How to Optimize Your Homepage Design

How to Optimize Your Homepage Design

Your fashion eCommerce website’s homepage is your digital storefront. And just like your physical storefront, it needs to be welcoming, well designed and easy on the eyes.

A recent study by Shopify found that over half of buyers have shifted more of their spending online during the pandemic, and 40% said an easy-to-navigate website made their shopping experience a positive one. 

With so many choices out there, it’s crucial to make sure your web store provides a positive user experience. This involves multiple elements, but rethinking your web design is key. On average, visitors will spend 10-20 seconds on your homepage before they bounce. So you need to make a strong first impression, fast

Here’s how to optimize your homepage and get your visitors to convert to customers.

Use a strong header image

Your homepage should display your unique value proposition, or what gives people a reason to choose you over your competitors. This could be your sustainability efforts, your distinctive designs. Anything that sets your brand apart.

Using a strong header image that clearly communicates your brand’s unique style straight away is not only immediately enticing to your visitors, but also reduces the number of choices they have to make. Give them one compelling thing to click on and you take away the paradox of choice, making their shopping experience much more enjoyable.

Everlane is one such example of a brand that features one strong image “above the fold,” or in the upper half of the page. Their homepage presents their latest campaign in a way that feels evergreen and fully representative of their brand, regardless of how new or old the product is. The photos are friendly and inviting, drawing the visitor in.

Have a clear visual hierarchy

Keep the design of your homepage simple, and have a logical navigational structure. Make it easy for your visitors by prioritizing important products and putting key information front and center.

Fawne Shoppe has a straightforward visual hierarchy on their homepage, starting with their most recent drop and descending through the collections. The call to actions (“shop now,” “have a look,” “shop our edit”) are consistent, but not repetitive. A banner menu at the top enables visitors to immediately see and navigate their most popular shopping categories, such as “new,” “designers,” and “baby” and “kids” clothes.

Make it engaging

Fashion retailer Madewell was found by SEM Rush to be one of the most engaging US fashion eCommerce websites, with a low bounce rate of 22%, and it’s easy to see why. A recent visit to their homepage presented their latest collection with fresh, welcoming photos and a hard-to-resist offer of the “ideal fall wardrobe, narrowed down to six easy pieces.”

You can make your homepage equally as engaging by championing your key offering(s) with a strong design and appealing color palette. Pay attention to what your customers like about your brand and put that in the spotlight on your homepage. Speak to them with a warm and friendly tone, and try to reflect the values you share, to make it resonate.

Kabayare Fashion is another client of ours who does this well. Their homepage features large, compelling photos followed by special items from their latest collection. They also feature blog posts which speak directly to visitors, whether to wish them a happy holiday or to share style advice. It’s thoughtful content that engages and encourages their visitors.

Present your best offer

Aside from stunning photography of your latest and greatest products, your homepage should feature your best deals. This could mean a seasonal sale, special promotion, or membership discount.

For example, direct-to-consumer lingerie brand Savage X Fenty leads with the latter, promoting their “New Xtra VIP Xclusive” offer to encourage new visitors to sign up to their subscription service. Urban Outfitters plugs their latest sale with a bold banner ad at the top of their homepage that features a “limited time only” discount. Whichever option is relevant for you, lead with your best offer and keep it simple with one clear call to action.

Include important information in the footer

Homepage footers are not to be overlooked, as they’re a place many shoppers are trained to go to to find lower priority yet still important information. Here you should have links regarding contact information, customer service, and refund and exchange policies. Beyond this, also include your social media links, email sign-up field, brand information links and a careers link.

The footer is also a great place to enhance shopper trust by featuring the logos of credit cards and other payment options you accept, as well as badges for security services you have an account with, such as McAfee or GeoTrust. This shows visitors that your store is both reputable and user-friendly, which is especially important for the 17% of consumers who abandon their carts due to a lack of trust.

The footer can also be a place to put useful information such as a list of “top searches,” which is what Madewell does in the footer of their homepage. It allows their visitors to easily click through to popular items such as “skinny jeans” and “tote bags.” These kinds of details show that you’re paying attention to what your customers love about your brand, and suggests that you want to make things easier for them.

Conclusion

These are all relatively simple steps to achieving a strong homepage design and creating a positive user experience. Once you’ve done all of this, ensure your homepage is refreshed regularly, as you release new collections and as seasons and demand changes. With a little effort you can create a highly favorable online shopping experience.

We’ve helped many of our clients design and develop engaging homepage designs. We also work with our clients using best-in-class conversion rate optimization software to improve their homepage engagement and conversion. If you’d like to know more about how we can do the same for you, please contact us.

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How to Drive Customer Loyalty and Reward Regulars at Your Fashion Web Store

How to Drive Customer Loyalty and Reward Regulars at Your Fashion Web Store

New customers are hard to come by, and they’re also expensive. According to The Harvard Review, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. 

On the other hand, repeat customers are nine times more likely to convert than a first-time shopper. They also have a higher average order value than first-time buyers, so they have a higher lifetime value (as they’re expected to spend more over a longer period of time). The bottom line is, it makes sense to hang on to your loyal customers, and reward them. 

Brands can reward their repeat customers in a number of different ways. Here are three tactics you can use to increase customer loyalty and keep regular customers returning to your fashion eCommerce website.

Develop a loyalty program

Loyalty programs are a form of gamification, or the application of game principles to non-game contexts (such as eCommerce) to motivate participation and reward long-term engagement. They were first popularized by grocery stores in the 1950s, who gave customers stamps every time they made a purchase. Since then theyhave evolved into sophisticated programs that not only improve customer retention, but also build community and drive sales online.

Loyalty programs can offer all kinds of different rewards to repeat shoppers and can be set up in a number of different ways.Your loyalty program could be as simple as offering a discount on any customer’s second purchase, or after a certain dollar amount in purchases. You could also implement a points system, where a customer must accrue points assigned to dollar values and get rewarded once they reach a certain threshold of points. Or you could offer access to exclusive merchandise or services.

Some brands are now adding gamification to their rewards programs in the form of animated interactive spinning wheels on their landing pages. Customers can click the wheel and “spin to win,” unlocking an offer such as a percentage discount or free shipping.

Create a referral program

Referral programs are another form of gamification, where your loyal customers send people to your eCommerce store to purchase and/or sign up and, in return, they are rewarded. The referrals can be your customer’s friends and family (“refer a friend”), or people they don’t know personally but that they’re connected with on social media.

These programs work well because people are likely to recommend brands they’re loyal customers of anyway, so a referral program incentivizes them to do so—hopefully with added frequency and enthusiasm.

Referral programs are sometimes called the “digital marketing dark horse” because of their lower level of use. A Gigaom survey found that only 39% of marketers use referral marketing regularly, yet 43% of companies that use referral marketing consistently acquire more than 35% of their new customers with it.

You can implement a referral program that either rewards only your customer providing the referrals, or both the existing customer and the new customer. However, the more incentive you provide, the more likely your program is to be successful. Rewards can come in the form of price discounts or points that accumulate toward those discounts. There are a number of platforms that can help you manage this, such as Talkable, ReferralCandy, Ambassador, SaaSquatch and Buyapowa.

Offer personalized discounts

Beyond traditional loyalty and referral programs, personalized discounts are another way to further engage and reward your valued customers, and there are a number of strategies for sharing these. You could utilize smart tags to show customers personalized discounts based on the categories they’re browsing on your website. Or reward your newsletter subscribers by including special deals that are only available to your subscribers. You could also reward your social media followers by offering special discounts only via these channels.

Discounts can also be sent more individually, via email and SMS marketing. For every customer that has an account or profile with your website, send out special discounts on their birthday. Or send special discounts on other special occasions, such as the anniversary of your store, or the anniversary of your customer’s account creation or first purchase.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are numerous strategies for engaging and rewarding your most valued repeat shoppers. All of them build on your community and increase engagement by rewarding customers that are loyal to your brand. Whichever tactic you choose, make sure that it’s not too complex and difficult for customers to understand, otherwise they’ll be less likely to engage with it. Make rewards easy to redeem, and ensure that the value is there so that customers will want to use them. We can help you to retain and reward your loyal customers—reach out to us for help with strategizing and implementing a loyalty program today.

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Free Guide: How to Optimize Your Apparel eCommerce’s Product Pages

Free Guide: How to Optimize Your Apparel eCommerce’s Product Pages

Your product pages hold all the relevant information about the garments you sell. Most product pages include the product description, cost, customer reviews, images and call to actions. While many consumers enjoy viewing high-quality pictures of the clothing, it is not enough to drive sales. Instead, you want the user experience on your product pages to persuade shoppers to add items to their cart that ultimately lead to a transaction. If your conversion rate could use that extra boost, here is a guide on the best ways to optimize your apparel webstore’s product pages.

Write Unique Product Descriptions

Product descriptions are where your apparel brand’s writer can get creative. Creative product descriptions add life and personality to a garment. This personality is a showcase of who your brand is. Showcasing your brand’s personality throughout all the elements on your website will help you gain credibility and trust from your shoppers. The Fawn Shoppe has fun product descriptions for their children’s clothing:

This section of your product page is where your brand will describe the piece of clothing — the material, the color, the design, the different elements and any other relevant information. Every description needs to answer obvious and frequently asked questions that shoppers may have about the product. Always remember to include enough details about each product, so the customer knows exactly what they are buying.  Product descriptions can also help with your SEO efforts. In general, your brand will rank higher in search engines if each product has a unique caption. No matter how tempting it is, do not copy and paste manufacturers’ descriptions or use description generators. Generic manufacturer description will actually drop your ranking due to the original caption already ranking for the first website. 

A company that InteractOne works with, Schuler Shoes, includes unique, structured product descriptions that not only provide details but more information and questions and answers sections:

Allow Customers to Write Reviews

Reviews can play a huge role in helping a customer decide if they buy the clothing you are selling. On average, companies that include customer reviews have converted 58% more customers, increased revenue by 62% and increased order value by 3% over other webstores. Simply put, social proof is more important than ever and many shoppers look for reviews to explain the quality, the sizing and FAQs around products. When it comes to apparel, consumers also like to see how the piece fits on another person similar to their body type. Reviews are important for every type of eCommerce; however, since you can get a real image to show how the apparel items look on an actual person, you have a higher chance of gaining more reviews and customers if you allow reviewers to post images along with their written opinion. Some brands also allow customers to choose the size they are commenting on and their location. 

Kabayare Fashion provides an excellent example of including customer reviews on their products:

Include a Clear Call to Action

An important element on your product pages that needs to be fully optimized is the call to action (CTA.) This is where users will click and add the item to their cart. On all your pages, you need to place your CTA front and center and not around any design or copy elements that would be distracting. Keep the copy inside the button simple and direct like Add to Cart, Buy Now or Reserve Now. If you are not sure if your CTA buttons are working, you can A/B test the design, placement and copy. You can spend hours A/B testing on your own, but a knowledgeable marketing firm can efficiently and quickly zero down onto the issue and fix it right away.

Use Unique, High-Quality Media

One of the first elements that customers will see once they enter your product page is its media. When we refer to media, we’re referring to any images, graphics or videos. All the media on your product pages need to be unique from each other and high-quality so shoppers can see everything. For product images, include different angles of the product, and for videos, show a 360 degree shot of the items. While working on your media, especially images, keep the dimensions and specifications as uniform as possible. This will help your user interaction and keep your brand looking professional. Customers, especially mobile users, prefer square photos and thumbnails. And, many companies like Amazon and Etsy use 1000X1000 pixels as their image requirement. Feel free to play around with image sizing on desktop and mobile before publishing the page live for shoppers to see. You can also add extra viewing tools like zoom controls so they can see even more details and embellishments up close.

Utilize SEO

As you already know, SEO is search engine optimization, which is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility on search engines like Google. Just like every other page or element on your website, product pages are an SEO-rich area. Optimized SEO on your apparel eCommerce’s product pages will help your brand rank higher in search engines. To have a fully optimized SEO, you will need to include all the SEO basics like unique title tags, meta descriptions, long-tail keywords, internal links, etc. If you want to dive deeper, we have an SEO checklist to help drive sales. Once you have the basics down, you can then include advanced SEO measures for better-optimized product pages. Since there are many elements, steps and requirements that go with setting up the perfect SEO, many companies prefer to work with a marketing team like InteractOne to help your brand’s SEO reach its fullest potential.

Include Social Media Proof

To not confuse social media with reviews, reviews are the content generated by customers that stays on your site, while social media is content created by your customers, influencers or even yourself that lives on the social media platform it was posted on. Social media is not for every apparel company but it can help out your product pages if your brand does use it. Just like how reviews help potential customers understand how others like the product, social media will help as well. People prefer seeing how the garment fits on another person similar to their size. The more social proof on product pages, the more potential customers you can reach. Social media proof on product pages also adds credibility and trust to your brand and clothing items. To learn more about how your brand can best utilize social media, we created a guide on the best social media tactics to use to increase traffic.

Stay on Brand

All the content on your product pages, whether it is images, videos, graphics, social media or copy, needs to reflect your brand. New and old customers should be able to recognize your brand instantly with every product. To stay on brand, follow the guidelines that your company created. Having a brand guide is vital in creating and implementing any designs, copy, graphics, videos and any other content you want to use. Essentially, how can you stay o brand and on message if your brand isn’t defined? That’s where you create a brand guideline that determines who and what your brand is. Once you understand the who and what about your brand, you can take that personality to the digital world. These guidelines need to include your brand’s copy and design elements, as well as your target audience.

There are many more ways to optimize your product pages. We even have a guide on the keys to a successful product page. To learn how InteractOne can help you increase traffic on your product pages and throughout your apparel webstore, contact us today.

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7 Ways to Strengthen Your Apparel & Accessories Brand

7 Ways to Strengthen Your Apparel & Accessories Brand

Having a strong brand or brand presence is crucial to having a successful eCommerce business. But what is the best ways to build your online brand? Here are  seven techniques that your company can use to strengthen your brand.

Communicate Your Brand’s Value

Prospects are on the hunt for clues as to whether or not they can consider shopping from your brand. They look for some type of value or perspective that they agree with. Value doesn’t just shave to do with the products themselves or even the product price but instead encompasses all areas of your business like customer service, innovation and employees. You can also build your brand by supporting a specific cause.

Nutraceutical has a great example of explaining their brand’s value on their about us page:

Stay Consistent

Customers should be able to recognize your brand immediately. Between the copy, design, images and videos, every element your company uses should match your brand’s value, tone and aesthetic. That’s why tools such as a company brand guide are so important. So your team know the rules of the road as it were.

Establish a Social Media Presence

Social media isn’t for every brand, but it can help strengthen your brand’s credibility and awareness. Right now there are 3.6 billion social media users. Having a social media presence will also help you build a community of followers and supporters who can refer others to your business.

The Fawn Shoppe has a successful social media presence that not only has a large following but stays true and consistent to who they are as a brand:

Know Your Audience

A successful business relies on converting your potential customers in your target audience. To do this, you must know what your customers need or are looking for. Once you know what they need or want, you can craft your business strategies and mission statement in the most effective way.

Know Your Marketplace

Just like how you should know your audience, you should also know your marketplace. A marketplace is the area where commercial dealings occur. Since the internet is a wide, vast area, you need to find your market niche — clothing, sports, medical, etc — and advertise there. While you are researching your audience, you need to research your competitors as well. As we mentioned about, through research, you will discover things about your customers like demographics, geological location and other characteristics. While researching your competition, you will understand how they do business like how they treat customers, prices and brand design. Once you know this information about your competitors, you will want to have the same or better standard than them.

Highlight the Best You Have

This is where you display why your customers need your product and how it will benefit them. Here you answer product, price, promotion and place.

Product

Whether you sell clothing, kitchenware, sports equipment or anything else, you must have a clear vision of what your product or service is and why it is unique from others. This is where you let customers know all the best attributes of your products, how it will make their lives better and why it is different from anything else they have bought. You will focus on products heavily on your product pages and social media through copy, videos and images.  

Price

While determining the price of an item is more for internal knowledge, it is important to understand it to strengthen your brand. Price decisions must include how your price will impact supply, profit margins, demand and market strategies. Also, think about price elasticity of demand, the responsiveness of customers when a product’s cost changes, because it does affect the next two p’s. 

Promotion

Once you have your product and price picked, it is time to think of the promotions that revolve around it. Promotion does not always mean a discount or offer, but it also means how you plan on showcasing a product whether it be in a lookbook, advertisement or collection.You will want to promote on your website, social media, emails and any other marketing materials you decide to use. 

Place

Now that you have the product, price and promotion, it’s time to place the product somewhere. For your company, you will place your products on your website, emails, advertising and social media if you use it. By placing the product in multiple places, you have more chances of converting existing and prospective customers. Not all users will make a purchase, but the engagements and impressions will help your brand tremendously. 

Learning Express Toys and Gifts lays out a great example of the four p’s by highlighting its top toys and best sellers under the trending tab:

Continue to Promote

Quality products will only get you so far. Promoting your business on an ongoing, consistent basis will strengthen your brand’s presence overall. Show who your brand is, what you  sell and why, plus any other relevant information through social media, emails, events and offers or discounts. Be your company’s brand ambassador.

Continue to Promote Know Your Marketplace

Research not only your customers but competitors as well. Through research you will discover things about your customers like their demographics, geological location and other characteristics. Researching your competitors allows you to know how they do business: ie: how they treat customers, pricing strategy  and brand design. Knowing these can help inform your efforts to create a strong, reliable business.

Conclusion

If you strengthen your brand, your company will flourish for many years to come. There are many more ways to create a stronger brand presence, and a knowledgeable marketing firm can help you achieve it. For ways on how InteractOne can help your company, contact us today.

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Minimize Returns. Retain Customers. Here’s How:

Minimize Returns. Retain Customers. Here’s How:

Returns are one of the biggest challenges facing fashion eCommerce stores. In 2019, retail merchandise returned in the United States accounted for $309 billion, and it’s estimated that 15% to 40% of online purchases are returned. As eCommerce continues to grow over the next several years, the amount of returns is estimated to reach “over a trillion dollars a year.”

With delivery fees, restocking expenses and inventory losses, a high number of returns can be a serious threat to an eCommerce business. That’s why it’s so important to do everything you can to minimize them.  And given that accepting returns with little-to-no pain for the customer is now the standard (thanks a lot Amazon and Zappo!), need to figure out a way to handle them without breaking the bank!

Here are six ways that online fashion brands can reduce their product return rates.

Write honest, detailed product descriptions

Well-written product descriptions go a long way in helping to minimize returns. Where possible, describe quirks and features about the fit or fabric, and be upfront about whether an item runs true to size or on the smaller or larger side. If an item is likely to be seriously affected by machine washing or tumble drying, be upfront about this too. Some customers may wish to return an item they didn’t realize is dry-clean or hand-wash only. Be honest about how any products that will change over time, for example, distressed denim that comes with holes that will get larger as it’s worn, or colors that are designed to fade. Don’t leave these things up to the buyer to find out for themselves. Shoppers are increasingly savvy and may already know these things from experience, but neglecting to include this information could cost you your customer’s trust.

Incorporate customer product reviews

You can write all the great product copy in the world, but some shoppers still won’t feel confident until they see what other shoppers have to say. Incorporating customer reviews on your product pages will help your web store gain and build trust. This is important not just for your existing clientele, but for growing it through word of mouth as a reliable brand. What’s more, having customer reviews on your website proves that you stand by your products, and that you value what your customers have to say about them. As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog, reviews also lead to increased engagement, which means more sales. There are numerous tools that provide the functionality required to enable reviews on your web store—check out our recommendations of reviews solutions here. We installed one of them—Yotpo—to generate product reviews for our client Kabayare Fashion.

Include detailed size charts

A lot of shoppers tend to over-order because they’re unsure what size they should wear. And with sizes varying wildly brand to brand these days, who can really blame them? That’s why it’s so important to have size charts that provide the individual garment measurements in addition to standard numerical or alphabetical sizes. You can also see it as another way to extend your brand style and voice across interesting graphic elements. Big Bud Press have created illustrated size charts for each of their items, complete with a blurb about the style and fit. It’s particularly helpful in the case of items like jumpsuits, where an inch can make a big difference.

Use very high quality images

If you’re not already investing in a professional photographer, you’ll want to ensure your setup is as close to professional as possible, with a high quality camera, lights and a sweep (or plain white paper backdrop that obscures the horizon line). Good lighting is extremely important, so that customers can discern all of the details of your products. Use photo files big enough that allow viewers to zoom in to see the fabric quality, prints, patterns, stitching and construction. Many larger retailers like Asos are now incorporating modelled videos in addition to static images, which allow viewers to get a really accurate sense of how the clothes move and fit on the body.

Listen to and utilize feedback on product pages

Pay attention to what your customers are saying in reviews, on social media, and in their reasons for returning items. Incorporate the knowledge and experience customers give you to paint a truer picture of your items. If shoppers are consistently saying colors appear brighter or duller in person, retake your product photos to provide a more accurate representation. If they say that something about the fit or style of the item is different to what they expect—say a pocket runs smaller than usual—include that information. These details can be incorporated into your product descriptions, or included separately as Q&A sections on product pages. You could also have a Testimonials page, as our client Medelita has done.

Segment serial returners and exclude them from free returns

Shoppers return items for numerous reasons, including problems with fit, fabric, color or pattern, or simply change of heart. All of this is fine and to be expected, however some stores are finding they have shoppers who repeatedly make returns. Sometimes they order and then return everything, or they deliberately over-order by buying multiple sizes or colors with the intention of returning those that don’t meet their needs.

If your web store is suffering from these serial returners, you’d be wise to segment your audience using a customer relationship management program and establish refund thresholds based on per-order dollar values or number of items ordered. You’re then able to exclude any shoppers who you find are routinely ordering and returning items from obtaining your free shipping offer. You could also try including a note on your product pages like Big Bud Press has with their limited-edition items. They explain that when shoppers buy multiple sizes it’s “incredibly costly” for them as a small business, and that customers who order the wrong size are “free to exchange.” They say they even hold stock aside for this purpose.

Returns are the new normal, but they don’t have to be the huge financial and time burden that many eCommerce websites find them to be. There are smart, customizable platforms available that can help you manage returns, such as Returnly, which is used by brands including Everlane, Outdoor Voices and ThirdLove. As you start to incorporate these and other tips, you may find that you’re processing fewer returns as your customer base grows more confident in your products and empathetic to your cause. Talk to us about implementing these and more tips to minimize your returns.

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Eight keys to Successful Fashion eCommerce Store Product Pages

Eight keys to Successful Fashion eCommerce Store Product Pages

Product pages are key for fashion eCommerce websites because they are generally where customers decide to either make a purchase or leave your website. Therefore, it’s crucial that brands do everything they can to get them right and to keep visitors on-site and shopping.

These pages should provide all of the information that customers need to know about your products, so they must include well-written product descriptions and quality photos—but that’s just the beginning. If you really want to showcase your products and increase your conversion rates, you’ll need to pay attention to the details. Read on for eight keys for creating successful fashion eCommerce product pages. 

 

  • Use a variety of photos
    It might seem easier to stick to either modelled or flat lay (bird’s-eye view) photography, but it’s wise to use both types. Using a variety of photos that are well lit, high quality, and that employ different angles and contexts helps you to minimize customer concern. There’s nothing to hide when the customer can see all sides of the product!

    WP Standard is one brand that depicts their products well, in a range of settings that reflect their shoppers’ realities—or aspirations. The product page for their Vintage Tote Bag includes photos of the bag by itself (with a zoomable function when your computer cursor goes over it), as well as photos of the bag being worn in various settings, and close-up images of the bag with belongings inside it. This allows the shopper to picture themselves with the product.

  • Make variants abundantly clear
    When you offer color or pattern variants of a product, include this information on both the product category page and the product page. Small color swatch buttons alongside each product thumbnail image on your category page are a great way to clearly communicate the options to your shoppers. A note like “more colors available” or a more specific mention of the number of color or pattern variants is also ideal.

    Our client, Sam Villa displays the options available for their shears by size and type (right- or left-handed) via clearly marked buttons. These options are visible on both the category page and the product page (where there are also photos available of all options), making it easy for shoppers to immediately see the variants on offer. WP Standard displays their variants slightly differently—including photos of different colorways of the product on the same product page, so all the customer has to do to view their options is keep scrolling.

  • Include a size chart
    With sizes varying wildly brand to brand, even the most confident shoppers can encounter uncertainty about the size they need. Size charts that are specific to your different product styles can be very helpful in increasing conversions and reducing the amount of returns your eCommerce store has to deal with.

    On each of their product pages, Big Bud Press includes a link to their size charts, which utilize color, illustrations and notes about different styles and how their measurements were taken. They also include a link to their model size guide, which allows customers to view photos and measurements of various models and the sizes of the brand’s clothing that they wear. This is a unique visual offering that enables customers to assess which size they need based on viewing different body types and discerning which model most closely resembles their body type. It’s something the brand is able to do as they regularly work with the same models—if that’s something that your brand also does, it could be a great way to cultivate shoppers’ trust, as well as a sense of community.

  • Keep product descriptions concise and relevant
    When writing product descriptions, consider the most important features or elements of the product, and put those front-and-center. Think of it like a news story—you want the most crucial information right away, so if that’s a special sewing technique, collaboration or inspiration, be sure to include that prominently. You can always go into more detail later on.

    Think about what can be conveyed with an image versus what can only be conveyed via text. For example, it might be hard to capture the comfort level of a pair of shoes via photo, but you can share information about supportive innersoles or special technology in the product description.

  • Reaffirm your brand’s voice and mission
    Whether your brand’s voice is young and witty or angled at a more mature, serious audience, it should shine through in all of your product descriptions. Youthful online fashion retailer DollsKill excels in letting their colorful style come through in every product page, sharing all of the necessary details of the item while keeping the tone of the copy lively.

    Never pass up an opportunity to reaffirm your brand mission. United By Blue does this well, by including the following taglines at the bottom of every product page on their website: “Every product purchased removes one pound of trash,” and “Sustainable materials and ethical manufacturing.” They also include information about the environmental effects of the materials used in that product. This reminds shoppers of the brand’s point of difference and encourages them to click “add to cart” to support their mission.

  • Be clear about costs
    “Unexpected costs” is one of the leading causes of cart abandonment, so the earlier you can communicate, and provide explanations for any additional expenses such as taxes or shipping, the more likely you are to convert visitors. Don’t wait till the cart—put this information on your product pages.

    This also applies to any free shipping, free returns or bundle deals you offer—include that information on all of your product pages, near your “add to cart” button. Transparency is key throughout the eCommerce process. Show your products exactly as they are, and communicate costs clearly up front, and you will gain loyal, repeat customers.

  • Have a simple, well-positioned CTA
    When it comes to your call to action, be mindful of both the clarity of your CTA and the positioning of your CTA button on the page. Something like “add to cart” or “buy now” is all you need—keep it simple.

    If your product page runs long because it includes a lot of photos and information, consider adding a second “buy now” or “add to cart” button at the bottom of the page. That way your shoppers don’t have to scroll all the way back up to the top of the page again after taking in all of the product details.

  • Consider a unique or minimal design
    Don’t be afraid to buck the trends and try different product page designs to let your products shine. Los Angeles brand 69 centers their products with large, animated thumbnails that showcase their commitment to modern experimentalism.

    This brand’s homepage also doubles as their product page, showcasing their inventory with vibrant, clickable photography that changes as your cursor moves over it. Aside from this, the page remains static and minimal, with a clean off-white background and a simple sans-serif font. It’s eye-catching and effective in showing exactly what they’re about.

As you can see, product pages are about a lot more than just photos and copy. These are just some of the considerations you should take into account. For more, please get in touch with us.

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Padawan Series: How to Take Your Apparel Brand Online

Padawan Series: How to Take Your Apparel Brand Online

Today, eCommerce is more important for brands than ever. With physical limitations in place for the foreseeable future, having a strong online presence is crucial. 

Your eCommerce platform needs to accurately reflect your business and its values, as well as your services or products. But it also needs to adhere to industry standards. With Google Search recently announcing it will be favoring websites with great UX, now is the time to translate the positive experience your customers have with you and your products into a positive user experience, or UX, on your website.

Fortunately, we are all in “an environment where imagination and technical ability, not wealth, are the only barriers.” That means if you’re driven and committed to succeeding online, you can. 

Here are six actionable tips for how to take your apparel brand online.

Choose a clean, simple design

For a strong first impression, choose a clean, minimal theme for your website. This makes it easier for customers to immediately identify your central product(s) and ethos. If your brand already has a visual identity in terms of colors, patterns or textures, these should be incorporated into your website’s design. This is key to creating a positive brand experience. It also gives your returning customers the assurance that they’re in the right place. New customers will feel confident when they see this consistency across your website, social media pages and in photos of your operations. With this consistency, you’re sending a visual message that this same commitment to quality translates to your products or services. A streamlined homepage also ensures a faster load time for your website, which is another crucial element of good UX, especially when considering the fact that 57% of visitors will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Have a strong logo and high-quality photos

Make it clear who you are by putting your logo front and center on your homepage. It should be high resolution and scalable for mobile. Test your website on as many different devices as possible—on desktop and mobile, as well as tablets and Android and iPhone devices. This will help you identify and minimize any bugs. It may sound obvious, but by taking the time to brand your eCommerce store consistently and clearly, you’re ensuring it communicates the same level of professionalism that you have in every one of your client interactions. Represent your products and services well with clear, high quality and relevant photos. Clients will be much more likely to place an order if they know exactly what they’re getting. If you can, invest in original photography, instead of stock photography. It’s another way to stand out among your competitors, and adds a personal touch.

Be mindful of your SEO

Alongside your quality photos, you’ll need descriptions of your products or services. These should be short and sweet, and employ sound SEO tactics. Try to strike a balance between natural language and industry terminology. You want to attract people who are looking for your services and products, but not drive people away who may be unfamiliar with the lingo. Whatever you do, don’t go overboard and jam a bunch of jargony search terms in a sentence. Google can and does punish websites that try to trick the system with keyword overload. So remember, like your visual design, clean and simple is key.

Have an awesome ‘about’ page

Clients and customers want to know and trust the people behind the brands they’re supporting. They are searching for brands whose values align with their own. This doesn’t mean you need to divulge your life story on your website (unless it’s relevant to your business). But a few personal touches can go a long way in garnering loyal clients. Let them get to know you by adding an ‘About’ page to your eCommerce platform, and share a bit about who you are and what you do. We recommend adding staff photos and short biographies for your ‘higher profile’ employees.

Ensure your website is mobile-friendly

Nowadays we use our cellphones for almost everything, so you can be sure a lot of your clients will be coming to you that way. More than half of online shoppers make purchases using a mobile device, so while you spend hours sharpening your desktop site, ensure you also pay attention to how it scales, and optimize each page for mobile. Users who have a negative experience in your mobile store are said to be 62% less likely to purchase from you in the future. So try to ensure your mobile site loads as smoothly and quickly as possible. An effective, simple and cost-effective way to do this is by implementing a Progessive Web App (PWA) to your mobile site, which replicates the app experience on a mobile browser, for a fraction of the cost and commitment of a Native App. Learn more about PWAs in our recent blogs.

Keep track of your analytics

Once your website is up and running, keep track of its performance via analytics, and adjust where necessary. Not getting many visitors for a certain product or service? Try adjusting your SEO in that area by researching the latest popular search terms and updating your copy. Ensure you keep your website up to date with any new services or products you add, and consider adding these to your homepage, for visibility. It pays to check in regularly on how your website is performing. Consider making a calendar reminder for yourself to look at your analytics. Keeping your SEO strong will help keep your business strong, too.

Conclusion

By taking the time to get the basics right, you’ll be well on your way to having a successful eCommerce platform for your apparel business. Represent your brand online as you would in-person—with your unique style, care and attention to detail. If you’d like some extra help with taking your apparel brand online, click here to speak to a member of our team.

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Padawan Series: Content Strategy Tactics for Your Apparel & Accessories Brand

Padawan Series: Content Strategy Tactics for Your Apparel & Accessories Brand

Your apparel and accessories eCommerce’s main communication with customers is through your webstore’s content. Content encompasses all the digital assets (written copy, images, graphics and videos) created for a brand whether it is for your website, social media, text messages or emails. Consumers prefer companies that have content that not only is memorable but adds some type of value to their lives. Having a successful and efficient content strategy will put your brand a step above your competitors. In this guide, you will learn different content strategy tactics to improve your apparel and accessories eCommerce.

Create a Content Marketing Funnel

It’s best to have a content marketing funnel that will guide you and your customers. A content funnel visualizes the process or journey that potential customers go through while making a purchase decision. This content marketing funnel splits into three main sections: the top of the funnel, the middle of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel. Each section has a specific purpose and action that it pushes your customers to perform.

 Top of the Funnel (TOFU)

The top of the content funnel is where you grab your customers’ attention. The main focus of the TOFU is to show brand awareness and increase site traffic. To show brand awareness, you’ll want to include content with value that answer questions or solve problems. The main content of this section of the funnel includes blog posts, videos, podcasts, social media updates and infographics. As a way to increase site traffic, your company needs to consider implementing email marketing and social media marketing to gain a wide range of customers.

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)

Once customers know your brand and have received some type of free value, it’s time to convert them into a lead. The middle of the funnel is where your company focuses on lead generation and building a deeper relationship with your customers by creating content that educates and informs. You can build trust by sending personalized emails to your shoppers. Educating and informing customers can come in many forms like offers, your brand’s story, shipping or return guidelines. The type of content you will use in this section of the funnel includes white papers, ebooks, reports, studies, quizzes, webinars, guides and emails.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

The bottom of the funnel persuades leads to complete a purchase. Conversions through a paid service or product by using personalized content is the main focus of the BOFU. It takes more than just building a relationship with your customers to gain a sale. The BOFU is also where your webstore should utilize discounts and offers to convert shoppers into leads. Customer reviews, promo codes, discounts and demos are types of content you will see in this section of the funnel. 

Once you have a solid content marketing funnel, you will have an easier time reaching a larger audience. Creating a successful content funnel can be tedious and time-consuming, that’s why we recommend working with a marketing firm that understands and can implement an efficient content funnel.

Focus on Value

Focusing on value is where you understand where your customer is coming from and what they are looking for. Simply put, you need to understand what they ‘value’. This is the first step in building a deeper connection with your audience. Instead of sending out emails and posts that are promotion-heavy, create content that can help your brand gain credibility. One of the ways your eCommerce webstore can focus on value is to tell interesting stories through customer reviews, videos and influencers using your products. By creating an interesting story about your apparel company, you are allowing customers to relate and build a deeper relationship.

Keep Content Concise, Compelling and Impactful

Your apparel and accessories brand will communicate with your customers through content. This communication needs to include all aspects of your brand, any discounts or any other relevant information. The best way to communicate to your customers  all the elements your company needs to display is by keeping your content concise and compelling yet impactful. Users don’t want to spend too much time trying to find the product or information they are looking for. Ideally, they want the information in 30 seconds of less. However, this doesn’t mean you have to abandon creative assets. Instead, your brand needs to have a way to create content that is memorable and fun but still has an impact on your customers. You’ll want all your content to persuade shoppers to purchase. 

Schuler Shoes has a great example of content that is concise, compelling yet impactful:

Create Shoppable Social Media Content

Shoppable social media content can give your company an additional channel from which to make  sales. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest allow customers to shop for products from the original post. Just as a reference of how powerful shoppable posts are, over 130 million users tap and shop on shoppable Instagram posts per month. While creating any type of shoppable content on social media, you need to include clear call-to-action like buy now or shop now. Also, include enticing and memorable written copy, videos or photos. We know that social media isn’t for every company; however, if you want tips on how to improve your social media platforms, keep reading here.

Use Email Marketing Personalization

80% of customers are more likely to complete a purchase from a company that offers personalized experiences. A great way to offer your customers this personalized experience is through email marketing personalization. Creating a personalized email doesn’t mean you have to individually design every email to cater specifically to each customer. Instead, you can personalize an email’s content based on demographics, geological location and what the customer has viewed or bought in the past. Emails like cart abandonment and seasonal themes or promotions work well with personalization. These types of emails not only give customers a personalized experience but also give them an action to complete. To make email marketing easier, you can work with a knowledgeable marketing firm or utilize one of the many email marketing extensions that can help you manage your emails and their performance.

Improve Customer Service

Content doesn’t end with social media posts, emails and your website, instead, it also boosts  your brand’s customer service. The outcomes, whether it is a positive or negative interaction, of your brand’s customer service affect how shoppers view your company. 78% of consumers have backed out of a purchase due to negative customer service. So how does an apparel webstore have great customer service through content? In general, customers want content that answers questions on multiple channels including mobile, emails and social media. The answers to these questions shouldn’t take long and should in turn help the user. Studies show that 40% of customers want information, answers, offers and deals from chatbots. These chatbots give them automatic answers without having to wait a long time for real customer service representatives to solve any of their issues. 

Conclusion

Your webstore’s content encompasses many different elements of your company. These were just some of the content strategy tactics to help improve your apparel and accessories eCommerce. There are many more ways that content can help your brand increase traffic and sales. To discover the best content strategy tactics for your company, contact us today.

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Fashion and the Art of the Cart Abandonment Email

Fashion and the Art of the Cart Abandonment Email

Even the most successful web stores suffer from cart abandonment, which is the term for when customers go through a portion of the purchase process and then leave the website before completing checkout. There can be any one of a hundred reasons why a customer abandons their cart. Sometimes it’s intentional, but sometimes carts are abandoned by accident, because the website timed out or crashed, or the shopper accidentally closed the browser.

According to Bolt, the average cart abandonment rate for clothing is 40%—which is more than the cart abandonment rate for home, tech and fitness combined. HubSpot points out that only 19% of the top 1,000 eCommerce companies engage in any kind of shopping cart abandonment recovery, yet 50% of customers who frequently abandon their carts will complete their purchase when prompted to. So it’s clear that eCommerce websites should be sending cart abandonment emails, otherwise they’re leaving money on the table. Read on for six tips for successful cart abandonment emails for fashion eCommerce websites.

Timing is everything

Contact your customer at the right times. Do this by setting up a series of automated cart recovery emails, or what’s known as a drip campaign. For example, you could set your system to send your first cart reminder email one hour after abandonment, then a second follow-up email a few days later, followed by a third email, perhaps with a promotional discount, a few days after that.

The discount could be a percentage off the product price, free shipping or a bundle deal—it’s up to you. You may want to try waiting to send the first email three to five hours after initial cart abandonment, if one hour after feels too soon. This timing is also something you could A/B test. You’ll never know what kind of timing your customer base responds to best unless you test it. However, it’s important to not become too predictable with your cart abandonment deals, otherwise your customers could learn to wait for coupons to arrive before revisiting their cart and making their purchase. (We’ll be covering A/B testing more, later on in this blog.)

Personalization is key

Make sure your emails are set up so that they specifically reference the product that was abandoned in the customer’s cart. They should include the product image, name and price in the body of the email, and directly reference the product they left behind in the email subject line. They should also address the customer by name—this makes it feel more tailor-made and personal. The more personal your email, the more likely it is to succeed.

You may also choose to have your system set up to trigger an email to one of your sales associates at the same time, so that when your shopper is recovered they can be assisted through the sales process by someone with all of the necessary details. This might only be necessary for larger purchases, B2B companies, or a product that requires customization.

AB test different tones

Witty, straightforward, or somewhere in-between? You need to explore all types of angles in your subject line copy in order to see which tone works best for your brand, but above all your cart abandonment emails should match the tone of your other marketing efforts.

You could try a straightforward subject line like “You left something” or “It looks like you forgot something”, but subject lines that include the product the shopper was looking at—and address the shopper by name—are ideal. For example, “[Name], your new favorite [jeans] are almost gone!”

Humor can also be effective—Adidas used this angle: “Is your Wi-Fi okay? Maybe your browser crashed when looking at [insert product name here].” Australian brand BlackMilk Clothing used this line: “Where’d you go?! That gear in your cart is lonely :(” You could also try the tactic of addressing the customer as if they didn’t intentionally leave the products in the cart, by having copy that says something like, “We can’t send you your [product] yet, because you haven’t completed the purchase…” You won’t know which tone will work best with your particular customers until you start testing some out.

To learn more about A/B testing, check out our recent blogs, “7 Simple A/B Tests to Improve Your eCommerce Site” and “How to A/B Test Your Magento Site to More Conversions”.

Assuage Their Concerns

Common reasons for cart abandonment include slow delivery and concerns about the quality, fit or price of the clothing. If you can follow up and reduce or eliminate these concerns, you’ll be more likely to convert this visitor into a customer. Start by promoting your delivery options, including speed and price. If you are able to offer free shipping, be sure to make this very clear in your follow-up emails.

You could also include copy that highlights the product quality, or shares positive customer reviews of that product. This could be as simple as having a subject line like: “There are ★★★★★ products in your cart!” Or you could include the number of product reviews and the average rating alongside the product name and photo in the body of the email. You could also offer a discount, as suggested earlier. And of course make your return policies clear, to relieve any concern the customer may have about being stuck with an item that’s not right for them.

Do Special Themed Emails During Holidays

Customers who abandon carts during or approaching holidays would likely benefit from holiday-themed emails that offer limited-time deals. For example, you’ll want to include messaging that refers to expected shipping times and also limited supplies of stock in emails that are sent a few weeks before Christmas. Everyone knows there’s only so much time to put in an order, so this could be the nudge many customers need to get clicking and complete theirs.

Keep Testing

Along with the tone of your email body copy and subject lines, you’d be wise to A/B test variations on design, sending times and Call To Actions (CTAs), to see what works best with your audience. Different CTAs to try could include “resume your order”, “complete your purchase”, “check out now”, “restore my cart” or “complete checkout”.

You might also like to try highlighting just the highest-rated or most popular product the customer left in their cart, instead of trying to sell multiple items at once. One eye-catching, recognizable product image might be enough to convert that customer. You can then tailor your copy to talk about that product and what’s made it so popular—and how popular it is, to play on the FOMO aspect (or Fear Of Missing Out, which is a huge driver of sales). You could also include a recent customer review of the product, for an extra push. Test and keep testing until you find what works best for your brand.

Conclusion

Cart abandonment email strategies are a lot like traditional retail sales strategies—they require trial and error. So don’t be afraid to keep testing and tweaking your strategy until something sticks. For help on narrowing down your options and choosing a successful strategy, talk to our team today.

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Communication Channels Fashion Brands Must Embrace

Communication Channels Fashion Brands Must Embrace

These days consumers are online like never before, which means that now is the time for brands to hone their internet-based communications. This requires going beyond traditional email marketing to embrace newer channels that consumers are using, such as video chat and social media. Engagement and availability is key; if your fashion, apparel or accessories brand isn’t utilizing new tools for talking to your customers, you’re probably missing out. 

Brands need to meet consumers where they already are. For some, this can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. First, you need to consider the tools at your disposal. Read on for five often-underutilized communication channels your brand should be using to engage customers.

Text Message

Many fashion brands have been slow to adopt text messages as a form of communication with their customers, with concerns about being perceived as too pushy. But now that 96% of American adults own a cell phone (according to Pew Research), text messages are increasingly being seen as an excellent way to engage customers. Texts have an average open rate of 93%, compared to emails, which have an average open rate of 25% (according to Inc). With most of us receiving a glut of marketing emails from brands every day, it can be easy to see why texts might be more easily noticed.

The key is to be tactful: provide clear opt-out information from the beginning, and don’t bombard your customers with multiple texts all at once. Try using texts to inform customers about restocks of specific products they’ve expressed interest in, or already purchased, via your website. Send them promotions such as personalized, limited-time discount codes and offers. Brands that are really concerned about coming off as too pushy could try the same approach that Toronto-based jewellery brand Mejuri uses: they don’t initiate any conversations with customers. Instead, they allow consumers to text them with any questions about products, and they respond in a timely manner, so the focus is on the customer’s convenience.

Web Chat

Whether powered by artificial intelligence or human employees, web chat can be another powerful tool for fashion brands. Allowing customers to engage with sales associates or stylists via chat and ask questions about your products in real-time while they browse can be a simple but effective way to drive both engagement and sales. Research from Forrester found that customers who interacted with web chat were 2.8 times more likely to make a purchase.

While AI-powered chatbots can be useful for simple questions and issues, sometimes these services can suffer from their lack of humanity. Web chats with real staff members offer that human element where nuances in language are perhaps more able to be understood, and the personal element of retail shopping is retained. Fashion brands like Modcloth, Nordstrom and Warby Parker all benefit from their live chat services, which provide personalized service that retains the brand’s voice in a way that’s natural and conversational.

One-On-One Video Calls

Styling and wardrobe consulting has always been a huge part of the fashion world—one that will never simply go away overnight, no matter how many apps or algorithms are created. Consumers value the personal human element of fashion retail customer service, which is why it translates so well to the web. Department stores like Nordstrom and independent fashion stylists such as Allison Bornstein and Julia von Boehm are providing styling services via video calls, and now more brands of all sizes are getting on board—and yours should too.

It’s really just about extending your retail experience into your online offering, minus the physical interaction of clothes (or shoes or jewelry) exchanging hands. Video calling is a great way to introduce customers to a collection either pre- or post-purchase. The same demonstrations that are given in-store can now be done online. This allows for more dynamic product demonstrations than simply viewing static product shots on-screen, and enables questions and answers to be delivered in real-time, satisfying customers just as quickly.

Social Media

Its constantly evolving nature may feel burdensome to learn and incorporate, but social media can be extremely rewarding for fashion brands seeking to engage more with their customers. Apps like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok enable brands to tell stories in entertaining and exciting ways and bring their products to life in animated videos, slideshows, GIFs, memes and more.

Fashion brands such as Guess and PrettyLittleThing are utilizing TikTok by creating interactive “challenges” where customers interact with and customize their clothing, and by sharing engaging behind-the-scenes content. Instagram is also being embraced in unorthodox ways by brands—even legacy fashion houses such as Chanel, who recently hosted a live-streamed music performance on their Instagram Stories.

Brands who succeed on these channels do so by using them to build community and inspire creativity, not simply push their products. It’s these memorable moments that brands create that make them stand out and gain loyal followers.

Digital Seminars

Social media and video conferencing services like Zoom are also increasingly being utilized by savvy online fashion brands eager to engage their audiences in real-time conversation. This can mean brands inviting consumers into conversation with them on Instagram Live, or doing live-streamed video conferences with industry peers and collaborators. They can facilitate conversations on everything from brand-specific matters, to broader issues facing the fashion industry.

New York designer Mara Hoffman has hosted some informative conversations about sustainability and new projects and products with her collaborators and partner organizations on her Instagram Live in recent weeks. French luxury brand Chloé has also been hosting discussions with a curated selection of creative women (or “#ChloeGirls”). These kinds of web-based discussions can help to establish your brand as more approachable, engaged and expert in its field. It can also help to introduce your brand to a wider audience.

Conclusion

Whether or not your fashion brand is already using the communication channels above, there’s a good chance your customers already are. Join them and build your community together. If you’d like some guidance on how to effectively build out your communications offering, please reach out to our team today.

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