E-commerce growth accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. And as many pandemic habits, like Zoom calls or working from home, buying online is here to stay. It is hard to imagine a fashion brand in 2022 that is not thinking about the online strategy and opening a direct-to-consumer store. However, in an industry that was focused on the brick-and-mortar experience for such a long time there are still a lot of question about how you should go about e-commerce strategy. Easysize shares some tips on how to succeed in online business (you have to actually try).
Leverage e-commerce enablers
You don’t have to do everything yourself. There are now lots of e-commerce enablers on the market that can be added to your store like building blocks to streamlining creating, running and sustaining an online business.
A couple of examples of brands we recommend:
- Communication platforms like Klaviyo or Mailchimp can help you engage with shoppers at the right times with the right messages
- Personalisation SaaS, like Easysize, size and fit recommendation: when your shoppers are confident about the size they’re purchasing, you can expect higher conversion rate, higher AOV and fewer returns for your business
- Conversational tech, like Certainly: a chatbot that helps you engage with customers 24/7 with complex human-like interactions
- Services like ReferralCandy allow you to build referral programs out-of-the-box and increase orders through word of mouth
- Review platforms like YotPo or Stamoped will help to get more reviews for the products, building social proof for your brand
And if you are using a platform such as Shopify installing apps to improve your store becomes even easier: the majority of apps in the Shopify app store have the installation process taken care of. Easysize recently launched Fit Quiz app: in just under 10 minutes a fashion store can be ready to deliver personalized size recommendations to their shoppers without any additional tech help.
Elevate your customer’s experience
According to the latest report from Business of Fashion, 71% of customers expect a personalised experience when shopping online. Just having a good user experience in your store won’t cut: you need to make it a great UX for every shopper. Product recommendations, loyalty programs, customer support — all are good building blocks for this goal.
Personalisation for fashion e-commerce may be hard, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Make sure you understand the pitfalls of copy-and-paste approach of some of the tools and “under the hood” processes of the SaaS you choose to install.
Improve your SEO
Your new customers will probably find you through search engines: make sure you’re showing up on the first page of the results for relevant queries. Th easiest way would be to purchase ads, however not all small brands have the budget. But SEO is accessible for everybody: work on your backlinks, keywords on the pages, meta information for site; There are lots of really comprehensive guides on this, for example this one from Hubspot. Or you can hire a freelance specialist who will help you with the set up.
There are also ready-to-use Shopify apps for SEO which can make this process very easy for you. For example, SEO Manager from Venntov which will give you tips on improving your store’s search rankings and give you feedback on the current performance.
Regularly get feedback from customers
The best advice on how to improve your business is actually coming from your customers: what do they like about your brand? What they don’t? Where did they have a great or a bad experience when buying from you? Talking to your shoppers will give you tons of ideas on how you can improve and in what direction you can grow. Plus, product reviews in your store will always be a great social proof for future customers.
Follow the data
The great thing about going online is that you will have a lot of data for every stage of the buying journey. Where your customers are coming from, what they are looking at, how long they need to think about the purchase, whether they come back: the answers to these questions and more are going to be easily accessible through analytics. The important thing is to take care of it as early as possible, so you don’t miss important signals in the early stages of the launch. Remember to always come back to the data to identify trends and make adjustments in your strategy.
Increase your sustainability efforts
Sustainability and ethical efforts are now important factors that shoppers consider when choosing a brand. Make sure you are decreasing the footprint on ecology, for example, reduce returns (which are probably costing you a lot) or using eco-friendly packaging. Be sure to be authentic about it, though; greenwashing can be just as bad as not caring about the environment at all. A great way to build and verify your responsibility strategy is to use an app like Compare Ethics which allows you to be data-driven about the impact and its management.
For return management (to make sure the items are re-used and nothing is wasted) you can use apps like Loop Returns (they have a sustainability program) or Return Magic.
Level up your social media
You probably already are on social media platforms with your brand (if not, what are waiting for?), but in order to stand out you need to level up your game. Are you following the trends? Are you posting regularly? Are you checking what content performs best (follow the data, remember?). Are you making sure that the format and message fits the platform you’re posting it at? And do you work with influencers: the opinion leaders for niche audiences?
Social media is not just Facebook and Instagram anymore. TikTok is the fastest growing social media which gained massive popularity in 2020 and continues to grow worldwide, especially among Gen Z. Plus, its partnership with Shopify allows merchants to sell products in the app, making it way easier to convert a viewer into a customer.
It may sound overwhelming, but there are actually a lot of tools to help you with managing channels, for example Sprout Social, AgoraPulse, or even HootSuite. And if you start working with influencers platforms like Make Influence are a great choice to keep track of performance and manage all the campaigns in one place.
Community and audience
We’ve mentioned a community in the previous point, but let’s focus on it. You need to build an active fanbase if you will, not just Instagram followers or email list. Do you actually talk to your shoppers or just send them discount offers? Do you post for the sake of posting or do you actually listen to customers’ feedback on social media, engage with them and take note? These things matter and people will notice if your brand is actively listening, not just playing the numbers game.
Saying that we're living in "unusual times" is a real cliche at this point, but it's still true. But even now starting and growing a fashion e-commerce is totally possible, you just have to be smart about it. Following the steps we've provided in the article will help not to miss out on any details.