Executing a successful omni-channel customer experience is difficult to say the least. And building one for a customer base with lower buying confidence is a whole different challenge.

But the women’s fashion brand, Adrift, seems to have figured it out.

Adrift has been using Loop for over a year now.

So we sat down with the Australian-based brand and their Shopify Plus ecommerce agency, Arkhi, to identify three tactics omni-channel brands can implement to respond to the shift in online shopping behavior for women in a post-covid world. 

And to find out how they improve shopper buying confidence for their customer base.

Shopping behaviors shift as we age

As we age, it’s not uncommon for us to question our personal style that we’ve had in our 20s and 30s. Because 55% of how we communicate with others is through our body language. 

What we choose to wear speaks volumes that words can’t express.

So as women enter their 40s and 50s, they become more aware of trying not to dress “too young” and a shift in personal identity takes place — where you start to ask yourself, “What do I want others to understand about me now that I’m older?”

And if you’re not used to shopping online for clothes like Gen Z or Millennials, it can be a bit intimidating and frustrating.

Especially when just 3% of women over 40-year-olds believe that DTC fashion brands meet their needs. And nearly 50% of women over the age of 40 feel that they are unrepresented in online marketing.

Identifying customer touch points that decrease buying confidence

Adrift is unique in that they do meet those needs. Adrift’s focus from day one of launching the brand was to provide fashion to all women, no matter their age, shape, or size.

“We have found that once we have an initial purchase with a customer, we tend to keep these customers for a long time,” says Brodie-Lee Hennessy, Operations Manager at Adrift.

“This comes down to, of course, the quality of our product. But also the hard work of our ecommerce agency, Arkhi, ensuring that our website is super functional!”

Creating a great omni-channel experience is a mindset not an outcome—where improving the online experience is never done. That’s because the speed of culture and technology influence customer preferences to evolve faster than what most DTC brands can keep up with.

Case in point, only 13% of women in Australia over 45-years-old feel comfortable using their smartphone to pay for things.

Knowing this, Arkhi took a step back to analyze the entire online shopping journey to identify what UX and UI components were negatively affecting shopping confidence for older women.

3 ways you can improve buying confidence

1. Add healthy friction to the shopping experience

“One thing we noticed in the shopping experience was that customers were struggling to add the correct size of the products to cart,” says Lucy Mansfield, an account manager at Arkhi.

“The Shopify theme that Adrift was using would default to adding the smallest size of the product to the customer’s cart before they checked out. So we moved Adrift to a more reliable theme.”

Additionally, in order to increase confidence with Adrift’s customers, Lucy and her team introduced healthy customer friction into the buying process.

“On Adrift’s PDPs, we grayed-out the “select a size” button so that it required shoppers to make the conscious decision to add their preferred size to the cart before they could check out,” says Mansfield.

“Enhancing this UX/UI touchpoint for the customer might seem obvious to do. But for some customer groups, they need additional support by requiring them to clearly see what actions they are taking. By adding one additional second to the shopping journey, it allowed Adrift’s team to save hours later by not having to deal with as many customer support tickets related to returns.”

2. Identify differentiating in-store moments and bring them online

The importance of fit is even more critical when a brand’s catalog supports inclusive sizing.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statics, the average size for a woman is 16. But most brands may only go up to size 14 or 16. And the lack of size consistency across brands varies, making the in-store fit experience a differentiator as retail associates guide shoppers to the right size for them.

Additionally, each item feels and sits differently on the body. Customers shopping in physical stores expect this.

But when shopping online, that context gets lost. And customers are left to their imagination and best guess on how products will fit on their unique body type.

We’ve noticed that many brands struggle to educate product fit to their online shoppers. They usually resort to minimal fit education by creating a fit guide that’s located on an auxiliary page linked in their footer on their website.

Most of the time, the fit guide shows few images—if any at all—and leaves much left to be desired by the shopper. This makes it feel as though the fit guide was a last-minute task the brand added to the site.

But Adrift focused on increasing their customer confidence by investing in fit education on each of their PDPs.

“We’ve worked hard with Arkhi to implement some fantastic UX experiences including our individual garment measurements for each product page that also includes our true to size functionality,” says Hennessy.

It’s the closest thing to having an Adrift in-store retail associate shopping with you online, guiding you to your perfect size.

3. Add surprise and delight moments when customers choose wrong

It’s inevitable that customers won’t find the perfect size every time online. Returns happen. But just because a customer wants to return, doesn’t mean they want a refund.

However, we still come across brands today that want to make it difficult for customers to initiate a return. Brands will admit to us that part of their strategy is to make it difficult for the customer to return so that the customer won’t bother completing the return.

Doing so can cause negative consequences for the brand. But also, customers shouldn’t be disproportionately punished for choosing the wrong size. We can easily walk into a store to return a product for an exchange. Online exchanges should be welcomed as well.

Before using Loop, Adrift had a manual return process that didn’t allow the customer to automatically request an exchange.

For context, it’s typical for a brand that has a manual return process to see 95+% of their returns end up as refunds. Not to mention the manual hours spent towards solving return tickets.

Since installing Loop last year, Adrift has seen:

  • 58.1% of their returns end up as exchanges
  • 42.9% of their returns end up as refunds (the avg. fashion brand sees 72.2% refund rate)

A large part of their success is that they surprise their customers who ask for a refund by offering them Loop’s Shop Now Bonus Credit.

Getting an item that isn’t the right fit or size is one of the worst moments in online shopping. And for older women shopping online, this can be a demoralizing experience. 

But with Loop, Adrift is able to meet their customers where they’re at to encourage them to try again by shopping for a different product they believe they’ll love.

As a result, Adrift has been able to influence 14.1% of their customers, who initially asked for a refund, to change their mind and exchange for something more expensive.

In fact, women asking for a refund end up choosing Shop Now where they spend an additional $3.64 in upsell revenue with Adrift. Now that’s customer confidence in action.

Ready to streamline your returns management process? Contact Loop for a demo.