Fashion on Marketplaces: What Sells Best and Why Amazon Isn’t a Leader?

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Marketplaces have been around for a while and their importance has seen a further increase in the recent past. They bring benefits to both sides of the online purchase. Retailers, especially small and medium ones, can reach their target customers easier than with their own platform. On the other side, customers can enjoy a broad product offer on one domain. Oftentimes, they can also make use of other benefits provided by the marketplace.

According to Mirakl, there are three types of sellers on marketplaces, based on their business models. These are marketplace native sellers, brand sellers, and e-commerce retailers. While this variety is important for marketplaces, the first-mentioned group accounts for almost two thirds of the gross merchandise value. Furthermore, almost half of the sellers are active on more than one marketplace.

Fashion on marketplaces

Amazon has a significant presence across most product categories in a wide range of markets. So, why is Amazon not considered a leader in the online fashion marketplace world? 

A study analyzing the apparel category has shown that on Amazon, the brand does not play much of a role. Looking into the top 4 European markets for Amazon – UK, Germany, Italy, and France – we can see similar tendencies. Even though Fruit Of The Loom is the only brand that appears in the top 10 list for all these markets, the composition of the ranks is very similar. A few well-known, global brands are accompanied by several unknown brand names. The fact that only about 20% of searches on Amazon feature a brand name is very beneficial for unknown brands. 

What is more interesting is the types of apparel products that shoppers buy on Amazon. The most popular items are inexpensive basic pieces, which could explain the consistent popularity of Fruit Of The Loom across European markets. Customers also seem to be looking for the best price-quality ratio, as inexpensive products with positive reviews seem to be the most popular.

Why Amazon is not a fashion leader?

Simply put, customers come to Amazon when they want to buy basics, oftentimes in bulk, not when they want to shop the latest fashion styles. For the latter, customers prefer to search elsewhere, in Europe most notably on Zalando.

There are likely many reasons for this, but probably the most significant one is the fact that the Amazon platform is simply not built to sell fashion. According to a recent study, 67% of Europeans want to be inspired while online shopping. On Amazon, customers will see the same interface while browsing for fashion, as they know from shopping in other categories, such as electronics. Showing a product is not enough, as customers expect to be inspired and emotionally engaged. Implementing enhanced content is key to make this kind of connection with online shoppers.

Secondly, a shopper browsing through the category might be missing unified information about the products. This includes quality, uniform model photography, as well as information about the size that the model is wearing. According to e-commerce expert Holger Schneider, other retailers do a much better job, as he thinks that Amazon is far from inspiring. There is, therefore, plenty of room for improvement for Amazon.


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