Fashion saw incredible growth across all categories in 2023.

As per the Lyst Index, the hottest luxury fashion brands for Q1 of 2023 were Prada, Miu Miu, and Moncler. Prada, for example, unveiled the 2023 Prada Frames symposium in Hong Kong, as well as announcing €3.252 million in retail sales in 2022.

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 store.

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 purchases 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. Below, we’ll look at some of the qualities you should look for when choosing the right creative eCommerce agency.

Why is Choosing a Creative eCommerce Agency a Challenging Task?

Selecting a creative eCommerce development agency in the UK can be a daunting task, especially for fashion and lifestyle brands. The agency you choose will be responsible for shaping your brand's online presence, driving customer engagement, and ultimately, impacting your bottom line. The sheer number of agencies out there, each with their unique offerings and approaches, can make the process even more overwhelming.

The sheer number of services available

The first challenge is the variety and complexity of services that eCommerce agencies offer. These can range from website design and development, search engine optimisation, social media management, content creation, to more specialised areas like user experience design, customer journey mapping, conversion rate optimisation, and data analytics. It's essential to have a clear understanding of what services you need and how they align with your business goals.

The rapid pace of digital evolution

The second challenge is the rapid pace of digital evolution. The eCommerce landscape is continuously changing, with new technologies, platforms, and consumer behaviour trends emerging all the time. Agencies must stay ahead of the curve to provide relevant, cutting-edge solutions. But gauging an agency's ability to do this can be tough.

Cultural fit

The third challenge is the importance of cultural fit. An agency may have all the technical skills you need, but if they don't share your brand values or understand your target audience, the partnership may not be effective. Assessing cultural fit can be subjective and takes more than just reviewing an agency's portfolio or testimonials.

Managing expenses

Finally, the fourth challenge is managing costs. Different agencies have different pricing structures and may offer different value for money. Understanding what you're getting for your investment and how it contributes to your business objectives is crucial.

How To Choose the Right Creative eCommerce Agency for Fashion & Lifestyle Brands

Below, we will take you through some of the critical steps you need to follow when choosing a creative eCommerce agency for your fashion or lifestyle brand.

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 to 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 optimise 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 purchases, 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 of 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.

New Technologies

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:

  • Chatbots
  • 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.

Results Driven

Finding a results-driven eCommerce agency is critical for the success of your online business. These agencies not only focus on creative and strategic elements but are also committed to delivering tangible outcomes that contribute to your business goals.

Here are key points to consider:

Understanding of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

An agency that's results-driven will be able to clearly define and monitor KPIs related to your business, such as conversion rate, average order value, customer acquisition cost, and customer lifetime value. They will track these metrics regularly to gauge the effectiveness of their strategies and adjust them as needed to improve performance.

Focus on ROI

A results-oriented agency will not just focus on driving traffic to your website but will also aim to convert that traffic into sales, maximising your return on investment (ROI). They will implement strategies for conversion rate optimisation, ensuring that your website and marketing efforts lead to profitable customer actions.

Use of Data and Analytics

A results-oriented eCommerce agency will make extensive use of data and analytics to inform its strategies and measure its results. They will conduct regular reports and reviews to keep you updated on their performance and provide insights into areas for improvement.

>Evidence of Past Success

An agency that's results-driven will be able to demonstrate past successes with measurable outcomes. Ask to see case studies or client testimonials that highlight their ability to achieve significant results, such as increasing sales, boosting customer retention, or improving website performance.

Long-term Strategic Thinking

A results-driven agency won't just focus on short-term gains but will also develop strategies for long-term success. They will help you build a sustainable eCommerce business that continues to grow and succeed over time.

Transparent Communication

Finally, a results-driven agency will maintain transparent and regular communication with you. They will keep you informed about their strategies, progress, and results, and will be open to feedback and collaboration.

What About Branding & Content? 

An adept agency is likely to also have some other skills up its 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.

Looking for a creative fashion agency in London? You can take a look at our fashion and lifestyle eCommerce projects here.  The next brand we want to grow? Get in touch here to talk to us about your project.


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