Lilian Tam, July 2020
I worked in one of the luxury fashion brands for 2 years and spent most of my time researching competitors’ and customers’ experiences. Also, as a millennial, who grew up using technology and social media platforms, I am more likely to shop online than in stores. I spent most of my time online shopping when I lived in a small town in the UK for four years.
I want to recommend my top five most memorable and easiest shopping experiences because of their fashion recommendations. I was looking for a white shirt which I can wear every day and match with different styles. I was on a mission to find a “white” color and “blouse/shirt” that is right for me.
Farfetch's similarity recommendation is based on a previous search, which includes similar products of the brand I searched or liked. I really like this part because sometimes I want to purchase the piece from the brand I prefer. One of my millennial characteristics is that I am loyal to some specific brands regardless of the designs or styles I am looking for.
”Complete the look” gives the products included in the total look photo, or similar products when the item is out of stock. Some websites will skip “complete the look” when the items are out of stock, while Farfetch provides similar products to replace the out of stock items. As a result, I can easily find alternatives to replace, and I don’t need to spend extra time to find alternatives to “complete the look.”
Banana Republic has a compelling “Wear it with” recommendation, which is attractive, as it provides 3 different total looks for me as references. Also, the total looks are the styles I want to match with the new shirt and make me want to buy the total look. Both “Customers also viewed” and “Customers also liked” are user-friendly as now I can know how other people will style this shirt.
Compared with the other shopping websites, this one has the most total looks, which makes me want to shop on this website again as it gives me more total look suggestions and helps me to figure out how to match with different clothes.
Debenhams displays “also in the range” and “you may also like” next to each other, which is one of the major reasons why I like this website. I can browse both “also in the range” and “you may also like” at the same time and easily identify what I actually want, and I can compare without switching pages.
The “Customer who bought this item also bought” gives me a reference about how to style an item. In this case, I found the style I like, summer look, and I will buy the swimwear to match the white shirt. Although summer look was not my original purpose, this recommendation helped me to figure out another matching style.
The Net-a-Porter product page has a clean and clear image, and I can easily find what I need, especially with the “how to wear it” feature . The products are arranged from top to bottom, large to small, so I can find the pants to match easily because they are at the top.
For the similarity recommendation, Net-a-Porter’s is comparable to Farfetch’s, in that it also provides similar products from the brands I searched or viewed. As a result, I easily found similar products from the brands I prefer.
YesPlz is a visual search filter that I can opt in and out of choices I want. Using the visual search filter, I have selected attributes such as short sleeves, straight waist, and longer length. Instantly the filter recommended similar products based on my preferences with some varieties I can browse through, which gives me more personalized results! (YesPlz is not selling clothing from its website. I only experienced the recommendations)
My final choice was the cotton-poplin shirt by Acne Studio from Net-a-Porter. This shirt matches my requirement of everyday wear and goes with different styles. “The total look” gives me ideas on how to style. I also purchased this shirt while I was writing this blog because they did a good job making me feel a sense of urgency with a low stock indicator and a huge discount.
I enjoy “complete the look” more than any other recommendations. It helps me to have a better view on how to style and how to mix & match, especially when I shop at home. I don’t need to go to the stores to style and mix & match.
Yet, the similarity recommendation is the one I ended up making a purchase from this time. As much as I enjoy “complete the look’, I find “similar recommendation’ very helpful. Most recommendations were often almost identical. That could be helpful if I knew what I was shopping for so I could compare one by one and make the best purchase. However, I wish there were some degrees of variations of colors, silhouettes, or details that would help me identify what styles I am looking for. The YesPlz recommendation engine understands this.
Personalization is a huge revenue driver and when done correctly can drive purchases and repeat engagement. Users have so much choice these days that it’s important to make an impression on them so that you stay top of mind, personalization is a good way to do that.
By 2025, Artificial Intelligence will be driving the biggest technological advancements across e-commerce and many other industries. Companies that successfully use the power of AI will have a competitive advantage over other businesses in their industry.