Any online fashion retailer’s ultimate goal is to get shoppers scrolling their storefronts and clicking on the coveted “buy” button. In today’s ecomm world ripe with opportunity for digital engagement, retailers are looking to one-up that goal. Success means not only getting consumers to love your brand, but inspiring them to tell their friends about it and keep coming back for more.
How can you get consumers as psyched about your brand as you are? We’re seeing retailers double down on certain fashion e-commerce trends to win shoppers’ hearts and their affinity for sharing.
We’ve outlined these trends, and how fashion retailers can meaningfully engage consumers through a mix of data-driven strategy and creative vision.
1. Create a strong brand ethos
When talking about brand ethos, it’s impossible not to mention the brand at the forefront of this strategy. We’re talking about Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company that has achieved insanely high brand loyalty by forgoing the coolness factor to instead focus on being environmentally conscious. (Which, as it turns out, is pretty 2018.) This eco-friendly apparel brand has now become the gold standard for ethically-minded companies, setting a high bar.
How did they do it? Patagonia routinely leads the outdoor clothing industry in the use of recycled fabrics like nylon and polyester. For the outdoorsy (and likely environmentally conscious) shoppers that frequent outdoor apparel brands, this is huge. If shoppers believe the brand is truly championing the environment, and that buying from them will reduce their eco-footprint, the environmentally-conscious shopper will likely prioritize this ideal over price. This keeps consumers thinking about the company as more than a brand, but as an addition to their nature-loving lifestyle.
The fact is, investing in and creating a lasting ethos works wonders for consumer loyalty. And, hey, Patagonia was projected to produce $750 million in revenue last year.
2. Develop an omnichannel approach
An omnichannel, or “all channel,” strategy goes hand-in-hand with building a strong brand ethos. The story surrounding a brand and product is most effective when it is reinforced across every customer-facing channel. If your brand is fearless and edgy on Instagram, your storefront should mirror that same vibe. Apps should easily integrate into in-store experiences, and social voice should be consistent.
Stylish luggage retailer, Away travel, does an awesome job with omnichannel. Customer service reps for the brand tout travel tips, and the company publishes a magazine dedicated to a globetrotting way of life.
Beyond creating a consistently awesome image across all of your channels, it’s also important to consider the customer experience. Communication is a major piece of this puzzle – if you have consumers interested in an item on your website, how can they access more information about that item in a way that requires as few steps as possible? Perhaps that means an integrated chat feature where shoppers can speak to customer service reps, or an opportunity to see what that product looks like in situation on your brand’s Instagram feed.
There are lots of channels out there at brands’ disposal – it’s important to have a well thought through strategy in how you use them.
3. Eliminate all possible barriers to conversion
Barriers to conversion could be as deep-seated as confusion around the product or service you are offering to a checkout process that’s not optimized for shoppers’ needs. The key is to identify those barriers so your team can work to ensure a seamless process for your consumer at each touch.
These are top conversion roadblocks to double check:
- Is your checkout process easy? If you require shoppers to create an account, nix it and offer guest check out. If you have three pages of info for your user to wade through, break it down into what’s necessary.
- Does your website make sense? You understand your business model, you know what makes your products great, but not everyone does. State your process clearly and effectively (without bogging them down with wordy content) so consumers know what to expect, from the delivery process to materials used.
- Are your shipping costs too high or does it take too long for your products to be delivered? Consider what can be done to lower and expedite shipping costs and time, a common blocker for antsy consumers.
- Can your customers trust your payment process? A padlock icon and message about security can work wonders.
4. Put customers first with flexible payment methods
This fashion e-commerce trend ultimately comes down to trust. By asking a consumer to buy your product, you’re asking them to trust that those sneakers will look just like the snapshot pic you posted on Instagram. Why not prove to your customer that trust goes both ways by offering flexible payment methods?
Heard of the try-before-you-buy phenomenon? Klarna, for example, offers fashion retailers the option to let customers Pay Later, without taking on any extra risk. Customers can pay when and how they want, after their order is delivered.
By offering flexible payment options, you’re also proving that you believe in your products so much, you’re willing to let people see them, touch them, feel them, and spend some time with them before they ultimately decide they love them too and can’t let go. Alternative payment methods are becoming more popular, but they are not yet the standard. By offering these additional choices, you set your brand apart for the better.
5. Be shareable on social
A lot of us would be hesitant to admit what a big deal social is, but it’s monumental. Fashion Nova famously built its brand (and consequent millions) by building a steady network of Instagram influencers who post pics clad head to toe in the brand’s latest gear. The biggest surprise? The influencers do it for free. You read that correctly: the vast majority of Instagram influencers who post in Fashion Nova receive 10 -15 items of free clothing per post, but no cash.
Social media is the driving force behind fashion powerhouses like Lululemon, Revolve and countless others. While not everyone is able to get a celeb to don their threads for 30 million fanatic followers, you can still adopt a strong strategy to build an engaging online presence.
We hope you’re feeling inspired to create the next craze-worthy, viral brand. Putting these fashion e-commerce trends to work for you will get you there.
Want to know how Klarna can help you as a fashion retailer? Read more here.