaranteed next-day delivery; Ted Baker has a 1-3 day timeframe, and charges AUD$30 for this service.

Click-and-Collect – 48% of the retailers offered click-and-collect services through stores or Parcelpoint. Again, all offering this were Australian – 12 of the 15 Australian retailers.
Live Chat & social service - 24% of retailers offered Live Chat, and 24% promote their social channels within their sites’ Customer Service sections, to provide quick responses to customer queries. Glassons has adopted Facebook Messenger as an alternative to Live Chat.

Phone customer service - Only 32% of retailers provided a satisfactory response to a phone enquiry. 24% had a message asking customers to leave a message or email them instead, and 28% did not publicise a number at all. Six of the 10 UK retailers did not offer a phone number, and the four who did weren’t offering phone support in Australian business hours.

Search engine optimisation - Only two of the 25 retailers (The Iconic and Missguided) were ranking on the first page of Google search results for at least 40% of their organic keywords. UK retailers outperformed local brands on SEO, with a higher average score on this measure.

Localisation - Only four of the 10 UK retailers were merchandising summer products on their home pages. We saw scarves, gloves, coats and even skiwear promoted though it was the hottest Australian summer on record.

Practicology’s General Manager for Australia Merline McGregor said of the report findings:
“It’s great to see that Australian retailers are holding their own against their UK competitors, and often providing significantly better online experiences too.

However, no retailer can afford to be complacent, and there are some key areas of improvement for both local and international retailers to consider if they want to maximise their online sales. Investment in SEO will drive more consumers to your site, and great customer service will help to convert them into paying customers and retain them too."

Each retailer was reviewed in Q4 2018 on criteria related to their mobile site usability, customer service, delivery proposition and SEO performance.

In addition, Practicology looked at a range of localisation criteria for the UK retailers, to assess how well they were tailoring their Australian websites for the intended audience. Only one UK retailer – Asos – ranked in the top 10 of the retailers overall. Missguided ranked next highest in joint 11th place.

The retailers reviewed and ranked in the report were: Asos, Boden, Bonds, Boohoo, Cotton On, Country Road, David Jones, Forever New, Glassons, Glue Store, Gymshark, Kookai, Missguided, Myer, Peter Alexander, Portmans, rebel, Reiss, River Island, Seed Clothing, Showpo, Superdry, Sweaty Betty, Ted Baker and The Iconic.

You can download our Australian fashion ecommerce research at: www.practicology.com/OnlineFashion

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