Fashion saw incredible growth across categories over 2017. Luxury, sports and fast fashion brands saw the largest growth over the first half of 2017 – with LVMH, Inditex and Nike occupying the coveted top three spots. As a fashion or lifestyle brand, you’re in a good place right now. Sure, it’s a crowded market, but the demand is there. Your task is to market your brand for growth. A key part of your strategy should be a beautifully designed, creative eCommerce.
It’s likely to be a thought that you’ve had before: “I could probably do digital myself”. And… you’re right. The tools available are getting easier and easier to use. So, yes, you probably could build an eCommerce platform for your brand. But you shouldn’t. Your expertise is your product and your customer. Building that knowledge into a complex online store that’s going to prompt purchase is not a small job. And it’s one that should be taken on by an experienced eCommerce agency.
There’s also something a little bit extra needed when it comes to creating a bespoke eCommerce platform for a fashion or lifestyle brand. It’s that creative impulse, that understanding of nuance, that aesthetic authority. For this reason, choosing the right creative eCommerce agency can become something of a project in itself. Here are some of the qualities you should look for in your shiny, new digital partner.
Listen before designing, design to be listened to
With lifestyle or fashion branding and design most likely at the very heart of your brand, the visual aesthetic obviously needs to be powerful when it comes to designing a creative eCommerce. But the first conversation you have with your agency needs to be about UX & UI design:
- What work have they done previously?
- Who are their designers?
- What’s their process?
The mark of a great eCommerce agency is one that can design the journey that your user wants. And that depends on the work they do ahead of the design phase to get to your customer.
The latest digital buzzword that you can’t get away from is #emotionaleCommerce. But there is something hugely important in plotting your customer’s journey, keeping in mind their cognition. An important research report on emotional eCommerce from Klarna points at the two fundamental routes by which people think, feel and behave. Emotional (quick, impulsive and driven by feelings) and logical (slow and based on analysis). Designing the right journey is going to involve an analysis of what it is that motivates your customer at each and every point in their purchase journey.
Committed to Conversions
You came to an eCommerce agency in the first place because they know how to optimize your online store for conversion. It’s important to note that you’re not aiming for 100% conversion – that doesn’t exist. You’re looking for an agency that has an acute awareness of all of the pain points that might prevent your user from purchasing.
Using customer journey mapping, your agency should work to pinpoint places in your purchase path where your customers might drop off. They should leverage their eCommerce expertise and knowledge of the platform to integrate conversion-boosters like product reviews, one-click purchase, guest checkout, abandoned cart emails and multiple payment gateways. The easier the journey, the more likely it is to result in a sale.
Cross-Platform Knowledge & Experience
The ability to create a bespoke platform that can differentiate your brand is obviously one of the main draws of working with an agency. So, a highly skilled technical team is non-negotiable. But you may also want to consider a team that has experience working across different platforms. A Magento e-commerce agency can confidently tell you about all of the ways that Magento can work for a fashion brand. They might not be able to articulate quite so confidently why Magento will work for your fashion brand over another platform. In this case, there’s joy in comparison.
Again, this one comes down to how well the agency has got to know your customer, your brand and the needs of your business. For example, you may be launching a brand to market, with a small selection of products and a tight timeframe on go-live. Shopify has an easy-to-use backend and you can get your store up and running pretty speedily. Or you might be in the early stages out outlining a targeted online marketing strategy. Magento Commerce user segmentation capabilities mean that you can target your promotions based on location or specific customer attributes.
If you’re, it might be that you want to start small. Nevertheless, you want to work with someone who has their minds on tomorrow. Fashion and technology have always gone hand in hand, and both worlds move at the same speed-of-light pace. What does the creative agency you’re working with know about:
- VR & AR
- Wearable Technologies
- Voice recognition technologies
Talking about chatbots Executive Director of Estee Lauder’s digital technology claimed that the company has seen conversions driven by the five bots it has introduced in the last year. Even if you’re not there just yet, there’s a huge opportunity to prompt your customer to purchase by integrating new, immensely intuitive interfaces. You want to work with a digital partner who can be ready when you are.
What About Branding & Content?
An adept agency is likely to also have some other skills up their sleeve, so you might consider looking for a digital all-rounder if there are other pieces to your puzzle. At the beginning of your brand’s digital journey, there’s huge value to be had in great eCommerce photography and well-written product editorial. Working with an agency that can help you to define your creative vision, with experience in art direction is an invaluable investment. These are the small, experiential nudges that could mean converting your customer and instilling brand loyalty.
Your aesthetic authority is a big part of your brand, so you’ll need to work with an eCommerce agency that gets that. As a luxury branding agency based in London, we’ve taken on 360-degree projects outlining a brand’s digital strategy all the way from brand identity to eCommerce. You can take a look at a key fashion branding case study from Appnova’s portfolio here.