Make it easy.
That’s the adage retailers need to live by in the digital world and it was the overarching theme in a conversation during last week’s WWD Digital Forum. The talk was led by Ledbury cofounder and chief executive officer Paul Trible and Andrea Zaretsky, American Express vice president of global marketing and customer experience for digital partnerships and development.
Companies looking to remain competitive are now more closely inspecting the finer details of shoppers’ online experiences in an effort to continually iterate on the purchase process.
Zaretsky provided some sobering stats: The industry’s seen 15 percent year-over-year growth in e-commerce shopping. Meanwhile, merchant sites are seeing an average 68 percent shopping cart abandonment rate.
Conversations have long centered on free shipping and returns but more and more merchants are looking at the checkout process and how it can be streamlined to close the sale, earn repeat business and nab more Millennials.
That’s largely where American Express’s Digital Partnerships group comes into play. The division looks to link with digital companies, such as Ledbury, on programs that aim to solve checkout challenges.
“The Digital Partnerships focus is really to show the world that we’re not your father’s credit card,” Zaretsky said. “We’re reinventing our brand with all these digital partnerships and going where our customers are starting to spend time and working with these emerging brands that are so important to Millennials and younger people. So I’d say, broadly, with our advertising, with our digital and mobile partnerships, we’re trying to appeal to a broader segment.”
Zaretsky chatted up Amex Express Checkout, a feature launched by the Digital Partnerships division in the summer, which allows shoppers making purchases on a partner site to user their Amex username and password to checkout. They thereby avoid the process of having to enter personal details and billing information.
Burberry, Tory Burch and, most recently, Airbnb have all signed on and the company expects to have 15 merchants involved in the program by year-end.
About 15,000 of the men’s wear purveyor Ledbury’s 35,000 customers downloaded Express Checkout, according to Trible.
Streamlining the checkout process for Ledbury underscores its digital first roots.
The Richmond, Va.-based company launched in late 2009 as an e-tailer with the idea that it wanted to perfect men’s shirts — make them fit and feel better than competitor products and also last longer. The company has since branched out into other categories, and now also sells items such as blazers and ties.
Men, between the ages of 30 and 55, appear to be catching on. About 60 percent of Ledbury customers come back to the company between two and 20 times in a year. The company’s top 100 customers own 75 shirts each. There’s even one customer who has a closet of 412 Ledbury shirts, Trible said.
“What we found was we were bringing people down from the Canalis and the Zegnas of the world and we bring people up from Brooks Brothers,” he said.
Ledbury now also has a wholesale business and is dabbling in the brick-and-mortar space like many of its digital-first peers.