We recently sought out to understand what marketing channels are driving key outcomes for ecommerce retailers, particularly enterprise retailers within the Fashion industry.


To do so, we dove into data sourced from a sample of 1.19 billion visits to Nosto-powered online stores from November 2018 – January 2019. We looked at which marketing channel drove the shopper session came from and then analyzed performance across three key metrics – number of site visits, purchases, and order value.

How was this data measured?

All channel definitions are on last-click and tracking parameter basis (e.g. where the shopper came from directly prior to arriving on the merchant site for that session, or where specific tracking parameters were set on the URLs that the shopper clicked on). To better analyze performance, these metrics were split out by mobile and desktop devices.

Device breakdown

Digital commerce overall receives the majority of traffic via mobile (63%) but the minority of order value (44%). However, enterprise fashion retailers have hit the “mobile tipping point” on all metrics, with all metrics above 50% as seen in the chart below. Enterprise fashion shows the strongest shift towards Instagram in driving all metrics on unpaid social. Instagram is clearly not only driving awareness but also traffic, orders and order value relative to the other social channels.

Paid vs unpaid channels

Relative to ecommerce retailers overall who drive 26% of traffic, 26% of orders, and 24% of order value from paid channels, fashion retailers rely less on paid sources for driving purchases, orders, and order value (21%, 18%, and 18% respectively).

However, Enterprise fashion retailers rely even less on paid sources. Relative to ecommerce retailers overall, less than half of their orders (12%) come directly from paid sources, implying a different marketing mix, potentially better brand awareness and shoppers beginning their journey directly.

Paid vs unpaid channels on mobile

On mobile alone, Fashion digital commerce retailers overall rely less on paid for referring traffic, orders, and order value (21%, 17%, and 17% respectively, and than digital commerce retailers overall ( 27%, 25%, and 23% respectively).

Similarly, enterprise fashion digital commerce retailers operating on mobile are even less reliant on paid for referring traffic than smaller fashion retailers, with only 15%, 11%, and 12% of traffic, orders, and order value coming directly from paid traffic sources as seen in the chart below

Social vs Non-social Channels: Paid vs Non-paid on Mobile

Fashion enterprise companies have the highest percentage of unpaid non-social on all metrics (72% of traffic, 81% of orders, and 82% of order value) relative to digital commerce retailers overall (67%, 71%, and 74% respectively) as well as the all sizes of fashion retailers (63%, 79%, and 72% respectively).

However the percentage or unpaid social is also noticeably higher (12% of traffic, 8% of orders, and 6% of order value) when compared to the overall market (7%, 4%, and 2% respectively) as well as the all sizes of fashion retailers (10%, 6%, and 5% respectively).

Fashion enterprise companies are driving more unpaid traffic from both social and non-social sources.

Paid + Unpaid Social Channels Driving the Highest Impact

Of the 4 big social networks for fashion (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat), the enterprise fashion paid traffic mix is dominated by paid Facebook and Instagram. However, there is a noticeable contribution in paid traffic from Snapchat. It’s not yet translating into direct orders and order value, implying a stronger branding and awareness value currently.

Enterprise fashion shows the strongest shift towards Instagram in driving all metrics on unpaid social. Instagram is clearly not only driving awareness but also traffic, orders and order value relative to the other social channels.

Unpaid Social Channels Driving the Highest Impact on Mobile

Mobile-focused enterprise fashion looks similar to the overall enterprise fashion picture given the heavy split they have towards mobile usage (we saw earlier that enterprise fashion traffic is ¾ mobile). Each channel contribution is no more than 3% different in either direction.

Eager to discover how fashion retailers are stacking up against the most vital KPIs in ecommerce?

We’ve also analyzed granular consumer behavior from 1.2 billion site visits across a wide cross-section of growth-stage online stores within the fashion industry. The result? The State of Ecommerce: Global Data, Trends and Statistics. In this report, uncover:

  • Surprising trends in mobile commerce that ecommerce managers need to know
  • An analysis and benchmarking of 7 key ecommerce performance metrics
  • Breakdowns of global and regional merchant performance
  • And one unique emerging trend affecting profitability for retailers worldwide.