The online retail market has grown exponentially in the past decades. Hundreds of new online retailers are joining the pool of competition. With such a boom in this market, online fashion retailers are facing a lot of difficulty when it comes to differentiating themselves and producing quality content.
Here at Bllush, we see many retailer websites. After reviewing hundreds of online fashion retailers, big and small, we made a list of the top 15 online fashion retailers in 2018 to see what exactly they are doing right.
Founded: UK / 2000 | Revenue: $1.9 Billion
Let’s begin with ASOS, the fashion retail powerhouse that has achieved huge success in the online market. The company’s success can be attributed to its well-made, user-friendly website, which is jam-packed with a bunch of different browsing mechanisms so that any visitor can find something they like.
One of the most fundamental searching mechanisms is the versatile navigation system, such as filters and categories, that help the visitor find the product they want. For instance, when a visitor selects the “Clothing” tab, they are given the option to “shop by product”, “shop by range” and even “shop by occasion”. Click here to see our in-depth review of the ASOS shopping experience.
Founded: Germany / 2008 | Revenue: $5.4 Billion
Next on the list is Zalando SE, one of the leaders in the online fashion retail world. Based out of Germany, the company has long understood the potential of the online retail market. To stay at forefront of fashion retail, the company constantly adapts their website with new marketing, content and personalization tools for a seamless user experience.
As an example, Zalando previously sourced many of their images from Getty, which proved to be an expensive, complex and often unsuccessful approach (see – The Cost of Getty Images). Upon realizing this, they partnered with Bllush, a tech company that specializes in building content marketing tools for online fashion retailers. Using Bllush’s Discovery software, Zalando has integrated a “Get the Look” page into their website, which automatically matches clothing items from user-generated images with similar products from them.
Founded: Germany / 2013 | Revenue: $89.8 Million
Lesara is one of the newest players in the online retail scene, founded in 2013. Yet, they have shown tremendous growth in the industry – so much so that they won a Tech5 Award as Germany’s fastest growing e-Commerce startup. The reason for their success lies in their innovative approach called Agile Retail: a direct-to-consumer retail model that ensures their dominance in the increasingly competitive market by using big data analysis to identify and execute new trends.
Just as Zalando, Lesara has also integrated into their website a Bllush’s Discovery software, which they call “Streetstyle”. It has been customized to suit Lesara’s website design.
Founded: Denmark / 2009 | Traffic: 900k
Miinto has a unique online fashion retail concept, because their products are sourced from local, independent fashion boutiques rather than the bigger and more established brands and stores. This approach has given more exposure to small companies and helped bring more diversity to the consumer, ultimately promoting a more sustainable and equal fashion industry.
Complimenting their unique concept is their well-designed website. Miinto has a clean and organized design, where they offer intricate searching mechanisms to help users find the brand and product that they want.
Miinto has won many awards for their achievements, namely: Winner of FDIH e-Commerce Awards in 2011 (best B2C company) in 2011 and 2013, Earnst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012, and e-Retailer of the Year in 2016.
Founded: India / 2010 | Revenue: $760.9 Million
Koovs is a London-based online fashion brand catering specifically to the Indian market. One reason for their huge success lies in their foreign demographic. India was realized to be a perfect market opportunity for Koovs, who “aim to bring western fashion to the young, stylish Indian consumer”(from Koovs website).
Koovs has also integrated some interesting content features into their website, such as the #KoovsxYou page. This page encourages buyers to upload images of Koovs products to a hashtag on Instagram and the best photos are posted directly onto the website. This is an innovative form of marketing firstly because customers generate website content for free. Not to mention, we all know that UGC is the best content nowadays.
Koovs was also been awarded “The Most Popular Fashion Portal with Youth” by the Global Youth Marketing forum in 2017.
Founded: Sweden / 2003 | Revenue: $140 Million
Nelly is an online retail store specializing in women’s fashion. They have a wide inventory of clothing of 700 different brands! The company has also realized the huge potential of UGC and has integrated it into their website. Customers upload images of their products and Nelly posts the best ones onto their Instagram page. The Nelly Instagram account is merged with the website so that each photo is made easily and instantly shoppable. The website also has a “shop by occasion” page that allows visitors to find a product simply based on the event they want to attend. The “occasions” include “prom”, “wedding guest” and “cocktail”.
Nelly dominates the market in over 10 countries in Europe and is gradually penetrating international markets.
Founded: U.S.A. / 2007 | Revenue: $1 Billion *
Shopstyle, a global and hugely popular online retailer, has one main purpose: for customers to be able to find exactly what they are looking for. The difficulty is that they have such an enormous selection of products. For this reason, they provide an variety of searching options right on their homepage: trending searches, the “Editor’s Picks” as well as fun clothing blogs and guides linked with instantly shoppable content from their website.
Their methods have proved successful, as they bring in a staggering 3 million searches per month and $1B in gross retail sales * to their partners.
Founded: Netherlands / 1917 | Traffic: 720k | E-Commerce Manager: Carin de Blok
WeFashion is an old-timer white label brand out of the Netherlands, founded all the way back in 1917. Today, they have expanded their reach, with 250 stores scattered around Europe and of course, an online shop. Their goal is to bring affordable, high quality and, of course, fashionable products to the online world.
Their website design is clean, elegant and minimalist so that the user can navigate easily and also gets a sense of the brand image. An interesting feature on their website is the video shoots, rather than photos, to display their products. On their product page, some products will be shown as photos while others are in video form. The video shows a model performing everyday activities, wearing the brand’s clothes. It is a very unique and appealing approach to marketing because it gives the user a more accurate feel of how the product looks in real life, on the go.
Founded: UK / 1948 | Revenue: $1.3 Billion
River Island is renowned for bringing in a large and diverse volume of products for affordable prices. Founded in 1948, River Island already has “over 350 stores across the UK, Ireland and internationally throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe, as well as six dedicated online sites operating in four currencies”.
Despite being an old-timer in the industry, they certainly know how to stay on top of their competition with their unique website content. In their “Inspiration” page for instance, they attack the term “inspiration” on all fronts to get any customer inspired. In one section, they have a blog page, a “ways to wear” page and a “trends” page to add meaning to their products. On another page, they use UGC from social media for inspirational content via the hashtag #imwearingRI. Lastly, they differentiate themselves by starting campaigns such as #labelsareforclothes, a project that advocates for racial equality and raises money by selling a collection dedicated to the movement.
Founded: Germany/ 2006 | Traffic: 80k
Kauf Dich Glucklich, a Berlin-based fashion brand and retailer, has gone the extra mile to make sure their website has the same contemporary feel as their physical store. One look at the website shows the effort put into maintaining the brand image, from the general organization of their products down to the chosen text font.
Unlike most retailers, Kauf Dich Glucklich uses their own models and photoshoots for many of their in-house brands, as well as their own brand. This creates a consistency and reliability to the store and website design that customers love.
As seen below, they create a consistently cool and artistic atmosphere with their website design:
Founded: UK / 1969 | Revenue: $2.1 Billion
Newlook is a UK-based retailer that has become the leading fast-fashion store in Europe and Asia. There are several reasons for their success, largely having to do with their website. For example, they regularly have clearance sales and publicize this right on the homepage. This is especially useful because their main target market are young people who are always looking for sales. Scrolling down, visitors are met with “More reasons to shop”, an area where the company literally lists the reasons people should use their online retail store to shop. Seen below, they also differentiate themselves by providing instant customer service with a “live chat” sidebar (which is easily accessible from anywhere on the website).
Founded: Germany / 2004 | Traffic: 800k
StyleBop, one of the leading online retailers for luxury fashion and beauty products, is another player that knows how to do the website right. They have a massive assortment of high-end products with huge sales attached to them, and they advertise this well on their website.
Their coolest website feature is their membership and rewards club. When a user signs up, he gets more credits for every purchase he makes – so the more the user purchases, the more he is given deals like shipping discounts and seasonal markdowns, a genius strategy for customer retention. Here is their list of membership benefits:
Founded: Germany/ 2006 | Revenue: $76.8 Million
Def-Shop is an online retailer that has combined many of the features of the previously listed online retailers into their website. For one, their homepage is a mishmash of different browsing options to help users find the products they want. Two, they have video shoots of their products displayed on the homepage and elsewhere. They also have inspiration and blog pages to give users outfit ideas with products from their store. Lastly, they integrate some level of personalization by giving users the option to become members, allowing them save a product they like onto their account.
All to say, it has certainly paid off, with Def-Shop being nominated as one of the largest online shops in Europe for streetwear & hip-hop clothing.
Founded: Germany / 2013 | Revenue: €283 Million
AboutYou, a subsidiary of Otto Group, is a fast-growing fashion and technology startup out of Germany. They are in the top five online-only fashion retailers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. As both a subsidiary of a major tech company, they have combined many technological aspects to “make fashion shopping more inspiring and personal for the young target group”.
AboutYou has created a state-of-the-art social media platform on their website. Shown below, the company creates profiles for famous celebrities and influencers, tracking their outfits and displaying similar/identical products on the website. Visitors can like and save content they enjoy – almost like an instagram profile, but with shoppable content.
Founded: Germany / 2006 | Traffic: 3.8m
MyTheresa is a high-end fashion e-Commerce retailer for women. It has a huge success story, beginning as a local store in Munich and eventually becoming a multinational online retailer that was acquired by renowned department store, Neiman Marcus. But that’s a story for another time.
The website homepage begins with a pop-up prompting the visitor to subscribe to its newsletter (a good marketing strategy for customer retention). Also displayed on the homepage are links to different product pages, but what is nice about these links is that they are designed to look like blog posts, with interesting background pictures and quick one-line headers describing the vibe. See below.