With online shopping now valued at $1.2514 billion worldwide, it’s time to ask the question: what is the recipe to ensure your e-commerce site is a success? After many years of working with the world’s best fashion brands, retailers and creative agencies of all shapes and sizes, we share our thoughts on the key ingredients to building and sustaining a competitive edge with your virtual storefront.
With online shopping now valued at $1.2514 billion worldwide, it’s time to ask the question: what is the recipe to ensure your e-commerce site is a success? After many years of working with the world’s best fashion brands, retailers, and creative agencies of all shapes and sizes, we share our thoughts on the key ingredients to building and sustaining a competitive edge with your virtual storefront.
Good design is good business
Finding the right design for your site is crucial. Design is important and can make the difference between consumers choosing your site or avoiding it. Many websites today use the same template, making it increasingly difficult for consumers to differentiate between them. Ensure that your aesthetic remains individual to your brand and complements your product offering.
Word spreads fast
Don’t take the value of PR for granted. With all the noise out there, it’s important to have a strong PR team that can generate a good buzz for your site and get the right editors writing about your products. Utilizing paid services like Fashion Monitor, Fashion GPS Radar and PR Newswire are great ways to expand the footprint of your PR to reach as many editors and bloggers worldwide as possible via their contacts, network and distribution services. Be it agency, in-house team or just starting with a part-time freelancer; a handful of good stories can truly be the difference between failure and success.
Keep it clean
It is an imperative that the site itself is easy to use and well presented. The mindset and mood of the consumer will impact their buying behavior, the type and value of items they purchase and ultimately, where they choose to buy. Ensuring the site is easy to navigate and as interactive as possible will guarantee consumers enjoyment.
Don’t miss the boat
Too many times retailers forget that if you can’t get your product to the customers as quickly as possible that customer will find somewhere else to get it. Shoppers are fickle and with the world being at their finger tips, they want items pretty much immediately. Being on top of your game with your supply chain is vital. Having products loaded into your warehouse and images shot for the web and up on your site to sell ASAP, are other things that can make or break a sale. In 2012, international e-commerce giant, ASOS, said in their Chairman’s Statement, “Our implementation of Fashion GPS [now Launchmetrics], our bar-coding system for samples, has also improved our ability to get products on sale more quickly“. Here’s food for thought: how will your site compare to the speed and newness that mega e-commence brands have?
Get ready for your close-up
First impressions are everything and photography can make the difference whether or not you engage a new site visitor. Imagery must be clear and nicely shot, so the consumer can see how well-made the garment is in addition to how well it fits. Photography does not have to be expensive, but it is very important to find the right photographer that can provide the best shots to illustrate your pieces.
Out of sight, out of mind
It’s important to encourage consumer loyalty wherever possible, as repeat customers are vital to all successful businesses. This can be improved by consumer dialogue and tools allowing consumers to feel important. For us, the most innovative features for this include a personalized styling tool and ‘dressing up box’ (allowing loyal customers to try items before purchasing). This gives consumers time to consider their purchases and makes them feel that they are included in the process as opposed to just being another customer. Additionally, ensuring that you are using a robust CRM system, like GPS Contacts, helps you builder deeper relationships with these customers and facilitates clear communications – allowing you to build and send all types of mailers, including important company updates, seasonal deals and more.
A final thought…
M-commerce sales are rocketing and will be a key sales vehicle for many years to come. With 1 in 10 shoppers now frequently using their smartphones or tablet devices to browse or buy clothing, any retailers lagging behind will forfeit a substantial generator of sales. It is important to have as much mobile presence as possible – whether it’s an iPad app or simply an Android-friendly website. This will allow users to shop on the go and opens up new avenues for them to visit your site.