Five savvy tips for managing your online fashion store
Deciding to take the plunge and become an online entrepreneur is no easy feat. Although it is a brave choice and there has never been a better time to start an online business or move your existing brand into digital waters.
In fact, with the global COVID-19 pandemic, eCommerce and online sales have skyrocketed all over the world. While British retailers saw a massive 18.1% drop in sales in April, online brands saw an increase of up to 21%. In fact, in the US, online brands saw up to an 80% increase in sales in April alone, year on year.
Existing eCommerce stores have had to double their operations to cater to the Black-Friday-like rushes during the lockdown and have had to pivot a lot of their business to stay relevant during the time. Physical stores have, on the other hand, had to fast-track their digital agility in two months, which would have normally taken them up to two years to achieve.
So, are you one of the adapters? Have you decided to move your fashion store online, or are you taking the opportunity to start up a brand-new enterprise? We took a look at some of the key pointers you could use to fast-track the success of your online fashion brand.
Streamline your inventory management
One of the trickiest, behind-the-scenes processes in managing an online store, is managing inventory and the supply chain. For larger retail giants, it can be easier to manage the mass orders and world markets than for an SME or a start-up fashion brand.
Ordering and managing stock can land up in overstock and waste, or under-supply and unsatisfied customers. A study just released that getting the inventory allocation right is the biggest challenge faced in start-up fashion store supply chains.
Luckily, technology has stepped in to manage the entire process for you. No longer do you need to rely on manual stock count and spreadsheets. You can make use of software that assists with everything from forecasting to warehouse management and tracing and tracking of orders through the system.
Have you thought about the customer journey?
Take a closer look at your site. What does your landing page look like, how are your product pages laid out and just how smooth is that sales funnel? You will need to look at everything from how long it takes for your page to load (customers drop off after three seconds), to your call-to-action.
Having optimised product pages means that the customer will have all of the details that they need about the product that they are about to invest in:
- Product description;
- High-quality images;
- Product reviews;
- Optimized CTAs.
Give the customer as much information as they need about the product to convince them to convert.
It is also important to go through the sales funnel yourself. How many pages are there? How many forms do they have to fill out to finally pay? How long does the payment process take? Where do they see delivery fees?
Improve your payment processes
One of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment is still customer concern over the safety of payments and their personal information. Even in 2020, statistics show that 15% of cart abandonment is due to payment security reasons. You may be totally comfortable with the payment gateway that you have chosen and trust them implicitly, but how does your customer feel about it and are they 100% sure that it is safe?
It is important to continuously advertise how safe the gateway is. Make it absolutely obvious to anyone who is checking out a cart that their payment details are safe with you. Add static banners and images or even pop-ups to reassure them that the process is protected.
This may, however, not be enough. So, why don’t you give your customer a variety of options to pay. Many people are still incredibly wary of providing credit card information. Add EFT options, reward payment options, or even good old cash on delivery. You will see that fewer orders are abandoned and your conversion rate will increase.
Consider last-mile delivery options
One of the most important parts of the customer journey takes place in last-mile delivery. They can have the best experience on your site, but when it comes to physically receiving the products, it can all change in a second.
The key is to meet your promises at all times. If you have promised same-day delivery or delivery within a certain hour, make sure it happens. If it simply cannot be achieved, be as transparent with your customer as possible.
Open, honest and empathetic communication is what will save your brand during this time. If you are battling to meet the influx of orders, pop them a message to let them know that things are a bit busy on your side, but you are making every effort to deliver their purchase in a timely manner.
Consider alternatives for delivery if you can. Why don’t you partner with a local business or ride-hailing company to meet the increased demand?
Prioritise your content
Content is vital for any eCommerce site to exist and thrive. Not only is it key for SEO purposes, but for people to find your site, identify with your brand and convert to loyal customers. Landing and product pages need to be carefully constructed to include the right keywords as well as be educational for the visitor.
Google will scrape your site and rank it in the search results based on the keywords that pop up repeatedly on your site. This, however, needs to be carefully balanced with educational and simple content to draw your customer’s attention and provide them with relevant information about your offerings.
Content can also be distributed among the relevant social channels to market your site. So, invest in a content creator who is able to develop a simple, persuasive copy to convert visitors to customers.
The most important thing to keep in mind about running your online fashion empire is the customer. The customer journey should be a priority to you and your team. Keep communication open with customers all the time to find out what they want, what they would like and what they don’t like. Continually A/B test elements on your site. Which CTA is clicked on more? Which product image converts? Which pop-up is effective? The more you test, the more success you will have on your site, so keep experimenting.
The editorial unit