Boohoo: How online pureplays are defining new measures of success

boohoo instagram @boohoo

Through their rapid adoption of trends, dynamic imagery, regular messaging and tech innovation, online pureplays such as ASOS, Missguided and Boohoo have altered the fast-fashion playing field.

As Boohoo releases a stellar set of results, we look at how online pureplays have fundamentally transformed consumers’ expectations of the online shopping experience.

Online pureplays define the new measures of success

Consumer data from WGSN Barometer shows that 16-39s consider online pureplays more ‘exciting’ retailers over fast-fashion incumbents such as Topshop or H&M. Additionally, our data analysis shows that this perception of excitement is one of the key drivers of online purchase frequency in fast fashion – and ASOS and Boohoo are exceptional at getting their shoppers coming back to them again and again (for example – Boohoo averages an online purchase frequency of 3.8 annually compared to H&M’s 1.9)

So how are they doing it?

Perceptions of style are no longer a key differentiator, but speed to market is. 

A long-held belief is that consumers flock to fast-fashion retailers who have the most stylish proposition – a belief that was certainly true even 5-8 years ago when retailers such as Topshop were market leaders with their unique style-led propositions. However, with almost all fast-fashion retailers now offering a competitive product range, perceptions of style are no longer the sole differentiator. What is increasingly pertinent is speed to market, which online pureplays, unencumbered by store portfolios and following a test ‘n’ repeat business model, are excellent at.

Their agile response to trends and regular updates to basics, breeds desire and an urgency among customers to visit regularly, generating excitement around their product proposition.


Build perceptions of excitement through regular editorial updates, content and social engagement 

More and more, messaging is a key part of driving excitement. Online pureplays are very targeted with their communication, ensuring dynamic imagery and energetic wordplay (‘oh-hey vacay’) through product images and marketing. In addition, they regularly update editorials, create targeted product-led content and primarily engage through social media – all of which serves to create a perception of regular newness and keeps landing pages fresh. In addition, through these targeted initiatives, they keep building buzz around their product proposition, create an aspirational, engaging community and thus entice shoppers regularly.

Increasingly, these are the standards that any fast fashion player operating online has to compete with, as young shoppers will continue to demand excitement and near-instant gratification; so established retailers have to match up if they are to succeed online.

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