We just released the results of a recent study we conducted among several fashion, accessories, and beauty sites, about how they approach the online user experience (download it here). Understanding that fashion and apparel brands tend to be on the cutting-edge of merchandising their products and delivering a more high-touch experience on the web, we wanted to see what their best practices are when it comes to site search, navigation, and merchandising, that other retailers can emulate.

Fashion retailers strive to deliver a feature-rich web experience that comes as close as possible to shopping in a store where customers can see a product up close, try it on, feel the fabric, and more. They design their site with heavy use of graphics and images, and incorporate features like Quick View Windows, Mouse-over or Clickable Pop Ups, and rich color swatches, all of which lend to making it easier to see a product’s fine details. Other enhancements these sites rely on are Rich Auto Complete, where products and images appear after a few keystrokes to help shoppers get to their desired items more quickly. AJAX search, which speeds up the delivery of search results, and localized information, so online shoppers can see if items are available at nearby stores, also appear prominently. 

Merchandising banners on search results pages are used to engage customers and gain their interest in a particular brand or promotional offer. We also saw some sites incorporating other media and resources into their search results, in order to arm shoppers with information from blogs, news articles, video, and social networks to help them make an informed decision.

If you’d like to download a copy of our study, you can do so here. And in our next post, we’ll do a little deeper digging into who’s using these features and what impact they have.

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