Opening An E-Commerce Clothing store: 10 Tips To Boost Sales
All of you who own an online clothes store are like an old west gold digger: fortune is right there, at hand’s reach.
Just like gold prospectors, people who sell clothes online are sitting on a gold mine: just consider that clothes, with water and food, are among the basic human necessities everybody needs.
And not only that: clothes represent our social status, they are the business card we show when we meet other people, they can be chosen based on how well they fit us, their style, signature etc.
For short: the clothing business is just as huge as it is complicated.
After all it’s pretty obvious, when a gold mine is so exposed, it will clearly attract miners. The internet is full of clothing stores: to reach success, you need to stand out from the crowd and take the right steps. To do so, you are going to need a guide to master the right marketing strategies to increase sales.
Let’s now see the 10 steps you should take in order to boost sales on your clothing store.
1 Images and videos of your products
There are pros and cons of selling clothes online: you get the comfort and savings of buying without having to move from your computer chair, on the other hand you get the disadvantage of not being able to touch the product you are going to buy.
This disadvantage might be bigger than others: for instance when buying a CD there’s no need to actually touch it to enjoy its content, but clothes are different.
So naturally we cannot let our customers touch our products, not yet, but we can help them by showing them images and videos of what they are going to buy.
High definition images are becoming essential to introduce products properly, so much so that it’s becoming usual to hover the mouse cursor on an image to zoom in.
But why just a picture? Amazon recently introduced a video system in which models display clothes while moving:
Doing this might shorten the distance between you and your customers, allowing them to see the product they are after under many different points of view.
2 Make it easy to check for the right size
Other than understanding if customers like a certain dress, they might want to check it out personally for a pretty basic reason: understanding if it’s the right size.
Sadly we can’t do it just like we would in real life stores, in which we would let customers try out a specific size to check if it fits them or not, so we need to have alternatives.
One of them it would be to offer a size chart in order for customers to get an idea of what size they should get.
This one is an important step, given that only 14% of customers buys clothes online and the reason for this seems to be the fear to get the wrong size.
In cases like this one you can meet your customer’s needs and raise this rate thanks to an size table section that’s easily accessible and understandable:
It might also be a good idea to show customers how to obtain their own specific shape, since people are not used to work out their exact size manually, rather than go to a store and try clothes out themselves:
3 Offer a refund policy
Despite our precautions, it might still happen that customers buy the wrong item. What should you do then?
It happens more often with items such as shoes, when the size could be slightly smaller than anticipated or maybe the color of a dress looks different than it looked like on the computer screen.
In these cases it’s always best to offer a policy that allows customers to return the item they bought with no issues whatsoever.
Even if this might seem like a waste of time and money, this step implies:
A boost in sales among those customers that, for fear of getting the wrong product, they would end up without buying anything.
Keeping your regular customers loyal to your store, since they see a professional attitude that allows them to discuss and solve their own issues.
I can assure you that even if you are going to have some returns to make, you will still gain money from granting your customers this opportunity!
Think about Zalando, one of the big names who made of money back policies their forte: knowing they can return items they bought gives your customers an unparalleled sense of security.
4 Display your products the best way
Different products attract different customers and we need to know how to relate to them in… different ways.
We may not consider this, but there’s a big difference between customers who buy a shirt and customers who buy an elegant dress, they are surely after different elements in the products they intend to buy.
Products display is made of two elements: text and image.
For what concerns the text part, you need to focus the details on what customers generally look for when they reach a specific product page. For instance an elegant dress product page might describe the quality of its fabric and where it’s from, while the page for a sporty shirt could be rather informal and be about comfort and durability.
I already made a point of the importance of pictures earlier, but besides from the quality of the image, you should also look into another element, when it comes to selling clothes.
If you offer the same dress in different colors, for instance, it is essential that customers are allowed to see their choices in real time, even better if they are shown in a simple and attractive way.
5 Make your customers important
Let’s admit it: everybody enjoys their own 10 seconds of fame, so why not use this natural psychological aspect for your own business?
Sammy Dress, for instance, created a dedicated section in their own website for customers’ pictures, which grants them the chance to obtain points and rewards for participating to it.
Sometimes a simple idea is enough to make a change in your business. So, what kind of benefit does this specific function imply?
- It keeps customers loyal to your store since they became an actual part of it and adds value to your products.
- you will also encourages them to perform further purchases, by rewarding pictures with loyalty points they can spend in your store.
- Last but not least, it increases your popularity, since customers tend to share their own pictures to social networks.
I mean: these aren’t cheap results.
6 Create a custom look
Fashion is is a tyrant and extremely moody goddess. Everybody sooner or later in life gets criticized for our own personal sense of style or combination of colors.
As annoying as it might be, this is also something we can use.
Let’s make an example: a customer of yours knows she needs a pair of shoes, but she doesn’t know what dress and purse they would look good with.
She would probably end up buying just one product or none at all, in order to prevent this from happening it would be a good idea to offer lookbooks and promoting than on your own website to display a few winning combination of products you offer.
That’s how you are going to use cross-selling to sell more products and increase the average purchase value of your customers, it will also immediately boost their sense of satisfaction.
Everybody likes to feel pampered and cared for, especially if they are not sure about something.
7 Offer an affiliation system
Don’t underestimate the persuasive power public figures have over their followers, it’s no surprise that recently it became increasingly more popular to use famous youtubers to promote products and spread the word about them.
Razer is the first company that comes to mind, but also many game developer companies give their items away in exchange for promotion and as all it seems it’s a very effective marketing system.
Every product has their own testimonial: a game reviewer could hardly push people towards buying a specific brand of clothes, so it’s important to look elsewhere in the web.
I’m talking about fashion bloggers: there are many public figures in this area that are followed by hundred of thousands (sometimes millions) of users and, since their topic is what your store is about, they might bring a lot of visibility to your very own website.
That’s the reason why it’s a good idea to send your own clothes to fashion bloggers proposing reviews in exchange for a share of your affiliation money. That’s how you can immediately increase your customer pool.
8 Improve the navigation on your own website
Since my very first article, I insisted on how important it is to allow for a quick and easy navigation through your website.
55% of customers spend less than 15 seconds on your website, you can’t allow them to waste their time due to an inefficient or faulty browsing system.
So what should you do?
The best way to solve this kind of issues is to invest in a powerful search system that would adapt to your customers choices. We all have a search bar in our websites, but we can improve its effectiveness with a few tweaks.
For instance we can insert an autocomplete system and show the full path of a specific item in order to speed up the browsing system and allow customers to move freely back and forth into a specific item path.
For a clothing store, however, despite these tweaks are indeed useful, they are often not enough. One of the functions that might still be missing is the chance to highlight specific brands and allow users to perform brand searches (which is one of the most important aspects for this kind of stores).
9 Offer free shipping
As I have stated before, offering free shipping can be one of the most effective steps you could take to improve sales on your e-commerce store, that’s because of two simple reasons:
- It’s a powerful persuasive system, since knowing they won’t have to pay any shipping fee will convince undecided customers and will increase the conversion rate on those who would buy from your store anyway.
- It reduces your customers’ dropout rate on checkout: if you consider that only 12% of customers reach to the end of a purchase and that the main cause for this are extra costs, you can imagine the boost in sales you might have by taking this simple step.
10 Allow your customers to wait for a specific item
One of the most common issues for clothing stores is to easily run out of stock for a lot of specific products.
That’s not the manager’s fault, since because of the different sized items that could be sold at different times it’s easy to run out of stock in specific items or sizes.
So how could you keep all those customers that wouldn’t be able to find what they were after and that would go looking for them elsewhere?
Well, you could allow them to subscribe to a waiting list, in order for them to get a notification when the product they are after will be available again.
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