Fashion was once an industry built around boutique shops, dressing rooms, mirrors and mannequins in windows. But now, more and more consumers are buying their clothing online. With great returns policies, fast shipping, millions upon millions of styles to choose from, and the competitive prices offered (reduced in lieu of paying rent for a Bricks and Mortar location) – it makes a lot of sense.
In fact, fashion is becoming such a popular segment of ecommerce, that McKinsey predicts online apparel to be a $706 billion industry by 2022.
If you’re an existing or aspiring online merchant, it’s hard not to want a slice of that mouth-watering pie.
But there is one problem for those of us looking into becoming an online fashion merchant. In fact, it’s a problem facing anyone who wants to sell clothes anywhere. The fashion industry is dominated by the top 20% of labels. It’s a winner takes all kind of industry – and that makes it hard to break into.
That’s not to say it’s impossible. Far from it. With the right strategy, your ecommerce Fashion label can take off and take ranks with some of the greats. So let’s look at a few tips to get yours off the ground, and growing year on year.
Unique or exclusive designs are key
The first consideration should be your product. What are you selling?
Fashion is synonymous with ‘standing out’. It’s why people buy new clothes – they want to be noticed. Your brand needs to make a statement, and that begins with your product. The first step is then sourcing, or creating, at least some unique designs. You need a product that people won’t be able to buy anywhere else.
Printing and dropshipping services like Printful or Dropshirt allow you to create clothing designs, which they will then print and ship to your customers on demand. This makes it easy to offer your own exclusive line of clothing, without the risk of investing in large amounts of stock you end up being unable to sell.
The next step is getting your stuff noticed. Just having it online isn’t enough. And building an audience of your own can be expensive.
It makes sense to rent someone else’s.
We’ve written about Influencer Marketing before. While it might not work perfectly for some products, influencers and fashion are a deadly combination for ecommerce success.
Fashion is just as much about lifestyle as it is the products themselves. In many cases, the best way to advertise your fashion brand is with aspirational messaging from other influential parties that already have audiences that align with your branding.
Influencer marketing can be expensive. For example, if you were looking to have Selena Gomez show off your range of artisanal eveningwear, you’d be staring down a price tag of around $550,000 USD. You’re paying for 106 million eyes on your product, after all. That’s hardly attainable for most start-up brands.
But that’s not to say throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are many services that can connect you with relevant, affordable influencers. Take Scrunch for example. With their service, you can buy relevant, reasonable influencer marketing packages that will really help get your business off the ground.
Now you have some original products, and you’re pulling visitors to your website through a bit of outreach marketing. What’s next?
A lot of visitors will arrive at your website without ultimately converting. Don’t waste them! By adding a Facebook Pixel to your website, you’re able to place a cookie on your website visitors’ browsers, and ‘remarket’ them products that they’re likely to be interested in on Facebook. This means you can easily reach an audience of people who have already shown a definite interest in your brand. You’ll also be able to place your ads on other websites in the Google Display Network, with Google’s retargeting functionality.
Remarketing can have incredible ROI when done correctly. You know the audience you’re putting your ads in front of are qualified leads! All you need to do is keep your brand fresh in their mind, and maybe offer them a little incentivising nudge back with a custom made discount offer.
For customers you do win through your remarketing efforts (or by simply having a fantastic product range) – remember, the journey isn’t over.
In an industry as competitive as fashion, you need to retain your customers. It takes a lot less money to keep an existing customer than it does to win a new one. So truly successful ecommerce brands run off of customer loyalty.
One of the best ways to keep customers? Make them feel special with a personal, one-on-one communication channel. When done right, permission based marketing practices (i.e: email automation) are a great way to show your customers you care, without feeling ’spammy’ or annoying.
Consider creating a ‘Post purchase’ series. Ask the customer what they thought of their recent purchase. Recommend them complimentary products. Maybe even offer them a small discount to get them back into your store for a second order?
Find out more about how we build Post Purchase email automations at Andzen here.
Don’t waste Abandoned Carts!
Not everyone that puts a product in their cart is going to ultimately purchase. In fact, more people put something in their cart and then leave, then those who actually purchase. For every 10 people who put something in their cart, only three will actually buy it. And the figures are even worse in Australia.
If website visitors are qualified – cart abandoners are the gold standard of leads. They’ve shown such a great interest in your clothing that they’ve pulled it off the shelves, dropped it in the trolley, wheeled it to checkout brandishing their credit card, then gone home because they forgot to feed the goldfish. Don’t let them forget to return!
With email automation, you can recover a huge number of these sales. By sending timely, relevant reminders that their order is waiting – and perhaps even offering a small discount – you can get a huge return on all the investment you’ve already put into your remarketing, influencer marketing, and all the other litany of costs you’ve spent on getting them there. Creating an ‘Abandoned Cart’ series is one of the quickest wins your brand can implement.
Just take a look at the return we pulled for our client Fae!
Last but not least – in fashion, your brand is everything. Keep it consistent.
Consistency doesn’t have to be a prison. If you want to be creative – be creative. But remember, your fans fell in love with you for a reason. Don’t lose that spark.
Consistent branding means keeping your social pages, your website copy and imagery, your email marketing and your outbound advertising all working together. You need to keep the same personality across every channel.
This helps new and existing customers trust you. They can tell you’re not putting on a front if you effortlessly achieve the same character across everything you do.
With a consistent brand, some solid digital marketing tools, and a good customer journey strategy, your ecommerce fashion label can make its way up to the big leagues.
If you need any help with any of the above, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.