How to Scale Your Fashion eCommerce Business: 5 Crucial Steps
Fashion is the single biggest eCommerce market segment in the world and is estimated to reach around $600 billion in 2020.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that more online clothing stores are opening up each year, trying to carve out space in a booming market where there’s plenty of profits to go around month after month.
However, while there are certainly plenty of success stories, many others have found that becoming noticed and increasing sales consistently is still a challenge.
Less established fashion stores not only have to compete with industry giants like Walmart or Amazon but also need to become visible in their own niches, where there are usually at least a few stores that are more established and more visible.
Luckily, even if you’re just starting out and don’t have a large marketing budget, there are practical and proven approaches you can take to scale your apparel business and take it to the next level.
Let’s explore some of the most important steps you need to take below.
Differentiate Your Brand
Online shoppers are becoming more sophisticated every year. And that’s not at all surprising, especially when you consider how many options they now have for shopping at different stores and finding a brand that best matches up with their expectations.
However, that also means that if you’re going to have a chance of attracting interested customers, you will need to be able to offer them a tailored and unique shopping experience that they can’t find anywhere else.
And all of that starts with your brand.
As you probably know, fashion and apparel are very closely linked with the brand – when people shop for clothes, they are looking for a brand that resonates with how they perceive themselves, as well as the values and beliefs that they hold.
What’s more, brands are usually a representation of the lifestyle that a person wants to associate with, which is why an online clothing store promoting outdoor clothes for men would need a completely different design and branding strategy than a brand hoping to reach young women.
Whatever type of products you sell, you need to think about how your company is perceived and how you’re positioning yourself. Consider whether your current branding efforts align with your audience’s expectations, and how you could provide a better overall experience while also differentiating from the competition.
Use Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has been a hot topic in the eCommerce world for a few years now, but the truth is, most of the hype that you might have read about has been warranted.
Social proof plays a significant role in buying decisions, so getting your brand promoted by a peer or an authority figure in your niche can be a game-changer that instantly skyrockets your apparel store to new heights.
That’s especially true in the fashion industry, where a lot of the buying decisions come down to trends and momentum, which can sometimes be started by a single social media post if it’s coming from someone who has an audience that’s primed to respond positively.
However, even though there’s a ton of potential with influencer marketing, many apparel brands struggle with using it effectively, especially when trying to scale and increase their reach. Sure, usually it results in a few sales here or there, but how can you take your influencer marketing campaigns to another level?
Well, as in most marketing approaches, it all comes down to how strategic you can be and how big you can think about your ambitions.
Many apparel e-commerce stores operate on a post-by-post basis – they find an influencer they can work with, arrange the terms, and publish the post. Sometimes, they won’t even have a reliable method of tracking crucial metrics beyond the sales themselves.
But if you want to achieve long-term success, you need to have a deeper understanding of the reasons for working with one influencer or another, and how that specific partnership might set up your future actions as well.
You should try to build a network of influencers and brand ambassadors that can promote to different segments of your audience, and continually improve on the campaigns by tracking performance and making informed decisions based on the feedback and data that you receive.
Take Advantage of Specialized Technology
When trying to succeed in the very competitive world of apparel eCommerce, every little edge that you are able to gain can play a vital role.
Even a slight improvement you can make gives you an edge over the competition. At the same time, every missed opportunity means that you are giving away market share to savvier and more proactive rivals.
And one of the most straightforward and easy steps in the right direction is ensuring that your inner processes of store management run as smoothly as possible.
Today, there are specialized apparel industry management solutions that were created to meet the everyday needs of fashion businesses online. These tools provide a wide range of features such as real-time multi-channel inventory, advanced product tracking, style costing, apparel-based Bill-of-Materials, and much more.
Having all the tools necessary to run efficient inventory, production, and sales management can make a huge difference when you’re trying to improve your margins, make better decisions, and provide the best possible experience for your target audience.
Personalize the User Experience
UX (User Experience) optimization is another buzzword that you’ve probably heard more than a few times. And it’s even more prominent in the apparel industry, where you can find tons of useful info about how to improve user experience.
Still, while most apparel store owners understand that UX is crucial, implementing the best practices on your site isn’t always easy.
Sure, most people understand that they should invest in professional and unique product images and provide extensive and on-brand descriptions of products (which is also vital for SEO purposes), not to mention the now-common-knowledge importance of a mobile-friendly and lightning-fast website.
But in 2020 and beyond, UX in the fashion eCommerce world has taken a step further – since it’s the most prominent eCommerce market, it’s only understandable that the most innovation happens in this field as well.
If you want to 1) make your customers happy and 2) make significantly more sales, there’s a way to achieve both goals simultaneously using the technology that’s available today.
It all becomes possible with the help of personalized shopping.
You’d be shocked to discover just how much data you can legally and ethically obtain about the habits and behaviors of your site visitors. And then, you can take that data and use it to provide more engaging, more relevant, and overall better experiences and suggestions for your audience, which is a win-win for everyone.
You can customize your product selection to provide the most relevant offers based on past behaviors, send gentle reminders for people to complete their purchases, or mix and match offers and products to enhance someone’s shopping experience and offer them products that they are likely to want to buy together.
And if you have a way to collect email addresses of your customers (which you definitely should), then you can start using the data that you receive to send personalized offers instead of sending out generic newsletters that aren’t nearly as effective.