They say, change is the only constant and just how true is that when it comes to evolving through the ways technological advancements shape the world, the only thing that stays same is change itself. A fashion brand with a retail store and without an online presence cannot survive in this digitally expanding world of ours. Just imagine, you know this amazing fashion outlet in Florida, from where you’ve bought your favorite tops and what not. Now you’re in San Francisco and you wish to shop from the same fashion outlet which unfortunately has no branch there. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Yes, you’d think of ordering online from its online store. In this new age where we digitally revolutionize, almost every second it is rather impossible for a fashion brand to exist as retail only but not without having any online proof of its presence. It’s more like, things you can’t find on google, might as well not exist. Well, not really but that’s more or less the case of people these days and as for fashion it simply can’t survive without embracing what’s new, wherever it is.
So if you are into the fashion industry and do not want to go extinct in a couple of years then what is your plan to reaching a market that makes a huge proportion but exists virtually.
The New Rules of Retail:
We now live in a world that is entirely ruled by a few clicks or touches; one can access an entire market instantly. This has resulted in giving unparalleled power to the consumer with high expectations and demands. This new marketplace where more power lies with the consumer, it is necessary to pack all of those traditional success strategies and business models. Fashion industry is one of the key players of the growing economy and hence grows the need for this industry to evolve with the new technological trends.
The Marketing Mix of the New Age:
When an already established brand or small business owners make the necessary transition from retail to digital, there are obviously some changes needed in their marketing strategy. In most cases, the idea is not to shift the entire business, online. The best thing to do is keep your foot in both playgrounds. It’s more like opening a new branch with more advanced technology and where the customers are catered in a more customized way than in a physically existing retail store. So here’s how what the new rules, and new values hold for startups, small business owners and/ or established names in the industry.
Value the Perceived value:
- In any business perceived value plays a vital role in the pricing of a product. Your target market has himself judged the price of merchandise based on what is offered to him. It is the price he will be willing to pay to get the product. Nonetheless, it is not easy to measure the perceived value of a product. But the evolution brings more significance to the perceived value than the real value of a product. Businesses opening digital doors to their retail fashion brands can benefit a lot from this by making every single product, a dream turned into a reality.
People buy what they see:
- An online store without a website is like… forget it, it’s just unimaginable. So if you really are making the big shift spend some time before you design. Your website will reflect all that is to your web store. Where it should be aesthetically appealing, it also should not be cluttered. There are technicalities which need to be addressed like making your online store search optimized the design, responsive and the outlook smooth.
Never underestimate the power of rich content:
- In the digital world; content is king, the more personalized it is, the more it adds to the perceived value. A huge amount of time is spent both in front of a hand held device’s screen or a computer, and during all this time the person is being compelled through what content he surfs around. These changing patterns of content consumption through various platforms than just an online store, puts bigger value into being unique with curated content and ideas to increase the perceived value.
- Your products, online or in a physical store should literally talk to your consumers; this is where quality content comes in. Alluring product images, presented in a unique way and integrated with attention grabbing content can eventually force the consumer to hit the buy button. You offer more than the perceived value if you give them something to relate to and connect them to a product in a way they feel this is something they’ve been looking for.
- In a world, earlier driven by a specific few giants such as: EBay or Amazon, it wasn’t very easy for retailers to make their way into this world. However, even the smallest of e-stores and start-ups that ascended in the digital market were those who went a step ahead through their content and made a name of their own. One such example would be that of asos.com which intelligently used vibrant content to guide and inspire people to shop rather than just scroll from one product to another.
- Through active social media campaigns and engaging content the idea of e-tail has further expanded from just selling to connecting with its target market.
- What most people are scared of shopping online is not getting a proper look of what they are purchasing, from every angle. With life-like product images and zooming options that can give a nice clean look of every seam and stich, along with a put-together look to give them ideas.
- Apart from product images, product description with a touch of storytelling can do wonders to get your consumer’s attention. Product descriptions, provided with every product, should not just be informing the consumer about its intricacies but should give a voice to the product, in a way that it communicates through a character rather than just a product meant to sell. However, it is important to avoid exaggeration by telling more about a product than it actually offers. Nothing sells better than honesty, so if you really are looking for retention then don’t go overboard by bloating the perceived value to a point that it sounds unreal and falls short in terms of quality when experienced.
The experience is all that Matters:
- The main idea behind making the retail to digital shift or expansion is to enable more customized and easy shopping experience. By that, most e-tailers must adapt to the workings of the digital world through everything which results in making it easier to shop for your target market.
Wait, do you know your market?
- You would not be able to make things better until you know who are you selling to and what do they actually want? It’s your target market’s shopping experience that you are willing to make as accessible and smooth as possible but if you are unaware of your clientele then it is impossible for a business to create lasting customer value, let alone facilitate them in any way. Make sure you identify your brand’s persona and are using data collection techniques to provide your target market with what they really need. The usage of browser cookies is literally making the complex job data collection a little easier for the consumers and e-tailers, alike. The ability to store necessary data has enabled many online stores to create a more personalized and less complicated shopping experience.
Spare the homepage:
- A web store is your one stop shop, where you have to be easily accessible, interactive and quick while maintaining your brand identity. Your home page is where you don’t sell but engage and communicate. Much like a brick and mortar store, where a retail seller wouldn’t start off with the pricing and selling right away, instead connects with the consumer through small talk. Similarly, your web store’s home page has nothing to do with selling. Keep it minimalistic and enthralling so as to further lead your visitor to other pages.
Place it right:
- The placement of your products is as vital in your online store as is in a physical store. Products categorized and properly arranged and showcased will help in making their shopping experience easier and much more pleasing to the eye.
Make things work, make them responsive:
- We know how the online world is shifting away from the computers to hand held devices, smartphones and tablets. Fashion strives on a younger market segment, all too dependent on their gadgets. In order to thoroughly reach and capture the digital market it is very important for web stores to be responsive at other devices. A generation that spends most of its time on their phones needs things to be speedy at be at their reach as they open up your website. For e-tailers, it becomes crucial to invest more in designs that cater to the needs of this market by adopting a robust strategy and tools along with customer services that is ever-accessible.
And here comes the pet peeves:
- What’s visible should also be available on your e-store. One pet peeve for consumers buying online is the unavailability of products showcased. It’s is natural for products to go out of stock but it is important for e-tailers to keep a check on out of order products and the problem must be addressed before it gets the consumers attention. Rather than directing your consumer to a 301 or 404 page, it is better to restock as soon as possible or just create a separate category for out of stock products so that the consumer is not mislead.
- If you have a new collection in our e-store it should be highlighted through an image banner on the home page or other channels and must be placed in a separate category so that your consumers can get variety if they don’t want to buy from the old stock.
The magic these words:
- Nothing can keep your consumers as happy as something that elaborately says, “DISCOUNT” or “GIVE AWAYS”. If you want to keep them pleased and returning to your e-store offer them something they love. The magic words, FREE, SALE, DISCOUTS, GIVEAWAYS work better in the digital arena than in a retail store.
Be there when they need you:
- Making your consumers shopping experience easy ultimately means offering excellent customer service readily available to answer customer queries at any hour. E-tailers must never compromise on customer service because the business is mostly doe without the physical presence of an authority figure making people susceptible at some point. In order to keep up with the requirements of an extensive and efficient customer service Online fashion stores are adopting online chat services and a section where frequent queries like return policies, mode of payment, shipment details etc. are all been answered with necessary information.
Keeping it real:
- The ultimate rule to growing in this competitively impeding digital market is to keep things as real and unique as possible. If you are aware of what’s everyone on the market doing then break the cocoon of clichéd marketing strategies by bringing in something new and fun but keeping it authentic.
What they say?
- Every product showcased at your online store gains ten times the authenticity if it is provided with honest reviews by real people from your consumers. Also, by encouraging your consumers to provide you with product reviews can boost interactivity.
Fashion is what your market says:
- The best and the worst thing about an online store is: your consumers and visitors are always in connection and hence are the opinion makers here. Now trends are not made by what the critiques and designers dictate but are shaped by people, in general.
Picture or it didn’t happen:
- Humanizing your brand involves everything that comes from real people. If you’re just showing pictures of perfect models flaunting a photo shopped image of your products then there is nothing new about you. Simply put, people want to see how, what you offer, looks on real people and here you should use social media to engage your audience and show you how they really look in things they purchase—more power to people! A great example of this can be seen on Sophie and trey’s online store where they regularly feature pictures of people wearing their products and also offer them with gift card offers for endorsing their brand.
Blogs bring people together:
Nothing as powerful as Social Media:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and others as these powers combine you can get the best out of social media. Nothing beats the power of Facebook and twitter in setting trends through the use of various hashtags. Also, these keep all your requirements regarding consumer needs, interactivity, and shareabilty—just what you needed to boost traffic! With new tools, through which people can buy directly from social media channels, their undeniable power gains more strength. Avoiding any of these is one of the most brutal mistakes retailers can make when building an online presence.