As tough as eCommerce in general is, manning a successful eCommerce fashion business is akin to trying to hold your head over water in a churning river — it’s not easy.
On the one hand, you want to gather as many new customers as possible. On the other, you also want to turn that ‘new’ into ‘repeat’ and retain all your existing customers.
The problem is, there are so many competitors popping up here and there that focusing on just one of these endeavors while competing is near impossible.
But then, just when you’re thinking of throwing the towel, you see some fashion eCommerce statistics saying that the fashion eCommerce segment in the UK is expected to grow by almost 10% in 2018, and that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the European clothing and apparel market between 2017 and 2022 is expected to settle in at 8.7%, representing £119.09B in 2022 versus £78.1B in 2017.
Even more luring, according to a report by MediaWorks, online fashion sales in the UK are likely to grow by almost 80% in the next four years, with sales jumping to £16.2B in 2017 (and experts predicting it will increase by a further 79% by 2022).
With these stats in front of you, you can’t help but to keep your head in the game and give it your best until you come out on top. It won’t be easy, but to help you out, here are 10 fashion eCommerce tips to help you stand out from the crowd.
1: Enter the Mobile World
We live in a time marked by an increasing tendency to turn to smartphones rather than desktops or laptops to browse and buy things online. In other words, we’re living through a mobile revolution.
This means a couple of things, but for today’s discussion, it means that in order to stand out, you have to be able to be found in the first place.
By entering the mobile world and getting a responsive eCommerce website that resizes all content according to the screen it resides in. Otherwise, when your users try to access your site as they’re out and about, they’ll encounter an unoptimised website with poor UX that does everything but keep them there.
2: Join Social Media
Chances are good that the vast majority of your audience is part of one social channel or another, and just like entering the mobile world to be found, you have to join the social world if you want to increase your odds of standing out from the rest.
As Lori Ruff, social media influencer, points out:
[s]ocial media is here. It’s not going away; not a passing fad. Be where your customers are: in social media.
For starters, if your competitors are connecting with your audience on social, you can’t help but to do so as well. Second, by connecting your actual store with platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you can actually sell though there, which is a major convenience for your users, that also does wonders in your efforts to stand out.
As an extra tip, use social analytics tools to see which social platform is preferred by your audience. Once you know that, place special focus on that while still keeping a presence on other less-frequented channels.
3: Give Influencer Marketing a Try
One of the absolute best ways of standing out in the eCommerce fashion industry—and a luxury branding agency favourite—is to try your hand at influencer marketing and attaching an influencer to your brand.
As for what they are, influencers are people with large social followings who are liked and loved by people in your niche. As such, whatever they post, be it an update, an image or a video, is likely to get A LOT of likes, shares and comments.
With that in mind, by pairing up with an influencer who posts about your brand and its products, you’ll not only gain exposure from their expanded audience, but by virtue of posting about you, you’ll get their seal of approval that tells their audience, “hey, do you see this brand right here? I like it and you should too!”
4: Show Off Your Reviews
People don’t like bad deals; they don’t like getting ripped off — it’s as simple as that.
For you, this means you have to find a way to put your users at ease while simultaneously making yourself stand out. As to the how, all you have to do is show off your reviews.
From fashion to tech, no matter where you lie in the spectrum of businesses, reviews will always influence a potential buyer’s decisions. For example, if a product has four stars and over 500 reviews, and a competing product from a different brand has three stars and about 200 reviews, it’s likely that a shopper will gravitate toward the former rather than the latter.
Just remember not to single out the positive and leave out the negative. Not only will this make you look bad if your customers start catching on that your product really isn’t worth the high rating, but your primary goal with reviews should be to help your users make a more informed decision, and giving them half of the story is a bad way of doing so.
Instead, show off a good mixture of both, and make sure to reply to the negative ones with an explanation or an offer to improve their experience with you.
5: Embrace Minimalism
A big part of standing out is just that — standing out. In terms of eCommerce, this means decluttering your website so you can actually show off your products.
To do so, embrace a minimalist design that makes use of white space.
For instance, instead of plastering 10 or 20 products on your home page, highlight three to five of your bestselling ones so your users aren’t bombarded with so much information.
6: Use High Quality Imagery
A no-brainer in fashion eCommerce, standing out means using high quality imagery that shows off your products in all their glory.
The thing is, before eCommerce, when stores were solely brick and mortar, shoppers were able to browse through merchandise and truly experience shopping by seeing and feeling everything in person.
Things are different today. Now that we shop through virtual windows, the most we can do is zoom into an image in an effort to establish accurate product representations.
To counter these limitations, your best bet to let your users know you have top-notch products is to use high quality images that establish their quality and authenticity.
The best part is that even if you can’t afford to hire a professional photographer, most smartphones today can take HD images that look good on any screen.
7: Personalise Everything
Something most eCommerce businesses know—and all should know—is that people like being remembered.
In other words, be like Amazon and Netflix and use your user’s browsing habits and purchasing behaviours to recommend products and further modify their experience with you.
Just remember that this means going beyond simply using their names in emails; it means actually paying attention to what they like and want and strategically offering it in a way that pushes them to convert.
8: Offer a Discounts, Rewards or Referral Programs
People like getting a bargain, and they’re wont to shop more with brands that offer the best ones.
This presents a prime opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd. All you have to do is capitalise on this and offer discounts, rewards, referral programs, or other incentives that push one-time customers to become repeat customers.
9: Work on Your Customer Support
Customer service is a very big pain point for eCommerce — nothing is more frustrating than encountering an unpleasant customer service representative.
Unfortunately, if something comes up, it’s something that can’t be avoided.
Apart from ensuring your representatives are always pleasant, you have to place extra emphasis on how you service your customers and make sure every single one of your reps knows exactly what to say and when.
Something else that’s very important is 24/7 coverage. But because that can get pretty expensive, a good way of not only taking care of your customers, but also standing out, is to attach a chatbot to your website that works around the clock and never tires.
10: Don’t Forget About A/B Testing
Finally, you never want to fly blind. That is to say that you’ll never know if your efforts to stand out are actually working if you’re not testing things out.
- Is the influencer you chose actually expanding your brand’s footprint?
- Are the reviews you highlighted helping your audience convert?
- Is your current website design pleasant to the eye?
- Are your images showing off your products in their best angles?
In the end, what will really let you stand out from the crowd is the knowledge that what you’re doing is paying off. If it is, you’ll have a good idea as to what your audience wants and can tailor future efforts accordingly. If it’s not, you’ll know what not to do, which also tells you that some extra changes are needed.
I’ll say it again: running a success fashion eCommerce business is not easy. You have to contend with competitor after competitor, rapidly changing trends, fickle customers, and an array of other issues that all stand in your way of success.
Thankfully, apart from your own wits and smarts, you’ve got the 10 tips for eCommerce success we covered today to bolster your efforts. Let’s take a second look to make sure everything sticks:
- Enter the Mobile World
- Join Social Media
- Give Influencer Marketing a Try
- Show Off Your Reviews
- Embrace Minimalism
- Use High Quality Imagery
- Personalise Everything
- Offer a Discounts, Rewards or Referral Programs
- Work on Your Customer Support
- Don’t Forget About A/B Testing