New York Fashion Week has begun! Today, the hottest looks will strut down the runway, debuting the new “in” trends to the world. Though your inventory may not be couture, the runway inspirations of the season can trickle down into all areas of the industry. The new colors and styles will be fresh and sellable. Apparel retailers, are you ready?
Apparel, shoes and accessories are some of the most-shopped-for items on the internet. In fact, Apparel and Accessories is the second-fastest-growing category for online shopping, behind Books, Music and Video. Given the popularity of the category, it’s crucial that your products be seen online on multiple channels so they can reach larger audiences, crush the competition and increase your online revenue.
As you know, there’s more to online marketing than ruffles and frills — which is where we come in. Over the coming weeks, we’ll feature tips, trends and success stories specifically for apparel retailers, right here on our blog.
As a retailer, you should approach e-commerce the same way your customers are approaching their shopping: on multiple channels. These days it’s easy for consumers to shop around for the best value. As a result, you’ll need to diversify your offerings online while driving traffic back to your website.
Keep in mind that the internet doesn’t allow consumers to make the same tangible product judgments that they would in a physical store. Instead, your product data is the foundation for your listings on online marketplaces, social shopping sites, paid search engines and even your website. Always ensure that the core elements of your product data — titles, high-quality images and descriptions — are accurate, up to date and optimized.
That One Special Item
Often, fashion enthusiasts are looking for a certain special item each season, be it a trendy top or a classic pair of pumps. Whatever it is, it’s your job to help them find it. Pay-per-click (PPC) strategies are complex, but when the stakes are high it’s crucial that shoppers are able to find your merchandise quickly and easily. The goal is to be at the top of their search results without overspending on keywords and ads.
Fashion shoppers tend to be more visually motivated, so Product Listing Ads (PLAs), the driver behind Google Shopping, are perfect for grabbing their attention. Retailers can include high-quality images, along with prices and other promotions. Better yet, Google introduced Shopping campaigns in late 2014, which help retailers better manage PLAs behind the scenes. You’ll get more granular control, structured organization as well as enhanced reporting and analytics.
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
In the fashion industry, high-quality, professional images are everything. The fashion magazines are filled with them. Capturing the colors and texture of fabrics and materials is what sells apparel and accessories. Whether they’re shopping online or in person, shoppers want to have a true sense of how an item will fit or feel before making a purchase.
To see the intricate details, shoppers need to be able to view various angles of each item. For clothing retailers, providing videos of items being modeled demonstrates how a dress, top or pants will fit and wear. Top-notch rich media provides the in-store experience that fashionistas desire and eliminates doubts that can prevent conversions.
Establishing Street Cred
Whether you’re trying to appeal to the fashion expert or the style novice, establishing credibility with your customers is a key element to attracting repeat shoppers. Social media has opened the door for retailers to develop a brand personality and engage shoppers in an inexpensive and highly effective way. Visually driven social sites like Pinterest, Wanelo and Polyvore have become especially popular with apparel shoppers and retailers alike. These sites can give retailers the chance to showcase product images in a variety of creative and compelling ways.
Communicating the latest trends or hottest-selling items will allow you to build a relationship with your customers and foster brand loyalty. Extending special discounts to these loyal shoppers is another way to make them feel appreciated and encourage their allegiance. Shoppers who are loyal to retailers are more likely to share the images and comments that you post on your website and social sites, further expanding your online visibility. Posting images and videos also draws the eyes of shoppers and can facilitate more sharing by your followers.
Be sure to tune back next week to hear an apparel retailer’s e-commerce success story. Until then, download this free multichannel e-commerce guide designed specifically for fashion retailers.
Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor