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Top Fashion Sites Pitted Against Each Other in CRO Study

Andy Donaldson
09 April 2015

Did you know you have three seconds to appeal to a customer before they leave your site? Or that some of the world’s biggest fashion e-commerce offerings might drop out of search rankings when the new Google mobile algorithm drops on the 21st April?

Well according to my research some of the biggest name fashion brands don’t. My team of fashion experts in digital marketing at Hit Search, have analysed 29 of the top fashion brands in Europe, delving into how each website, including the likes of Net-a-Porter, The Outnet, Avenue 32, Liberty, Jimmy Choo and Paul Smith either encourage or fail to entice sales through conversion rate optimization (CRO). The study also looked at a number of fashion websites headed up by Industry members, including Donna Ida (Donna Ida Thornton), Harvey Nichols (Frances Card), (Paula Reed), MATCHESFASHION.COM (Tom Chapman) and Browns (upcoming speaker, Caroline Burstein).

Only 45% of brands researched were encouraging sales through the implementation of a ‘recently viewed’ function and 7% of the heavy hitters in the industry were potentially losing out on conversions by failing to implement an ‘add to basket’ feature. Each brand was put through a tough review process, scoring all 29 of the chosen luxury fashion sites in five main categories, all of which were essential factors when it comes to CRO. The study found that many brands were failing to implement certain CRO best practices, with brands such as Neiman Marcus and Phase Eight failing to provide their users with the likes of an acceptable site load time under three seconds – a potentially damaging aspect that could lose sales in the long run.

In addition, we found that Jimmy Choo were providing zero barriers to sale and staying clear of Google’s mobile algorithm update by having a mobile responsive design of its website. The new study also stated that nearly half of all websites reviewed were set to drop out of Google mobile listings as they did not have a mobile responsive design in place.

This multi-million dollar industry is one of the most successful sectors when it comes to encouraging their customers to follow through with purchases. Our aim was to find out exactly why that is and take a look in detail how the fashion industry as a whole sets the benchmark for CRO.

The top three websites that led the study were Jimmy Choo, Forward Forward and Montaigne Market, respectively. These brands were clear winners, with average scores of well over eight points due to implementing mobile responsive sites, well-structured category pages and load times. We identified three of the lowest scoring websites as Neiman Marcus, Style Paste and Pollyanna who scored extremely low on aspects such as delivery options, size guides, stock indicators and ‘add to basket’ features.


Andy Donaldson is a fashion and retail digital marketing specialist and the director of Hit Search, an agency specialising in SEO, PPC, CRO, social media and content marketing.

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