4 things fashion ecommerce brands need to keep in mind
We can all agree that the primary goal of any ecommerce manager is selling more. But, what about all the phases they need to consider on the way to that desired growth? Reaching business goals in a sustainable and thorough way is the real challenge and the fashion business is no exception.
There are many questions we need to consider when evaluating the entire performance of an online business. Do customers return their products once they have seen and touched them? Are users ordering again after being satisfied with the smooth service they got previously? Do they only use the website as a catalog to finally buy that same product in the physical store?
Determining the success of your fashion ecommerce is a tough task. Many issues can be unveiled in the process, and they usually affect many different teams. In most cases, both the internal flows and the whole customer experience depend a lot on the type of technology your business uses. That is why taking into account the following pillars can help you consider how you should be allocating your future technology investments.
Positioning can make or break your brand
Your fashion ecommerce channel can have the most amazing website with the craziest effects and the smoothest user experience but, if it is hard to find, all the efforts will be in vain. Here are three avenues through which you can improve your brand’s positioning.
Search engine optimization (SEO) can open the door to a vast number of new online shoppers and, at the same time, you will also shorten the path for returning ones to get to you once again.
Ultimately, your online fashion store has to be easily accessible, and setting your business on the top of online search results is much cheaper and more successful than renting an expensive space in the center of the city. The top result on Google has a 33% chance of getting clicked, so your ecommerce should be SEO-conscious, and so should be the ecommerce platform supporting it.
Moreover, taking into account that we are in the fashion industry, social media is the window that can put your brand in the spotlight. In fact, showing your product offering on social media platforms is nowadays a must-have instead of a nice-to-have.
Once your digital commerce is totally integrated with the one on Instagram, for instance, start to plan your presence efficiently — and don’t forget about influencer marketing. Studies have shown that after implementing a solid strategy on Instagram, website traffic can be up by 98%.
Once you have entered the social media universe successfully, there are multiple and surprisingly effective new ways to sell. One of them is live shopping, the online shopping experience that matches a video livestream with the capabilities of a traditional digital store. It has reached a 20% share of the ecommerce market in China in 2020, and it’s here to stay.
Giving it a shot could bring your apparel brand closer to an eager audience and, if performed by an appealing representative (e.g. experts, influencers), it can showcase product details better than any shop assistant.
Collaboration is conducive to growth
The age of collaborations and product co-creations has just started. Companies have noticed that, by unifying their forces with complementary businesses, they can expand their brand awareness and serve consumers with new offers that mix their favorite brands. But we’ll leave this particular strategy to product designers and instead focus on digital collaboration.
In today’s digital commerce age, there are two great ways to go about collaboration and they both involve the marketplace business model. On the one hand, your business can become an online marketplace. On the other hand, it can integrate into other marketplaces.
In the first scenario, your fashion ecommerce massively incorporates new lists of products from other brands, the names of which can be shown on the product listing page or not. With this, your business is able to satisfy more needs of more customers, and you can forget about the operating issues that logistics and stock normally present as fulfilment will be taken on by these third-party sellers. Take a look, for example, at what C&A is doing in Brazil.
Marketplaces have evolved to an extent that even B2B businesses have decided to perform their deals online. With the right technology, an ecommerce approach can simplify the wholesale procedures of a fashion brand with its hundreds of smaller fashion retailers.
The other scenario would be that your business, as a merchant, starts selling its products on an already existing marketplace, say Zalando, Farfetch or ASOS. Entering such a robust and popular channel would give visibility to your items and reach an audience that would probably not know your direct-to-consumer (DTC) website beforehand. In addition, you could start selling to countries where your business had no presence before.
Both of these options require advanced technology and having a platform that has these solutions natively can transform a process from complicated to a piece of cake.
Usability is key
In order to be competitive, investing in technology that enables a smooth user experience (UX) should be a must for every fashion business. Below are four elements regarding website usability that should be taken into account.
A slow website is generally not a good website. Statistics show that an ideal website load time should be no more than 2 seconds, and the probability of bounce rate increases by 32% if the page load time increases from 1 to 3 seconds. Another important aspect is that the user wants to find what they are looking for with the minimum amount of clicks possible, and they want the journey to be agile and fast.
Nowadays, there are tools to personalize a website at a level that each user sees a different content based on their preferences. The challenge here would be to display all these environments, as well as all the customized promotions and communications, always maintaining an optimal loading time and respecting a device-specific layout. Indeed, mobile devices account for 66% of online sales in the fashion industry and for 76% of online traffic.
Making sure that the digital commerce platform your operation is using supports all these features can lead your business to success.
By default, the average fashion consumer browses an average of 3.2 pages per session, and the search tool usually delivers the most outstanding conversion rates. Having an optimised search engine on your website means having all your SKUs well described and defined beforehand. This might seem a tedious task, but it’s imperative.
Decreasing the returns rate should also be a concern of any ecommerce manager. When talking about fashion, the more images you add to a product page, the greater odds it will get bought. Additionally, by giving the most accurate information about the item, you can prevent customer disappointment and, consequently, the returns of the items. Adding a good size guide, video or even user-generated content can help increase the conversion rate up to 81%.
Don’t underestimate customer service
The main differences between shopping online and shopping physically are the experience of touching the clothes, but also the human contact and support you can easily have with the staff’s assistance.
Online, the challenge is accompanying the customer throughout the whole process of getting their order and even post-purchase. Actually, 69% of customers want to resolve as many problems as possible on their own, so the more answers your online store can communicate clearly, the less time and effort the customer will need to solve their own queries. For this purpose, the two elements below are especially important.
Your store should have a live chat option with the shortest reply time, always ready to answer the user’s many questions. The customer service team should be reachable by phone, email or even WhatsApp.
Studies say that 40% of customers prefer talking to a real person over the phone when the question is complicated and, generally, 60% of users prefer talking to a human being instead of a chatbot. Therefore, it is important to have a mix of both bots and live agents to streamline customer care operations while still allowing for personalized assistance.
To complete the whole customer experience at its best, an ecommerce manager should also pay attention to the delivery of the parcel. One of customers’ frequently asked questions is usually regarding the tracking of the order, so having integrated software that tells the user all the steps of the shipping process may offer peace of mind to the customer whilst unburdening the customer service team.
Another trick is using last-mile delivery algorithms that leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to gain access to the most efficient routes and ensure the promised delivery SLA. This not only has its environmental benefits, but also saves money and provides sought-after information to the customer regarding order delivery.
Choose now, feel relieved later
The truth is, performing well in all the pillars above may require a solid infrastructure, long years of experience and talented human resources. But forecasting how to improve in each of these areas should be in any ecommerce manager’s roadmap. Bottomline, consciously selecting the technology to bring the best results in the short-to-mid term can be the key to get higher profits in the long run.