Success in the world of fashion eCommerce can be elusive. Competition is fierce and the bottom line is often defined by the appearance, usability, and mobility of your website. According to Statista, 25 percent of users abandon shopping carts due to complicated navigation, 21 percent because the ordering process takes too long, and 15 percent because the website times out.
Shopping cart abandonment is steadily increasing every year, and the monetary losses are staggering. In fact, Business Insider reports that about $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online carts in 2015.
The growing influence of mobile is an opportunity no retailer can afford to ignore. eMarketer predicts that 25 percent of eCommerce sales will be conducted from mobile devices by 2017. This “move” will translate into billions of dollars, and will also continue to increase.
But these are only a few parts of the equation. Grabbing more market share than your competitors requires a comprehensive marketing strategy. Here are 11 tips to help you stand out from the crowd and turn your website into a money-making machine.
1. Give Your Regular Customers Love.
According to the Harvard Business Review, it can cost anywhere from five to twenty-five percent more to acquire new customers than to keep existing ones. Your customer retention strategy should include loyalty programs such as discounts for frequent customers. They will be far less likely to browse your competitors’ sites when they know they can buy from your fashion eCommerce store to get the quality products they’re used to at a more favorable price.
2. Offer Customer Support.
Nothing frustrates a customer more than poor customer service. If you make returning items difficult, customers are likely to buy from a competitor the next time around. According to the Wall Street Journal, about a third of all Internet transactions are returned. If possible, have customer service agents available around-the-clock to field and resolve customer inquiries. Great customer support can significantly shorten the sales cycle and keep your customers coming back for more.
3. Give Customers a Reason to Come Back.
Speaking of keeping customers coming back, create and execute an email marketing campaign that delivers a new promotion into their inbox each week. Your fashion eCommerce store stays top-of-mind and, if different promotions are segmented to the right customer lists, you can count on more sales—not to mention a high ROI.
4. Use Amazing Images.
It’s no secret that successful fashion eCommerce requires excellent photography. Most stock images simply don’t cut it anymore. Hire a professional fashion photographer to take high quality photos of your inventory that go beyond the simple product shot to tell your brand story. Your store will outshine your competitors and the ROI will be well worth it.
5. Tell Stories.
Rather than just writing plain product descriptions, create vibrant stories that help your customers better imagine owning your product. For example, change “a gorgeous evening gown perfect for any party,” to “Picture yourself as the ‘it’ girl at your next extravagant party by wearing this elegant black and white dress that will make you the bell of the ball.”
6. Be Easy to Find.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is another critical component of your fashion eCommerce strategy. After all, if it’s difficult to find your website in the first place, how do you really expect to make sales? Work with an SEO consultant to make sure the copy on the page is optimized for every product, in addition to the meta tags that give search engines the information they need to properly index your product pages.
Smart partnerships are always important when it comes to developing a successful fashion website. Build relationships with key influencers and bloggers who can be invaluable brand ambassadors for your eCommerce site. Start by reaching out to well-known reviewers who will lend a quote to the quality of your product, and develop relationships with industry websites who may allow you to post guest blogs and/or be one of their featured fashion sites.
8. Keep It Clean.
It may go without saying, but keeping your fashion eCommerce website clean is critical if you want visitors to continue browsing (and hopefully click the “buy now” button). Your user interface has to be impeccable, as does making the overall user experience as simple and interactive as possible. With so many other options, a buyer who’s ready to pull the trigger may leave for a competitor’s site because viewing product specs is difficult and reviewing checkout information is confusing.
9. Be Mobile.
If you’re seeing 25-30% of your customers coming from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, consider embracing responsive design for your website. They’re far more likely to browse your site on their tablet or smartphone on-the-go, so your fashion eCommerce site needs to be easy to read and interact with on any device.
The importance of differentiation in the fashion game can’t be overstated. With so much competition online, your best bet is to focus on a niche and spend your money on demonstrating your expertise in that niche. For instance, in the example above, focusing on extravagant evening gowns can be more lucrative than simply selling a wide variety of inexpensive dresses.
11. Get Pricing Right.
After everything you’ve done to get potential customers to purchase a product, the last thing you want to do is lose them because a competitor has a slightly lower price. Perform meticulous research on pricing, and always offer a bonus coupon or future promotion opportunity to give them the confidence to keep typing in that credit card number.
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