By Nirdesh Singh
Call it the power of the Internet to draw diverse traffic patterns or else to promote more controlled shopping experience, e-commerce has emerged as the most lucrative selling vehicle for fashion brands. As per Emarketer, a market research firm, the sale of apparel and accessories in the web space has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. In fact, the online sale of fashion apparel was tipped to account for $73 billion worth of online purchases in 2017 in the US alone. It has been maintained that young fashion brands will need to seize the opportunity that e-commerce has to present today besides keeping their offline attributes alive whereby their customers will be able to touch and feel the products before buying the same.
Net-a-Porter, for instance, is an e-commerce platform which has provided a tremendous impetus to young fashion brands. In spite of the presence of the platforms like these, young fashion brands need to focus on their individual e-commerce presence. In the web sphere brands don’t need to rely on wholesalers to reach out to consumers and this can account for 20 or 30% increase in profit.
There are many young fashion brands that are concerned about the impact that personal e-commerce sites will have on their wholesale accounts (that are lucrative nonetheless). However, as has already been mentioned, the Internet is a huge space accommodating diverse traffic patterns with diverse customer profiles. Having an e-commerce store is likened to having an offline brick-and-mortar store which of course offers you better brand exposure.
Know When and How to Launch Your Site
At the heart of a great e-commerce launch is the fashion brand’s ability to identify the right time and place to initiate their commercial endeavors. The concerns regarding the same multiply when the brands feel clueless about the kind of investment they have to make. You can do away with these concerns simply by having a look at platforms like SquareSpace, Shopify and Tictail etc. If you’re new to e-commerce you will have access to plug-and-play and off-the-shelf options. With clear business objectives, you can easily make use of these platforms for the plethora of benefits offered by them including minimal technical know-how to be set up, drag and drop merchandising tools and others. Venda, DemandWare and Sellect are more advanced platforms having a greater number of customizable features.
One needs to have a thorough knowledge of CRM or Customer Relationship Management system which aids businesses to gather and organize customer data. Businesses are required to curate these systems as they make for one of the strongest tools facilitating business growth. In order to make the most of the benefits offered by good CRM systems, make sure you are selecting something which has sufficient room for making substantial changes.
Focus on a Great Website Design
You need to ensure that your e-commerce site is backed by a great business website as well. The website needs to be the perfect amalgamation of aesthetics and professionalism. Resorting to professional help remains a more prudent decision since they will be able to bring out the finer points that not only reflect the virtues that your brand inherently stands for but also offer a great user experience.
Let’s not forget that your website should be backed by due responsiveness – which means users should be able to open it easily across all devices including tablets, smartphones and desktops. Mobile search has taken over the e-commerce scenario in a major way. In 2017 mobile actually accounts for more than 25% of online searches. It is important to rely on the skills of a good photographer who will literally bring your brand alive online by taking beautiful brand images- shot from different angles.
It is important to get a great UX professional and an equally credentialed visual designer on board. There is no dearth of agencies offering relevant services. Make sure that you are actually investigating qualifications thoroughly before signing up for services. Be wary in your search for the best out there. Trust the ones whose services are backed by great reviews and personal recommendations as well.
Inventory Management is Crucial: Learn More About It
Proper inventory management is crucial to e-commerce success. Now, as against popular belief, it is not really an arbitrary exercise. If e-commerce is your first foray into sales then do know for a fact that your inventory itself becomes a risky proposition if you are actually investing in it without confirmed orders. There are several young brands that actually commit the mistake of allocating a prefixed percentage of their offering to the online channel. It should be remembered that this measure may well work for the inaugural season but looking at the past sales data and season-wise traffic trajectory is advised for long term results. E-commerce storekeepers should always endeavor to move unsold units without damaging full-price sales.
Know What a Fulfillment Platform Is
What’s the use of a fulfillment platform? This particular platform can be utilized to process orders, facilitate shipping and accept returns. There are a few small brands that fulfill their goods right from their offices after launching their sites. There are others that collaborate with third party units that take care of the logistics – including storing goods, shipping them and process returns. The third party logistic centers, however, are not really responsible for handling customer calls. It’s the brand itself which should be answering calls and emails thereby exploring important feedback which can be utilized for planning and executing their future products.
Promotion: What Tools Can You Rely On?
There is no scope for survival without a solid promotional vehicle – which of course is deemed almost inevitable for traffic generation. Search Engine Optimization, affiliate marketing, search engine marketing, social media marketing and email marketing are just a few of the promotional tools that can actually be harnessed by e-commerce marketers to make a positive impact.
With a laser-like focus on the aforementioned attributes, fashion apparel brands can actually go on to make the desired impact as far as e-commerce is concerned.