The e-commerce fashion industry is growing fast. In this article, we give 12 tips aimed at fashion retailers to keep up with the trends and help you grow your online fashion business.
According to a report by Statista, fashion is the largest B2C e-commerce market segment. 9.1%, that’s how much the fashion e-commerce market is expected to grow per year. 2020 the global size was estimated at US$752.5 billion, by the end of 2025, the total market size is expected to be US$1.164,7 billion.
1. Focus on the customer experience
Get to know your customers and help them find what they are looking for as fast and smooth as possible. It should be easy to navigate in your fashion e-commerce store. A product should be available with a few clicks.
It’s important to make the customer feel confident in purchasing on your fashion e-commerce store. Here are some things you can do to increase the trust of your visitors:
Offer easy and smooth deliveries/returns.
It’s important to have an easy way to deliver/return packages. If it is not simple enough, it will probably not result in a purchase in the first place.
According to Postnord, home deliveries are more popular than ever. More and more people choose to have their package delivered directly to their door, instead of picking it up at a parcel agent.
Click and collect/store pickup has grown a lot during the pandemic. This is a perfect option for you who have both a physical store and an online store. Customers can easily place their orders online, to then be able to pick up the package outside/inside the store a few hours later.
Good customer service is no longer an asset to your fashion e-commerce business, it’s a requirement, even more, when your business is online.
Make sure your customer service can handle all the questions about your products or services that your customers may have. Be available by phone and email every day. It’s also a good idea to have a live chat function on your site.
It’s important to offer as much information as possible about the garment. The dimensions of each size, which size the model in the picture is wearing, etc.
AI is always a good idea. Let your customers fill in their body measurements and create an AI model that is looking like themselves. That way, they can try out clothes online and get an idea of how the clothes will fit in real life.
It’s also a good idea to recommend which size your loyal customers should buy, based on previous orders.
Offer different payment methods
The more payment options you offer, the more likely you are to appeal to a wider audience. The easier you make it for people to pay you, the more likely it is that you will have more money coming in.
Did you know that 12% of online shoppers state that they cancelled their last purchase because it was not possible to pay in the way they wanted to?
Swish is one of the fastest-growing payment methods in Sweden and in the ages 18-40, Swish is the favoured online payment method. Swish currently has 7.000.000 users and saw growth of as much as 100% in 2020.
Klarna, a Swedish payment and shopping service for e-commerce sites, online businesses and stores increased its gross merchandise volume by 46% to $56 billion in 2020.
The popular checkout alternative that Klarna is offering, was connecting to Swish this summer. That way e-commerce consumers can now choose to Swish via Klarna Checkout or in Klarna’s app when they order their products online.
PayPal is a global online payment business allowing users to make payments and money transfers online, the service is often considered the leader of the online and mobile payment market. According to Statista, there are 403 million active PayPal users across the world right now, 2021.
Stripe supports payments online and in-person from customers around the world. If you currently have a brick and mortar store, you can add a Stripe POS system in addition to the gateway on your e-commerce site. This way you can remain consistent across both marketplaces.
2. Email marketing
Putting customers at the centre of their fashion email marketing is what separates successful brands from the rest. Build a long-lasting relationship with your customers by sending personalised emails.
Increase sales and inspire your customers
Make use of your customers’ behaviour on your site to send them more relevant product recommendations that can lift your conversion rate, CTR and revenue into double digits.
To get the freshest set of personalised products possible, generate the recommendations when the user opens the email.
Personalise your newsletters
Boost the relevance by including personalised email product recommendations based on each user’s individual behaviour, such as the products they have viewed or purchased.
Include recommendations in your transactional emails
Spur further engagement by adding a block of attractive product recommendations in your ‘order confirmation’ and ‘abandoned basket’ emails.
3. Customer reviews
Online shoppers research before making a purchase, by gathering information about the product they want to buy. Reading user’s experiences, product reviews and ratings is a part of the purchase decision.
Ask for feedback, and take advantage of it
Did you know that...
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- Only 12% of consumers ignore reviews before making a purchase.
- 85% of consumers say they read up to 10 reviews before making their decision.
- 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4-5% increase in conversion rate.
If you ask for feedback and show that you receive it, you will get more honest feedback from your customers. Both good and bad. When you get feedback, you can act on it and get better. You can choose, no feedback and fewer sales or take the feedback and sell more.
Fashion shoppers trust reviews
Customer reviews have become a core part of the fashion shopping journey, they help to answer shoppers questions on the fit, quality and style of individual items. Also, they give a sense of the level of service a customer can expect from a brand.
How to deal with negative reviews
A company with only positive reviews doesn’t feel genuine, customers will suspect reviews are fake if there are no negatives.
Make sure that you have a response strategy that can handle all reviews. Both positive and negative. Dissatisfied, angry, customers are more likely to write a review than happy, satisfied customers.
One thing that is for sure is that bad reviews are not necessarily bad for business. If a retailer responds well, it often leads to purchases by hesitant buyers. It is important to know how to turn a negative review into an opportunity.
4. Optimise your e-commerce SEO
Did you know that 44% of people start their online shopping journey with a Google search?
Having high-quality content on your fashion e-commerce website is one of the best ways to increase traffic and improve your Google search ranking. Find keywords that people search for, choose high-value keywords and publish content that Google searchers want, are some of the things you need to do.
If you aren’t visible on search results, fewer customers know about you, you sell less, and your growth slows down. At the same time, your competitors will increase sales and profits. Here are the three first step on how to optimise your SEO:
Find the right keyword
Keyword research is the process of discovering words that people use in Google, or any other search engine.
It is very important for your e-commerce site that you do keyword research. In fact, it is impossible to optimize your product and category pages without keywords. Researching keywords help you to better understand your target audience. Thanks to keywords research, you get better insight into what customers are searching for and the exact word that they use.
The search volume is how many searchers are made on a specific keyword during a given time period. A keyword is words that a potential customer searches for, to find a product, service or information. Google has its own keyword planner tool, Google Adwords, that makes it easy to find keywords that are relevant. Here you can see what volume each keyword has and see how the number of searches changes over time.
The next step is to see if that particular keyword is relevant. It must be relevant to the specific product being sold. Those keywords that are as close to the product as possible will convert best.
5. Use artificial intelligence to improve product recommendations
Promote complete looks and suggest other completing products that go with the purchase. For example, suggest a nice shirt to the jeans that the customer added to their shopping cart.
Personalised product recommendations are based on what the current visitor has clicked or bought, on what other customers have bought, and on items currently in the shopping cart or that were previously abandoned.
Inspire with the best-selling products
These recommendations display real-time popular and trending products. They are suitable on the start page to welcome visitors and on category pages to show popular products for the specific category.
Benefit from visitors with similar tastes
Shoppers often search for items that go well together. Inspire them by offering products that other people bought after looking at the same product.
Recommendations based on favourites
A customer adding an item to their favourite list says a lot! Take advantage of this information and give your customers personalised product recommendations based on their favourites.
Increase the shopping cart value
There is a golden opportunity to recommend products based on the items in a visitor’s shopping cart. These recommendations are used for both cross-sell and up-sell, and to push the order value above a certain limit by recommending products that will pass the threshold value.
6. Influencer marketing
Influencers can boost your brand, increase sales and reach out directly to your target audience in a way that has never been possible before. Your e-commerce conversion rate is dependent on this.
To try to track everything, and control your merchandising in real-time, is almost impossible. Your merchandising needs to be highly automated, and react to this influence. The more relevant your products are, the more you can increase your sales.
How to start with influencer marketing
Before you start working with influencer marketing, you need to think clearly.
Who are you as a brand, and what value do you create. If it is unclear, you will not be able to clarify that to influencers, and they will certainly not be able to pass on that message to their followers.
Who is your target group? The better you can describe them, the easier it will be for you to understand what kind of influencers you should work with to reach your target group.
What is the goal of the campaign? Is it to increase sales of a particular product, or increase the number of clicks to your online store? Or something completely different? The structure of the collaboration and the selections of influencers, as well as the evaluation of the results, will depend on these factors.
Increase conversions with influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is an effective tool for those who want to increase conversion. Use unique links for each influencer and discounts codes for limited offers. This way you can easily measure how much has been sold thanks to that influencer.
Get influencers involved in the creation process
Nelly.com has for 1,5 years had a collaboration with one of Sweden’s biggest influencers, Bianca Ingrosso. During this collaboration, a certain number of collections that Bianca has been involved in designing have been released, which has been a great profit for Nelly.com.
During the first collection they did together, Nelly.com had more than twice as much traffic on their site, compared to Black Friday. 80% of the collection sold out immediately.
Just a few weeks ago, the latest collection was released. Due to the high pressure, it took less than five minutes for the site to crash. At most, there were 30.000 people in the queue to the side, waiting to check out the collection.
It’s 2021 and there is a higher demand for fashion brands and fashion e-commerce stores. Make it easy for your customers to find which products are sustainably produced, by using a sustainability tag on the product page.
What goes around, comes around.
A good way to meet customers' demands is to offer a second-hand service where you sell second-hand clothes. Offer an easy way to send in items that were previously purchased at your online store, and sell the clothes again, for a better price. Good for both the environment and customers’ wallets.
Everyone needs to take responsibility for creating more sustainable development in e-commerce.
Take your responsibility and use the earth’s resources responsibly. Offer your customers a sustainable delivery option by having sustainable transports.
Production and delivery are more important for consumers from a sustainability perspective. Many customers want better insight into the production chain. Offer your customers full traceability in the supply chain. Customers can then see where everything is manufactured, produced and where it comes from. This is to meet consumers’ demands and ever-increasing expectations.
Plastic packaging belongs to the past, today, it needs to be recycled, compostable or plant-based packaging.
As e-commerce grows, the issue of sustainable deliveries and packaging has come into increasing focus. To work with sustainability is now a rule, rather than an exception. Packaging the products in recyclable materials has increased by eight percentage points between 2019 and 2020.
Less air provides more sustainable e-commerce. Packages purchased in e-commerce contain an average of 30% air. By packaging in smaller boxes, the climate impact is reduced and it’s cheaper to ship.
8. E-commerce site search
How important is site search for your e-commerce site? More important than you can think!
If the customer finds the right product, the chance of sales and conversion increases. It also creates loyalty and security in the customer that makes them feel secure in coming back. But if someone searches for a product and it is not included in the search result, the visitor may think that it is not in your e-commerce site, when it may just be hiding under another name.
Personalized site search presents the most relevant products to online shoppers.
AI-driven site search is a powerful component for any e-commerce site and can contribute to increased revenue, conversion, and profits.
By using AI and machine learning for different aspects of the search functionality you can also greatly improve the shopping experience.
As the user starts typing in the search box, AI instantly suggests the fastest route to the intended product by making the most relevant suggestions of products, categories and content.
Enable customers to easily find more content such as store locations, delivery information, care instructions and brand information. It simply adds depth to the search result.
Visual search optimisation boosts conversion and engagement. The customer experience would be much better if you offer an image-based search where users could use images to search for other similar products.
9. A/B testing
Think outside the box and try new things. You need to be unique and stand out from the mass of companies that sell the same products.
It’s a good idea to do A/B tests to see what works for your customers. A/B testing means that visitors view 1 of 2 different versions of a page. One is called the A version and the other one is called the B version. They usually have slightly different designs or some other differences.
You collect data from real visitors during the test; that way you can measure which of the pages converts best. This is a very powerful approach for increased conversion, as you will find which design solutions give the best results.
Pros with A/B testing
- Your visitors don’t notice the test, their behaviour is not coloured by the fact that they are test persons.
- The results can give you new insights into how your visitors behave and what works and doesn’t work. This allows you to make more informed decisions and optimise your website.
Cons with A/B testing
- A/B tests take time and resources. You need to have an idea about an improvement and then develop two versions to test.
- Even if you have designed a good test, it doesn’t automatically mean that the results are useful. The test result may not show any significant difference between the A version and the B version.
10. Do marketing through video
In the past few years, a lot has happened in content marketing, and video content is more important than ever. Videos are the most effective way to market a product. By filming creative, good-quality videos, you can raise the awareness of your brand and increase sales.
A survey showed that 86% of businesses used video as a marketing tool in 2021.
Over 2 billion logged-in users visit YouTube each month, and every day people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views.
Research by Wyzowl shows that 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool. This was 85% in 2020, 87% in 2019, 81% in 2018, 63% in 2017 and 61% in 2016.
The research also shows that:
- 96% of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service.
- 84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
- 78% of video marketers say video has directly helped increase sales.
Types of e-commerce videos:
Product close-up video
Product close-up videos zoom in on your product and display specific features viewers may not see in pictures, or demonstrate a function that has to be observed very closely, or simply show off your product from multiple angles.
Product overview video
This type of video gives the customer a more in-depth overview of the product.
The customer can learn more about the features and benefits of your product. Usually, this type of video features someone demonstrating the product and explaining why you should consider buying it.
Customer testimonial video
Customer Testimonials videos feature past or current customers sharing their positive experiences with your brand, product, or service.
Testimonial Videos are powerful tools, especially when it comes to persuading prospects about the value of your brand. They can help you increase trust in your brand, humanize your business, and increase the likelihood of customers buying your product.
11. Augmented reality in fashion
The fashion industry is tough and many companies are in a massive digital change. Retailers need to rethink their priorities. They have to embrace trends, tools and technologies that will allow them to win the loyalty of today’s shoppers. Augmented reality is one of these technologies.
Augmented reality and e-commerce
With the help of interactive visual design such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and 3D imagery, the customer can get a better sensory experience and a better understanding of what to expect with their product while shopping online.
According to marxent labs, By 2020, AR is expected to generate $120 billion in revenue.
They also report that:
- 77% of shoppers want to see product features like colours or style.
- 72% of shoppers purchased items they had not planned to purchase because of Augmented Reality.
- 68% of shoppers spent more time with products if AR was available.
- 65% want product information through AR.
- 61% of shoppers prefer retailers that offer AR over those that don’t.
- 55% say AR makes shopping fun.
Fashion e-commerce businesses that use Augmented reality
One area that benefits of using Augmented Reality in e-commerce are for items where aesthetics or other physical traits, such as size, are primary factors driving the purchase decision for the customer.
Several online retailers are using augmented reality to improve the shopping experience for their customers. Here are some examples:
- Nike Fit: Using your smartphone’s camera, Nike Fit scans your feet, collecting 13 data points mapping your foot morphology for both feet. Once the scan is complete, your unique foot dimension can then easily be used for future shopping online and in-store at Nike.
- Warby parker’s virtual try-on: Virtual Try-On is a feature in the Warby Parker iOS app that allows you to virtually try on eyeglasses and sunglasses.
Benefits of augmented reality for fashion e-commerce
As an online fashion brand, you can leverage AR to drive awareness of your brand and attract new shoppers, and improve the customer experience for existing customers.
12. Social commerce
Combining e-commerce with social media is very powerful. It enables consumers to explore and find products that they usually are not looking for on a fashion e-commerce site.
60% of consumers use social media to research new products and services.
See it - click it - buy it
Currently, social media platforms that allow social commerce are, among others, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and TikTok.
They make it possible for customers to see a product on the app, hit the “buy now” button, and then complete the purchase right there, still in the app. Pinterest doesn’t work the same way, where the customers are redirected to an e-commerce site, and can therefore not complete the purchase in the app.
Who are the shoppers?
It’s a fact, consumer habits have shifted to social media. Generation Z (born 1995-2012) are more or less born with a phone, or any other mobile device, in hand and have a completely different approach to social media and digitisation in general, compared to previous generations.
- 60% of Generation Z in the US use Instagram to discover new brands, products and services.
- 48% of Americans aged 18-34 have purchased social media.
Social commerce growth
Social commerce is expected to account för 4.3% of all retail e-commerce sales in the US in 2021, according to Business Insider. Emarketer forecasts that social commerce will rise by $34.8% billion to $36.09 billion in 2021.
Today, the category that remains the largest for social commerce is fashion categories including apparel and accessories.
In other words, social commerce is an e-commerce trend that is here to stay, and it will be very powerful in the future.