Websites used to be secondary to stores. That dynamic is shifting
Investing in online is now no longer a choice for fashion. At a time when most stores have been closed to traditional shoppers, omnichannel services are burgeoning, prompting a mindset shift: websites don’t exist merely to supplement stores; stores, instead, support online sales.
“There's a shift in the balance of power toward digital,” says eMarketer principal analyst Andrew Lipsman, who adds that the pandemic has specifically accelerated omnichannel fulfilment. “While those late to the game are adapting incredibly well to this new imperative, there's no doubt that the ones that had already made the transition are a big step ahead.”
Omnichannel refers to selling through multiple channels, and increasingly a blend of digital and physical, whether by uniting a customer’s purchase history or fulfilling an order through more than one channel. For its omnichannel category, the Vogue Business Index of luxury fashion brands looked at in-store experience; consumer perception of online and offline integration; availability of shopping channel options; customer service; inventory integration and fulfilment options; and geographic presence of e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar.
Ermenegildo Zegna received the highest omnichannel score, scoring 63 out of 100 in online-offline integration and 80 in in-store experience. Chloé (58), Loewe (56) and Michael Kors (56) also were among the high scorers in offline-online integration. Meanwhile, Chanel — which took the fourth spot among luxury brands overall — stumbled due to its limited omnichannel strategy, with a score of 23 in online-offline integration, yet an 80 in in-store experience. Leader Louis Vuitton scored 53 in online-offline integration and 80 in in-store experience.
More than two-thirds of the brands in the Index offered both click-and-collect and a unified shopping cart that functions across devices, but the scores suggest there is significant room for improvement: of the 50 brands rated, the highest score for online-offline integration (63) was 11 points lower than the lowest score for in-store experience (74).