It’s always been crucial for fashion brands to build strong relationships with their customers in order to foster a sense of connection and forge an ongoing commitment. Given the limited nature of physical retail right now, and the ease with which we can disengage from an online store, many are saying that now more than ever it’s important to cultivate strong customer relationships through your online platforms. Here are seven tips on how to do just that.
Write product copy with a natural, conversational tone
Product descriptions are often-underutilized spaces for telling stories and engaging customers. Instead of writing short captions that simply describe what the customer is seeing in the product photos, why not add some humor or an interesting, relevant anecdote? You could tell the story of the product’s origin or inspiration, or share what the product means to you and your brand. Remember, though, that while creativity here is great, shorter is always better when it comes to copy online. Brevity is the soul of wit, especially in this case.
Have a detailed, friendly FAQ page
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages help people at various stages of the customer journey, whether they’ve placed an order with you or are still considering shopping with you. Make it easy for them regardless of where they’re at in the purchase path by providing as much information up front as possible. Your FAQ page should address basic information on topics like “where your brand is based?”, “what are shipping times and costs?”, as well as address product sizes and materials, and any ongoing promotions. It should also be written in the same natural, conversational tone as your product copy. If you’re attempting to manage this internally then the odds are high that you’ve had a number of employees ‘work’ on the site at one time or another, leaving your tone to be wildly inconsistent from page to page. This is one instance where we recommend you partner with an established marketing firm that knows how to write consistent copy specifically for an apparel and accessories eCommerce site. Fashonova has a great FAQ page.
Be widely and easily contactable
As an online brand, customers expect you to be available to them in a multitude of ways. You should have several channels set up for them to contact you through, including email and social media and direct phone. You must also set realistic expectations on when and how you will respond to inquiries via these channels and platforms. Encourage shoppers to contact you with any questions or concerns regarding sizes, shipping, returns and any other product-related queries. We all know the value of good customer service, so do your best to be available and live up to expectations.
Get creative with your loyalty program
It’s easy to love a brand when you feel like you’re getting consistently good deals with them. There are many creative options out there that you can utilize to create value for your customers and create a sense of loyalty. “Points per purchase” and “points per referral” has been proven to work, as does offering free limited items or services when customers spend a certain amount. You can also share discounts with partner businesses or organizations, for example, “Earn a percentage off when you shop with or donate to our friends!” The North Face does a great job of this.
Make it easy for customers to trust you and your products
With the proliferation of eCommerce around the world, many websites have sprung up with unclear origins, around both their brands and their products. As consumers increasingly prioritize transparency, you can gain an advantage by being upfront and honest about where and how your products are made, and by backing up any claims you make about them. Providing easy returns and refunds will also promote positive relationships with customers and help them trust you and your brand.
Be receptive to feedback
Brands are increasingly expected to share everything from their processes to their philosophies, all while accepting evaluations and criticisms of these along the way. Whether you like it or not, you will get feedback, both positive and negative; private and public, so you may as well accept it gracefully. Yelp, Google and Facebook have made this a certainty. Create more channels for communication and feedback by encouraging reviews and testimonials on your webstore and social media pages. You could also set up a dedicated email address for feedback. Wherever and whenever you respond (sooner is better than later), do so without getting defensive. Try your best not to take criticisms personally, it’s just business. And every interaction, good or bad, is a chance to turn someone into a loyal customer and provides you the opportunity to use any valuable customer insights to grow your company.
Show that your values align with theirs
Almost two-thirds of shoppers make buying decisions based on a brand’s position on social or political issues, according to a study by Edelman. This means it’s important to show your customers exactly where you stand, through actions as well as words. This could mean partnering with organizations or donating proceeds of sales (or the products themselves) to causes that you and your brand care about. According to that same study, 53% of us believe that brands can do more to solve social problems than governments. Show what yours is doing to create the kind of world that your customers want to live in.
Strong customer relationships are key for any eCommerce brand attempting to establish longevity. Pay attention to these factors and keep them in mind as you build your brand, and you’ll be well on your way to gaining (and growing) a loyal following. If you’d like help growing your customer relationships, feel free to reach out to us; we’d be happy to help.