Growing a Clothing Store is Difficult Without These Fundamental Practices — Blogs
To run your clothing store successfully, the website needs a captivating flow. This article will explain what some of the key subjects of running an apparel store are, and how you can turn them into the strong points of your Ecommerce business.
We will start from your competitive advantages, then go over your audience and image. With a lot of attention to the features of your website, we will give you advice that you can put to action.
You vs. the Clothing Industry Competition
What more can you offer?
Even if you are just considering to start your apparel store, you probably already know that you are getting into one of the most competitive industries in the world.
In 2013, the global Menswear market had total revenues of $423.3 billion, and is expected to go up to $571.8 billion until 2018 — ReportLinker.
How should clothing companies redirect their efforts to stay in the competition and avoid being left out of the action? The answer is simple — brand loyalty. The more your marketing strategy is revolving around your customer and not your product — the better. Developing an identity will give consumers something to distinguish and associate with.
“Customer Centricity is the New Game”
Daniel Newman, Forbes
Knowing your customers is not nearly enough anymore. This doesn’t mean that you should start ignoring the need of target audience research, but the exact opposite — extend beyond that.
Customer centric marketing is about becoming more than just another cool brand to your customers. Not just listening, but responding to them. Not just engaging, but creating a better experience for them. In turn, this not only leads to building a relationship, but earning their trust.
The next question is logical — what is your identity? If you have that answered, then the things we mentioned above will not be so difficult for you to accomplish.
The apparel industry exploits a very basic human need — clothing. Everybody needs it and everybody has their own taste. That is why fashion is constantly evolving, going into infinite directions, always creating new opportunities. Still wondering why the clothing industry is so competitive?
Target the Right Audience
Does your store image appeal to that audience?
The image of your store is what customers relate to when they see that it matches their style, interest and preferences. The question here is how does your store convey that image? Let’s see an example:
Phix Clothing immediately makes an impression that their products are meant for indie fans and hipsters. The retro feel is noticed on both the Men and Women pages, which means that a customer who is interested will relate right away.
The first rule of targeting your audience successfully is to stop trying to appeal to everyone. Your best bet is to appeal to the exact people that will help you achieve the goals you set. In QuickSprout’s guide to building your personal brand, Neil Patel separates these people in three groups:
- The customers — this group should be your number one focus. You need to have a good idea of who they are, what their interests are and what drives their passion. This is how you will know how you can reach them on an emotional level.
- The people who influence the customers — these people hold the attention of your potential customers and influence their way of thinking. It could be a popular vendor that people prefer and trust.
- The supporters — this can be your personal support team or any group of people that you can rely on to be honest, offering their help and guidance. When in doubt, you need to trust these people for feedback and constructive criticism.
You will notice that all of these people revolve around a single passion, interest and style — yours. All of your efforts should be targeted at them — your brand, slogan, and product are just the building blocks for the bridge you create between your business and your customers.
“Companies that get confused, that think their goal is revenue or stock price or something. You have to focus on the things that lead to those.”
Tim Cook, Apple CEO
Social media dictates fashion trends
You better be on Pinterest and Instagram right now…
Visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than any other type of content. Both Instagram and Pinterest are perfect channels for marketing a clothing store because they are all about visual content. Customers do not shop for apparel to see the specifications first — they sort by the product image.
Instagram is a great tool to share your own images and setup your personal gallery. Since sharing images from a mobile device is quite easy, this platform allows for creating a more personal and authentic experience with your brand.
However, Pinterest is more about curation and lets users view a broad range of images from different sources. This is a preferred method by marketers as it allows mixing other’s content with yours. Sharing trending images related to your products helps build a bigger audience faster as it helps grow your reputation and presence. This can lead up to the potential of becoming a tastemaker.
The meaning behind “fashion trends” is more fragile than ever because social media has the power to create new waves and shatter others overnight. Like Marc Worth, CEO of Stylus Fashion said:
“The most important thing is to work on your brand identity, who you are, how you differentiate from your competitors. Trends are tools that might help you convince your clients how you and your brand understand how the world changes.”
A Few User Experience Ideas for Clothing Stores
It’s important to view as much user experience techniques as possible, both popular and not so much. Something that works for another store might not work for you, and vice versa. We will present some standard practices and some new ones that are quite eye-catching, especially for businesses that are trying to build their identity.
BALR are very concise with their product presentation and do not display any distractions, only the products themselves. This is a good practice for giving any new visitor exactly what they need to see.
Hampden are using a popular and effective practice for displaying related products that might go well with the apparel that you are currently viewing.
Yoox have a very detailed and long filtering system that lets users tailor their search to a lot of specific requirements. Another feature that impacts the speed with which visitors can find the items that suit them best.
Nike’s “Customize” section gives users the freedom to choose the appearance of each detail of their shoes. This is not only useful for customers who want to create their own style and have a unique pair of shoes, but it’s also a lot of fun to work with. And fun is a pivotal concept in user experience design.
Everlane is using something you don’t see everywhere. A “Transparent Pricing” section in their product pages. It provides visitors with a very clear and detailed insight into what makes up the final price of the product. Cost of materials, labor, transportation, and others are included.
Apolis are not just suggesting a product that goes with the one you are viewing. They offer entire “Looks” that are collections making up a given style or fashion trend. Visitors who are keen on a particular image will browse for the products that interest them much easier.
The purposes of these user experience techniques are different, but all revolve around a single goal — give new visitors and customers a simpler way of browsing your store, and add something unique that will appeal to their emotional side.
LOUISAVIAROMA have a unique diary section where they feature a lot of information such as interviews and articles about noteworthy figures. They talk with models and show how they came to be part of the fashion world. An significant part of their posts is the “Editor’s Picks” section where products related to the article are displayed. These features are important for visitors who are engaged with the clothing and fashion industry.
Tweaking Your Website
The impact of usability and functionality
Page speed dictates the success for online businesses. It’s one of the primary subjects that come to mind when speaking about web performance. Going back to the competitive nature of the clothing industry, it’s important to note the immense number of stores that your customers can pick from. This is a factor that turns apparel shopping into a quick procedure where every hitch encountered by a customer in your website can be fatal.
Check out part of KISSMetrics’ infographic about How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line.
Running an apparel store is far from being an easy endeavor. Fashion trends have a shorter life span and new styles are coming from all directions. Tailoring clothes is very similar to crafting your website — both have to fit customer expectations perfectly.
Originally published at isenselabs.com.