Researching and purchasing apparel on mobile has come into fashion—and it's sure to last through this season and many more to come. Here's the latest research on what your business can do to meet shoppers in the mobile moments that matter.

Published
February 2017
Topics

For most Australians, the path to purchase for apparel and accessories is pretty short. Shoppers decide they need a new item, conduct research, and head to the store (or seal the deal online). Sixty percent of research is done on the same day as purchase.1 This means shoppers make a lot of quick decisions on mobile, as they gather ideas, research products, and search for local information. Businesses can be there to influence them in these intent-rich micro-moments.

To understand what this quick purchase journey looks like, Google teamed up with market research firm TNS Australia and conducted quantitative and qualitative research. We dove into how and when Australian shoppers use mobile to find and choose apparel and accessories.

1. Time-for-a-new-look moments

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Most apparel purchases are spontaneous. A flash of inspiration can happen when someone spots a beautiful jacket while walking to lunch—or a moment of need can crop up when those beloved jeans finally give out. When the need arises, many Australians turn to their smartphones. Their first questions? "What's in?" and, maybe more importantly, "What's out?" Checking trends helps them build a frame of reference and shortcut the research process.

People aren't brand-committed in these initial moments: 90% of smartphone users say they aren't absolutely sure of the specific brand they want to buy when they begin shopping.2 They just want to know what's in style and find things that fit their personal tastes. They're open to inspiration as they pull out their smartphones to find just what they need. In Australia, 88% of smartphone users turn to their smartphones at home to search online when buying clothing or accessories.3

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How to win time-for-a-new-look moments

  • Ensure that you show up: To be in the consideration set, your business needs to be there not only when people search for your business specifically but also when they search category terms related to the items you sell. If you sell a wide variety of swimwear, for example, you should be there when people search for "swimsuits," "swim shorts," "bathing suits," and "bikinis."
  • Create inspiring content: Help shoppers stay informed about the latest styles and trends by creating style guides or seasonal YouTube videos. Forty-five percent of smartphone users first learnt about a product by looking on a website or app,3 so look to improve your search and filter functionality and allow for maximum product discoverability.

2. Finding-the-perfect-piece moments

Once shoppers have a general idea of what they want, research can begin in earnest. One in two shoppers uses their smartphone to conduct clothing and footwear research1—and this research helps shoppers figure out which piece is best for them. We found that information gained from smartphone searches helped influence purchase decisions in more than 60% of cases.4

These moments give retailers a chance to show off what they've got. And it's all about the photos and videos. Shoppers want to see the items from every angle: how they fit, what they can be paired with, and what they look like when they move.

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How to win finding-the-perfect-piece moments

  • Show products in context: Bring your products to life with high-quality pictures, videos, and even 360° videos. Seeing is believing for many shoppers, so give them all the info they need to add pieces to their shortlists. Among women who shop for apparel on their smartphones, 64% agree that seeing images of products in context positively influences their purchase decisions.5
  • Feature product reviews: Make it easy for shoppers to choose you by showcasing reviews from other satisfied shoppers.
  • Get in front of interested shoppers: Shopping ads help you get your product photos in front of the 70% of smartphone shoppers who have used their phone to research prices when buying clothing or accessories in the last six months.3
  • Show product availability: As much as shoppers care about optimisation and finding the perfect piece, they care equally about being efficient and saving time. Show them whether an item is available or not.

3. I'm-ready-to-give-it-a-try moments

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At this point, some shoppers will go ahead and make a purchase right from their smartphones. In Australia, nearly one in two smartphone users have used their phones to buy clothing or accessories in the last six months.6

Other shoppers will search for nearby retailers, and head to the store to try a piece on and see what other items are available. It's no wonder that shopping searches for "near me" in Australia have more than doubled in the past year. Once shoppers have the info they need, they head to the store quickly. Of the people who conduct local searches on their smartphones, 76% visit the business within 24 hours, and 28% of those searches results in a purchase.7

Consumers continue to rely on their smartphones all the way to checkout, as 82% of U.S. shoppers say they consult their phones on purchase they're about to make in a store.8 Even when shoppers know what they want, they'll often look up reviews and even other products from the dressing room or checkout line. Retailers that embrace this and provide quick, helpful information tailored for in-store shoppers can help them feel more confident in their purchases—and can use the opportunity to suggest other apparel or accessories.

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How to win I'm-ready-to-give-it-a-try moments

  • Show local availability: On your site, include functionality that shows shoppers what items are available at which stores. To drive shoppers directly to you, show product availability at your different store locations with local inventory ads.
  • Speed it up: A fast and mobile-friendly site with a simple checkout process will foster confidence in shoppers to purchase straight from their smartphones. Run a quick check on how fast your site is right now with Test My Site.
  • Provide multiple checkout and fulfillment options: When ready to buy, people want convenience and simplicity. Case in point: 23% of people abandon retailer sites when asked to create a new user account at checkout.9

Ask yourself: Are you prepared to meet Australian shoppers in the moments that matter most? Take time to think about what mobile searchers may be looking for at every micro-moment—and how you can help them find the perfect look.

Methodology
Google partnered with TNS Australia in October 2016 to conduct qualitative research with n=30 18–54-year-olds across Australia on how consumers research, shop for, and purchase a range of categories. This research supports a variety of other quantitative studies (sourced below) in order to gain a deep understanding of category specific micro-moments.

Sources
1 Google/TNS, "The Consumer Barometer Survey," 2015, Australia, n=335 internet users answering based on a recent apparel purchase.
2 Google/Ipsos, "Consumers in the Micro-Moment, Wave 3," August 2015, U.S., n=1,291 online smartphone users aged 18+.
3 Google/Galaxy, "Consumers in the Micro-Moment," June 2015, Australia, n=351 smartphone users.
4 Google/TNS, "The Consumer Barometer Survey," 2015, Australia, n=335 internet users answering based on a recent apparel purchase, n=108 made their purchase online.
5 Google/Ipsos Connect, "How Images Influence Mobile Shoppers, Phase 2," June 2016, U.S., n=551 mobile women's apparel shoppers.
6 Google/Galaxy, "Consumers in the Micro-Moment," June 2015, Australia, n=1002 smartphone users.
7 Google/Purchased Digital Diary, "How Consumers Solve Their Needs in the Moment," May 2016, U.S., n=1,000 smartphone users, n=634 local searchers.
8 Google/Ipsos, "Consumers in the Micro-Moment," U.S., March 2015, n=5,398 internet users.
9 eMarketer, "eCommerce Survey 2014," October 2014.