Fashion Ecommerce Content Marketing

The Ultimate Guide

When looking at the ecommerce netscape, it’s hard to find a better fit with content marketing than fashion.

Business to Consumer marketing, B2C, enables brands to tap into storytelling, entertainment, and users’ leisure activities to gain traction with their online content. Fashion and entertainment come from the same world, so it’s no surprise that many are seeing success when investing in online content.

Content is certainly not new to fashion. What was previously dominated by print magazines was quickly disrupted during the early 2000s. The internet in its many forms—blogging, social media, and accessibility of digital photography—empowered creators to develop communities rapidly and successfully. Online retailers and publishers soon passed the well-known and larger publishers by creating their own online magazines, blogs, and social platforms, by passing traditional media to engage with and advertise directly to consumers. Some even became part of the media by selling advertising.

Alternatively, publishers and content creators are monetizing in more ways than advertising revenue. Websites are now making their content shopable, providing more evidence that fashion ecommerce and content are a perfect match.

Fashion retailers are moving into the publishing space MUCH faster than publishers moving into the ecommerce space. (At Uhuru we’ve been helping both sides.) The publishers that still remain in their decade-plus chronic downward spiral had better kill it soon on ecommerce, or face being killed.

Content is always king. It’s said all the time in marketing and has become cliche, but the issue is that most brands aren’t following along.

Though this article is about fashion ecommerce and very useful for those working in the space, anyone operating in regards to content marketing will get value and find the article useful.

Also, the fashion lens aside, if you’re in digital content production or ecommerce you will find actionable strategies and tactics to improve your efforts.

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12 Content Marketing Objectives for Your Fashion Brand

1

Brand Awareness

Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and loyalty with consumers, something that needs to be at the top of your goal list in such a crowded market. As more and more businesses move toward exclusively operating online, brand positioning is more important than ever.

3

Engagement

Content marketing works best when it’s met with a high level of engagement. Your customers have a need and will engage with your content (and your brand) as long as it helps to meet their need or solve their particular problem.

The part that is becoming more and more challenging is getting and keeping people’s attention. Your customers are finding themselves with shorter attention spans and less and less free time. In the midst of this time and attention deficit, content marketing is proving itself to be one of the only ways to actively engage them.

5

Social Media Engagement

Speaking of sharing, your content production certainly shouldn’t be limited to your blog. In fact, the more places you can engage your potential customers with great content, the better. You should be creating content that builds a community around your brand.

Once you have awesome content, where better to build that community than on social media?
You already know that social media is a great place to advertise your fashion ecommerce brand. But did you know that great content can be just as effective as paid ads at drawing new visitors to your store? It’s true. Plus, content marketing is essentially free.

One of the most important factors to consider when creating content is its share potential. As I mentioned earlier, you want your content to be shared naturally between as many people as possible. It’s not as hard as you might think, but I’ll being going over how it’s done a little later.

The shareability of your content allows it to be organically placed in front of people who otherwise don’t know your brand exists. Imagine, each of these new people has the potential to become your new favorite customer.

So what type of content should you be creating to attract a social media audience and get them sharing?

One example would be to post a weekly video series where you give tips and advice on how to stay ahead of upcoming fashion trends. You could call it “Fashion Forward Fridays.” You could even showcase your products in these videos in a way that eliminates the salesy feel of paid advertisements.

The most important thing is that you’re giving away free advice in a highly engaging way and making it easy for viewers to share your videos. They’ll appreciate the advice and, in turn, develop a trusted relationship with your brand.

2

Soft Influential Marketing

Content marketing helps the brand to be seen as an influencer to a point that competitors may even begin to reference them. Consistency in your content marketing gives you the power of something called “Soft Influential Marketing.”

By employing a powerful content marketing strategy, you position yourself as an influencer by generating engaging content that grabs people’s attention. If you create a new product category or coin a new term, it’ll be more readily accepted than if it came from competitors who are not using content marketing to develop their influence. In other words, content marketing may just help your brand lead your market!

4

Audience Engagement Through Entertainment

Successful content is anything but boring. While plenty of your content will aim to help customers solve a problem, some should also be purely for their entertainment. Fashion is new and fun and your content should feel that way too. Plus, entertaining content is easy to share.

Creative videos and fun photos make for powerful content. Your fashion ecommerce brand needs to create content that your customers will want to share. Think entertaining, funny, exciting, out of the norm.

Ask yourself if you would share what you’re posting?

6

Customer Acquisition

In the end, this is what it all comes down to, the dollar and cents of doing business. The customer makes your world go round. Simply put, with quality content marketing you can have more of them.

7

Support Selling

The best word to describe the impact of content marketing is support selling. Today, smart retailers also integrate content marketing in their online and retail stores in the form of blog posts and even in-store signage that explain the benefits of their products and services. In this manner, it makes selling easier and more cost efficient, as less retail staff is required for the store.

Content marketing, by nature, is entertaining and helpful. Your customers use it to learn about ways to solve a problem or meet a need. That support develops the trust necessary to make any purchase decision.

How can you help solve your customer’s problems and meet their needs? The words “problem” and “need” may sound a little dramatic, but that’s what every buyer has. They are buying to solve a problem or meet a need. In your case, you can help your audience solve the problem of determining that latest fashions and how they can incorporate them into their existing wardrobe.

For example…
Say Emily is searching for ways on how to update her bikini collection to fit this summer’s trends.
Your online bikini store needs to have a blog post ready for her. In a fun and informative way you can be helping her decide which of the most popular new looks are right for her skin tone and body type, as well as which are best for the beach or perfect for lounging poolside.

The help Emily receives establishes a trusted relationship with your brand. Now that she’s ready to buy she’ll be far more likely to shop your store thanks to your awesome content.
8

Customer Retention
and Loyalty

Content is one of your most significant methods in building relationships with your customers post-sale.
A major defining factors of success for ecommerce businesses of all kinds is customer loyalty. After all, there will always be someone out there who will copy your products, undercut your prices, or replicate your website. You work hard to get your customers, so you should be doing everything you can to keep them around.

When you help your customers answer a question or solve a problem, it builds trust and loyalty to your brand. There are a million other fashion brands online. Creating entertaining and informative content will help you to stand out as a trusted resource for all things fashion.

Your long-term goal is to ensure brand loyalty by educating consumers about products and services relevant to their needs. Customers are grateful if your brand can deliver what they want, not only from your products and services but also educate them through your branded content.

This will enhance brand loyalty among a small but strong group of customers who will later become your brand advocates on social or digital media.

10

Subtle Marketing

Content marketing has a subtle marketing impact on consumer decisions. Unlike push marketing tactics like sales, promotions, and offering of discounts, content marketing works in a very subtle way, such that the consumer may not feel that the branded content is trying to sell them something. Consumers are automatically less defensive when it comes to content marketing, thereby making your job a heck of a lot easier.

9

Lead Generation

A primary goal of marketing campaigns is to generate new leads and acquire new customers. Content marketing is no different. What is different is the way a well-implemented content marketing strategy can become a powerful long-term lead-generating machine.

Typical ecommerce lead generation is based on aggressive discounting which has similar implications to PPC. Instead of offering potential customers a discount on a future purchase if they sign up for your mailing list, offer them useful and interesting content.

When your content is engaging, your potential customers are likely to give you their email anyways, and you don’t need to reduce your order value or the overall customer lifetime value of someone who hasn’t even purchased yet.

11

Website Traffic

Whether your fashion ecommerce business is an extension of your retail store or you’re operating exclusively online, more traffic is a good thing. Especially organic traffic.

With content marketing you can drive new visitors to your homepage or individual product pages without ever paying for an ad or a click. When you create content that answers questions that your customers are asking, Google recognizes its value and directs them your way.

For example, say autumn is approaching and you write an article titled “2016 Coat and Jacket Guide: How to Stay Warm in Style.” You fill the article with keywords that your customers will be searching for. When Alicia searches for 2016 winter coat trends, Google will recognize that your content is going to help Alicia and will direct her to your article. Now Alicia is connected to your brand and begins to develop a relationship through your helpful content.

12

Sales - Thought Leadership

Content marketing leads to obtaining thought leadership from an archive of articles that are consistently shown to consumers. According to a study, consumers today are more convinced when the brand educates them with a relevant article or content that is of interest to them. This means that consumers today trust content marketing more than any other avenue of marketing. By becoming the thought leader in the industry with content marketing, your brand can eventually win the consumer market share!

Tracking Content Marketing Objectives

All of these objectives are fine and dandy but how do you know if you’re
actually making a difference in your business? How do you know if your
content marketing efforts are impacting the revenue being made?

That’s where metrics come in. In order to truly know if you’re doing content marketing correctly you need to track certain metrics that will not only add to the overall business picture but also show you how your online efforts are improving over time.

12 Metrics to Track Content Marketing Objectives

1

Website Traffic

Your total traffic says a lot about the efficiency of your marketing efforts, as well as your repeat business. Pay attention to where your traffic is coming from so you can tell what’s working and what’s not.

3

Social Media Sharing

Remember when I said that you need to consider your content’s shareability when creating it? This is where you do that. By tracking how much each piece is shared you’ll be able to determine just what your audience likes, and what you need to change.

5

Direct Sales

Direct Sales from content marketing is one of the most important metrics. Typically, these metrics are solely tracked without the rest of the rest of the buyer’s journey metrics. Don’t make that mistake. Sales from your on-site articles, guides, tutorials, infographics, videos, can and should be tracked.

7

Sales Lead Quality

The quality of your sales leads is an excellent reflection of your marketing. You can be driving tons of traffic and generating more leads than ever, but their perceived value may be inflated if they’re not high-quality leads that convert to paying customers. On the other hand, you may be generating fewer leads, but if they are of a higher quality and lead to higher conversions more frequently, you’re heading in the right direction with your marketing.

9

Product Awareness

Guess what?

You should also be monitoring the awareness you’re developing around specific products (using the tools outlined above).
Seasonal releases of new products create the need to accelerate awareness. Building up subscribers with content marketing and customer lists from your ecommerce stores empowers your brand to reach out to people directly.

For large wholesale brands, setting up a direct e-commerce site is a great way for a brand to test consumer reactions to a new product or see how it fares in a new market. For smaller brands, product awareness will drive a bulk of your sales.

10

Subscriber Growth

Higher numbers of subscribers means higher numbers of visitors who are generally more interested in what you have to offer. It also indicates higher quality leads from your marketing.

11

Cross-Selling

Your content will likely be boosting sales of the specific product and product pages you showcased. But here’s the best part: it will also likely boost the sales of other related products or those products your site recommends as customers view said pages. Pay attention to the jumps across the board, as the traffic to certain products and product pages will undoubtedly trickle through your inventory. For example, a video that links to your summer dresses page could be boosting the sales on your accessories page.

2

SEO Ranking

The way search engines see your site plays a big role in how they put it in front of potential customers. To get an idea of how Google (and the rest) are viewing your store, you need to check your SEO ranking. To get started, Google has an awesome set of tools simple enough for beginners to use.

4

Time Spent on Site

The time a viewer spends on your site tells you a lot about what they like and don’t like. It can tell you if your site/page is user friendly and even how they feel about your products. It can also tell you if they find it confusing or off-putting. Try a heatmap from crazyegg.com to see which parts of your site get the most attention and which send them packing.

6

Qualitative Feedback
from Customers

Qualitative feedback comes from open-ended questions asked to customers, even something as simple as “Tell us how we’re doing” placed in a customer’s receipt email. This freeform feedback you receive can alert you to big problems or small changes that you can make to improve the customer experience. Keep reading for more on social media customer service and why you should be listening every time someone mentions your brand.

8

Company/Brand Awareness

In fashion ecommerce, the more people that know about your brand the better. Which is why brand awareness is often the primary goal of fashion brands.

You can only rely on your analytics to tell you so much about the awareness you’re developing, but pay attention to the following metrics:

  • Number of new visitors
  • % of new visitors vs. overall visitors
  • Number of new direct visitors

As you raise awareness about your brand, you’ll start to notice jumps in these figures. As you drive more traffic to your site, you’ll be able to build a substantial retargeting list. It’s proven that once someone has visited your site, they are more likely to buy from you in the future, so work to create specific retargeting campaigns to convert them.

You can also search for links and brand mentions on social media to check out any buzz you’re creating about your brand or products with your marketing.

There are many strategic benefits to going direct to consumers with an ecommerce store and content marketing. Your main objectives should include growing sales, gaining control over pricing, strengthening the brand, getting closer to consumers, and testing out new products and markets.

12

Cost Savings

If you’re able to achieve the same results without spending as much on your marketing, you’re doing something right. Cost savings is a signal that you’re moving in the right direction and that you should be doing more of what’s bringing you such great results.

Content Marketing

Content is the glue that holds
together an organization’s commerce,
communications, and community.

Uhuru has worked with brands to:

  • Implement our proprietary frameworks to
    inform content strategy
  • Review metrics, production and distribution channels
  • Be an independent third party to assist in
    supplier selection projects

Talk to us about an initial, no-cost consultation.

Contact our Client Services Team at
hello@uhurunetwork.com or
call Americas: +1 (844) 233-9437

Fashion Ecommerce Tips, Ideas, & Best Practices

Ecommerce Product Pages

Product pages are not usually considered part of content marketing, but they do contain many content elements that have a large impact on your success. So let’s take a look at the elements that make for perfect product pages.

Product Page Best Practices

How do your product pages hold up? Look through this list and make sure they’re not letting you down and turning away customers.

Key Info First
Keep the most important information at the top of the page. Product pages don’t fully render when they load and you don’t want important information below the rendered portion of the screen.

Responsiveness Wins
You already know to have your site ready for mobile shoppers, but product pages also need to be structured in a unique way. You want to guide your customers down the page with a layout of your products, keeping plenty of space between the interactive elements for tapping and scrolling.

Find a nice balance between imagery and text. Also, keep call-to-action buttons, like “add to cart,” front and center.

Space it Out
It’s important to leave space on both mobile and desktop viewers alike. Most shoppers are quickly scanning pages for items that they love, so leave enough blank space in between each product to make scanning easy on the eyes.

That goes for margins, line and letter spacing, and the areas around your images too. The whole page has to be easy to read and your shoppers need to be able to pick out the most important aspects of each product on the fly.

Use the Right Imagery and Visualization
High-quality custom photos are invaluable and worth the investment. The right images can dramatically improve your conversion rates. Even a technique as easy as making the pictures bigger can create a noticeable uptick in conversion rates. The higher quality your images, the better your page will be optimized.

The perfect photo can mean the difference between a scroll and a sale, so be sure you’re using powerful images that complement your products and show off their real world appeal. In fact, pair your product photos with great shots of them being worn by customers and employees in real life to show just how appealing they are out of the box.

Put your best pictures first and makes sure to depict as many different angles and perspectives as possible. Videos and 360-degree views are great ways to show off the whole product from front to back, side to side.

Focus on the Long Tail
A product page is basically a long-tail keyword landing page, so be sure to write your product descriptions as if you were writing optimized content on the rest of your site. Your product pages should have the same keywords repeated in order to boost their relevance and visibility in the search engines.

Schema Markup
Rich snippets of text and other forms of structured data make it easier to translate your website’s information to search engines. This, in turn, allows them to do a better job of presenting your info to shoppers as they search

Make your product listings stand out in the search results with visuals, ratings, pricing, and availability. It’s one of the best ways to grab attention from other product listings and build trust with potential customers.

Make sure your ecommerce site is using the product properties provided by Schema.org to mark up each product (with the help of a developer or technical team).

Ecommerce Product Pages

Price and the most important information about each product should be clearly displayed to make it easy to skim. Avoid adding too many details about a product in order to reduce clutter. If more needs to be said, add a “read more” section that can be clicked to expand. High-converting product pages are those that can be read at a glance and stimulate the impulse to buy without having to read through lots of text.

Sizing Options
One of the hardest parts of shopping online is determining which size to select. That final purchase question is a difficult one to answer, so provide your customers with all the help you can.

Shoppers need to easily understand which garment is right for them across any brand or retailer.

An excellent way to help them is to provide feedback from previous buyers. Let them describe both their purchase experience in detail and you’ll be giving your customers the perfect resource from which to make their decision. Plus, you’ll be forming a community around your products and your site.

Adding to Bag/Basket and Wishlist
When your customer decides it’s time to add an item to their shopping cart, you’re presented with a moment of opportunity. They’ve decided to buy from you, so the wall has come down and they’re open to your influence.

At this point you should be presenting them with:

Related Items/Recommendations: If they’re buying one item, a customer is far more likely to buy a second item at the same time. So show them what you have to go with their purchase. If they have selected one of your new summer sun dresses, show them other dresses like it and the perfect pair of flats to go with them.

Discount Subscriptions: Be it your valued customers or a first-time window shopper, all of your store’s visitors are important. Make sure to grab their email for future marketing purposes and give them an incentive to return while you’re at it.

Add a quick exit intent popup (pops up when they move to close the window) to your site that offers a discount or giveaway in exchange for their email address. When they enter it, send them a coupon or special offer to be used within a certain date and you’re more likely to have a repeat customer in your near future.

Dynamic Content on Product Pages

Today’s most effective product pages are those that include dynamic content that help customers feel an emotional response to the items being displayed. Try introducing different types of content to your product pages in order to test what works for your customers.

Video
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth ten thousand. Videos give you the ability to display your products in multiple angles, settings, and styles. They also give you the opportunity to tell a story about your product that stimulates viewers emotionally.

Social Share
Social media is already intertwined in every other aspect of your customers’ lives, why shouldn’t it be a part of shopping on your store? The ability to share your products as they are shopping gives customers a way to get feedback from their peers while they shop. It also makes for a great exposure opportunity when they share products they think their friends will love.

Customer Reviews
User-generated content (UGC) is content that your users create for you. UGC takes many forms, but it has its greatest advantage in ecommerce. Since content is a time-consuming prospect with limited ROI, it makes sense to get others to do it for you (for free). Product reviews are exactly where this technique can help an ecommerce site flourish. Product reviews are much like testimonials–letting your customers do your marketing for you. Obviously, reviews are a double-edged sword. While positive reviews can easily sell a product, negative reviews can do just the opposite.

How Customers Have Styled It
Many fashion brands are now having the customers upload images of how they styled an item they purchased. This is great for two reasons: it shows the potential customer how a “real life” person styled the item, and it shows that it’s a popular piece.

Interactive Elements
Interactive content is that which turns passive users into active participants. Interactive content engages users in such a way that they are doing something on the page (and not just looking). Interactive elements could include social sharing, price toggling, shipping customization, quizzes, easy forms, and user-controlled visuals. The more interactivity you can add to your page, the greater you will engage and attract the user.

Product Collections & Lookbooks

Lookbooks and product collections are great ways to introduce a season’s new items to your customers. Great lookbooks are fun, engaging, and tell a story about your products that your customers can relate to and imagine themselves being a part of.

For example, Ted Baker created a screen page-turning experience for its Spring/Summer ‘16 collection, enabling them to pull you into the photos without creating a long page for the user to scroll down.

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Or Temperley’s lookbook, which includes a great zoom function with a vertical thumbnail scroller for easy navigation.

Lookbook Best Practices

Product collections and lookbooks are curated groups of products based upon a current look/outfit or trend. They are the clearest point at which commerce (product pages) merges with content, usually giving context to a particular trend while offering associated products directly. In a market of seemingly endless choices, a collection can nudge users toward particular products while simultaneously showcasing other related products within a listing.

Rather than listing all products in a category, which we would see if we navigated to “Jackets,” a retailer lists items that associate with each other according to merchandiser selection. The standard method of creating a collection was to simply create a new category page and list.

Now for how to create a lookbook that will wow your customers from start to finish:

Expandable Navigation
Consider the onscreen real estate you have to work with before you begin creating your lookbook. One of the best ways to make the most of what your viewer has available is to create an expandable navigation system. This way viewers can choose to expand the lookbook to the size of their screen, whatever they may be viewing from.

Expandable navigation also allows for full-size panels to slide back and forth rather than the traditional functionality of flipping digital pages.

Clickable Elements
It’s important to create clickable links to the products within your lookbook. That way, if a shopper sees something they like, they can add it directly to their cart without the hassle of searching for it back on a traditional product page. Be sure to highlight the clickable items in a way that clues viewers in or else all of your hard work may go unnoticed.

Video Showcases
People love videos and including them in your lookbook is an instant win. Create video shorts that show your products in action. Pepper them throughout your lookbook in order to showcase their real world appeal and functionality.

Keep Clutter to a Minimum
Text can quickly clutter up a page where the products are meant to be the hero. Avoid distracting and cluttering up an otherwise fluid user experience with too much text. Instead, let your amazing photos make the statement for you.

Compelling Photos
Use only the highest quality photos, taken from unique angles and perspectives. Tell a story about where the product comes from and how it will be used with each photo.

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Scrollable Carousels
Give users the option to skip ahead or jump around as they please with scrollable carousels. Make the experience easier and deliver the instant gratification of not having to flip through each page of your lookbook. When they’re after a particular item or two, lots of pages in the way will only lead to frustration.

Examples/Inspiration
I highly recommend checking out the lookbooks from H&M, JCrew, Nordstrom, Free People, and Anthropologie before getting started on your own. They’ll provide you with an excellent source of inspiration and you’ll likely want to include some of their elements as your create the perfect lookbook for your brand.

Optimize for Screen Size
These days, people will often browse on mobile and shop on desktops or tablets because shopping on a phone is a pain. That means you need to have your lookbook optimized for each and every screen size and device type. Be sure to test on as many devices as possible to catch errors before your customers find them.

Social Media and Community Technology

Your social media campaign may have a different impact on your customers depending on when they interact with it. At the beginning of the purchase path, top of the funnel, social media helps customers gain awareness of your product or service. In the middle, it creates desire and boosts interest. And at the bottom, it helps to seal the deal.

Facebook

With 1.65 billion users and counting (many of whom are on every day), Facebook is arguably the largest community in the world. You already know your customers are on Facebook (because who isn’t?), but your job is to develop a community of your customers around your brand. As a fashion brand, you have it easier than most. People love to talk about and share their favorite fashion looks and trends. By posting engaging content that targets your ideal buyer, you can bring them together around your brand’s Facebook page.

Post Frequency

Here at Uhuru we understand the importance of posting once per day to Facebook. While you may have heard this rule before, we’ve tested it with our clients. With one client in particular, we created a goal for them to post once per day. After two months we were able to compare the days with zero posts to days with 1 or more posts.

The days with 1 or more posts showed an average of 263% more engagement than days with zero posts! Be wary though, we do tend to notice a diminishing return when the number of posts reaches past 4 per day.

Organic Reach on Facebook

Facebook has been restricting posts its users see from businesses for quite some time. There are however, a few great ways to improve the way Facebook views your content in order to get them:

Audience Optimization
This Facebook tool allows you to post your content to a specific group of your followers who are most likely to enjoy each particular piece.

Shoppers need to easily understand which garment is right for them across any brand or retailer. An excellent way to help them is to provide feedback from previous buyers. Let them describe both their purchase experience in detail and you’ll be giving your customers the perfect resource from which to make their decision. Plus, you’ll be forming a community around your products and your site.

Create Evergreen Content
Content created to have a lasting appeal and generate more shares and general engagement.

Quality Over Quantity
We want you to post every day, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a blog post or in-house video. Share a relevant video or article link that pertains to your niche each day, and take your time creating high-quality content that you share 2-3 times per week. Take the time you would put into 7 smaller articles and create 2 or 3 awesome blog posts that your customers will genuinely appreciate.

Types of Posts and the Buyer’s Journey

Today’s most effective product pages are those that include dynamic content that help customers feel an emotional response to the items being displayed. Try introducing Blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, videos, pictures, infographics, case studies.

There are plenty of ways you can engage your audience. The important thing to understand is how to use each piece of content you create to nurture leads into paying customers. The process that takes place before a lead decides to buy from you is called “The Buyer’s Journey,” and it’s something every fashion ecommerce brand needs to understand.

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This is especially true if you’re going to be creating a powerful content marketing strategy. The buyer’s journey is made up of four stages:

Awareness Stage – where your customer becomes aware that they have a need.

Consideration Stage – when they determine their options.

Decision Stage – where they weigh their best options and select one.

Customer Stage – where they expect good product quality and great customer service and might become an advocate.

Each piece of your content should be created with a specific stage of the buyer’s journey in mind. In fact we have an awesome post all about how to use each type of content to gently influence your leads and move them along toward converting to paying customers.

Feedback

Your social media communities also act as the perfect sounding board to gather feedback about your brand. As you well know, people are very vocal about their opinions on social media. The filter tends to go out the window and that’s a good thing for you.

Use your social media accounts to gather feedback from your clients and potential customers. You’ll discover problems that you would otherwise be in the dark about. You’ll also be able to determine which parts of your products, branding, website, etc. your customers love most.

Actively search for users talking about your brand on social media with APIs like the one from socialmention.com.

Facebook Ads

So you’ve spent all of this time and effort creating killer content, but you don’t have a huge social following to share it with. That’s O.K.!

Paying to promote your content is a great way to expose your brand to people who never knew you existed. The best part is that they don’t feel like they’re being hit with a hard sell. Instead, they find your content helpful and interesting and begin to form a low-pressure relationship with your brand.

Your job isn’t over. When you advertise on Facebook, be sure to track your results to determine which elements of your campaign were successful and which can be improved.

Customer Service

One of the defining factors of today’s most successful fashion ecommerce brands is service. All of the biggest names put a lot of effort into maintaining happy clients and a positive social representation of their brand. You need to be doing the same.

Ask your clients for feedback, put a designated service tab on your page, let them know you care about their problems. You already know that it’s far more expensive to find a new client than it is to keep an existing customer. So why focus so much on marketing and so little on creating a superlative customer service experience?

Get your customers to give you feedback on your social media pages. Post self-service tips with answers to problems that come up on a regular basis (and work to fix them internally).

Search for mentions of your brand (socialmention.com) and see what people are saying. If they have a problem, do everything in your
power to fix it. It’s usually very easy to turn an unhappy customer into a return customer, as long as you make a genuine effort to solve their problem.

The way you handle your clients’ problems will generate positive brand awareness wherever the complaint is being made.

For example, your customer may find themselves complaining out loud to their Twitter following without using your twitter handle. If you show up and wow the unhappy customer, you’re doing so in front of an audience of potentially hundreds (or thousands) of people.

YouTube

Six billion hours of videos are watched on YouTube every month. People love videos, so give them what they want. Video is arguably the most engaging form of content you can create, but you can’t just film your product line and expect people to go crazy.

Make your videos fun and avoid the hard sales of traditional advertising at all costs. Instead, tell a story about your brand and products in a way that’s either helpful and informative or fun and exciting (both if possible).

You want people to get wrapped up in your video. Your products and branding are just along for the ride.

Here are 3 more tips to create awesome videos that promote your brand:

How-to Videos

One of the best ways to get people watching YOUR videos featuring YOUR products is through tutorials. How-to videos provide your customers with the excellent resource they were looking for to help answer a question or solve a problem.

While providing a resource is great, YouTube is saturated with how-to videos. Work to make yours fun, exciting, and unique.

Tip: Guide viewers in your description – The description area of your video gives you a great place to tell your viewers to subscribe to your YouTube channel or email list, as well as promote a connection on social media.

Campaign Videos

YouTube gives you the perfect platform to promote your video content. You have the ability to create video advertising campaigns that target your ideal buyers, but you have to be smart about it.

Tip: Fun in 5 seconds – Giving people the option to skip your video keeps them from feeling forced to do something they don’t want to do. You goal is to grab their attention in that first 5 seconds. Do something funny, silly, exciting, shocking, or downright outrageous to keep them watching.

Product Placement in Celebrity/ Influencer Channels

Working with famous influencers in the video arena is a wonderful way to not only gain exposure but also direct sales. YouTube influencers are extremely popular and can drive their community to check out your brand. There are two ways that YouTube celebrities/influencers do product placements: directly and indirectly.

The video could directly mention your product or your product could be included in the video but not directly mentioned as something to go out and buy, meaning it’s more about the experience.

Indirect example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QreRVD6hu3s

Direct example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6e4xXndCbWI

Instagram

Instagram is a fun way to promote your brand. In fact, many fashion brands are using it as a powerful marketing tool. Here is a list of how to make the most of your Instagram marketing:

Contest

Contests are a great way to boost followers and gain exposure for your brand. Offer a free giveaway that requires followers to share your post in order to enter. They’ll put your product in front of all of their followers and tag you in the post to confirm their entry.

Post Products in Creative Ways

Nobody wants to follow an Instagram full of product shots, but that doesn’t mean you can’t showcase them in fun and creative ways. Share shots of happy customers using their purchases in real life, or post photos from customers of your products in exotic locales.

Let Them See Behind the Curtain

Give your followers an inside look into what it takes to make your fashion ecommerce business run. Share funny shots of staff, or show them your human side when you get backed up with a huge number of orders and have to work through the night.

Famous Faces

If you have the fortune of making a celebrity customer, Instagram is the perfect place to show off. Your followers will love to see their favorite celeb wearing the same items they purchased from you.

Use Hashtags

Create your own hashtags to let users find pics about your contest or deals you’re running. Also, use popular hashtags in your photos to expose your brand to new people. Don’t however, overdo it. Nobody wants to follow a desperate fashion brand and having a ton of hashtags scream, “Follow me please.”

Pinterest

Pinterest is a unique social media platform that can be highly effective for fashion ecommerce brands. Posting helpful, creative, and exciting content with engaging photos can drive all kinds of traffic to your store. Here’s how you can get started:

On Your Site

  • Add the “Pin It” button to your products to allow shoppers to share their favorites.
  • Make sure your site automatically pulls a high-quality photo and description when one of your items is pinned.

Posting Your Pins

  • Each pin needs to link back to the proper landing page.
  • They should also include the price, as images with a price are liked more often.
  • Use lighter images that stand out and pair it with a CTA.
  • Use taller images when possible (if you can include a person’s face it’s ideal).
  • Write a good description with a length of 200-300 characters.
  • Around 70% of engagement occurs in the first 48 hours, so post on the weekends when people have more time to browse.
  • Create boards with specific themes that will attract followers. This way your pins will have lasting exposure.

Snapchat

If you’re running a business in 2016, you need to be thinking about Snapchat as a channel to grow your customer base. Snapchats are honest and real personal moments. When someone sends you a snap and you can reply in real time—within minutes—it’s extremely personal.

Use it to garner consumer attention in a more intimate manner. Show funny or exciting snaps of your products in use or shenanigans in your office. Your Snapchat following can even snap your pictures and videos of them wearing your products, which helps them feel connected to your brand.

Stay relevant. Google search “How to use Snapchat.” Schedule or assign time to learn the platform. Get to know it, learn the function and the capabilities.

Social Media Conclusion and Advice

Social media is the perfect platform to promote your fashion ecommerce brand. It allows you to share engaging content and connect with your followers and their peers. It also gives you a place to build a community around your brand.

Furthermore, social provides you with the perfect way to conduct highly effective customer service that will decrease churn and make for happy customers. Where else can you do so much for your business in a single place?

All About Email

As a business conducting itself online, email simply cannot be ignored. As an ecommerce business you are presented with an opportunity most brick-and-mortar establishments would kill for. You have the chance to grab customer emails with far less resistance than traditional businesses. You better be taking advantage of it!

Frequency of Emails

The frequency with which you email your customers should be carefully considered. Generally, the more interaction you can achieve with your customers, the more sales you’ll be able to promote.

It is, however, a fine line to walk and one that should be paid close attention to.

The frequency of your emails depends largely on what you’re sending. If it’s relevant content that people may find useful or helpful, send it less often. Powerful incentives and special offers for your subscribers can be sent more frequently.

The truth remains, your business and your customers are unique factors that will influence your email frequency more than any others.

Topic/Email Subject

The subject line of your emails can help boost your open rate dramatically. When possible, personalized emails with the person’s name and even location are far more likely to be opened.

Welcome Emails

One of the best ways to immediately engage your customers and begin developing a relationship is through welcome emails. Be sure to send an email to each person who signs up. It’s not a bad idea to send a limited-time welcome offer or discount to get them shopping right away!

Sale Offer Emails

When you have a sale, your list should be the first ones to know about it. That is, after all, why they opted to give you their email. Give your list a heads up about the promotions you’re running via email and you’ll boost the success of each of your sales.

Specific Product Promotion Email

The more information you can gather about a customer, the better. If you get them to tell you which types of products they’re interested in, you’ll be able to send them info about promotions you’re running on those items.

News

Your customers will feel a deeper connection to your brand if you OCCASIONALLY share meaningful news in a fun or heartfelt manner. Don’t blow up their inbox with tales about traffic or the weather. That is, unless you had a tornado touch down on your office. Then it’s O.K. Instead, share meaningful and inspiring events from your brand that your customers can relate to.

Personalization

As I mentioned above, personalized subject lines will get your emails opened more often. The same rule applies to your email copy. Personalize your text to get your emails read and your CTAs clicked.

Technology

You work in the era of automation. Email marketing today is much easier than it was in the past, so count yourself lucky. There are a huge number are email APIs available (mailchimp, constant contact, etc.) that will make email marketing simple.

They give you tons of help and advice on how to market your business most effectively through email. Keep building those lists!

All About Mobile

Our devices go everywhere with us. They’re the first thing most of us see when we wake up and the last thing we check before we fall asleep. The fact that mobile has become the preferred method of online brand interaction for the majority of the population means one thing to you:

Your mobile game must be on point.

Mobile Best Practices for
Fashion Ecommerce

Speed Things Up
Research shows that 57% of mobile shoppers will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds. That doesn’t leave much room for error. Mobile devices feel the drag of large page sizes, so keep them trim.

Mobile is also more sensitive to unoptimized CSS and Javascript, which can make the time it takes to render a page seem drawn out. Test your load speeds on a variety of devices to make sure you’re not leaving out a particular group of users based on their device.

Keep Forms Simple
I’ll be the first one to tell you that you need to be gathering as much information about your customers as possible. However, you may need to keep the amount captured from mobile users to a minimum.

Impatience with mobile sites means your mobile customers aren’t ready to give you a ton of info even if you’re getting it from desktop users. Keep your forms simple; just getting an email and a name should be considered a big win.

The theme of simplicity should carry over to your checkout forms as well. Common complaints include:

  • Double entry of email and password.
  • Autocapitalization interfering with entry of email and password.
  • Dropdowns (like country) with a huge alphabetized list to select from.
  • Excessive non-mandatory fields (think: birthday).

Make Products Sortable
A large product page full of items may work for desktop users, but mobile visitors require a simpler interface. Make sure your customers have the opportunity to
filter your products by type, price, sex, etc. Give them the opportunity to access just what they’re looking for so the items they’re after don’t get lost in the clutter on a small screen.

Don’t Let a Map Get in the Way
Text can quickly clutter up a page where the products are meant to be the hero. If your fashion ecommerce store is part of a brick-and-mortar business you should be able to find your store’s location on your site. However, having a map get in the way of your scrolling is one of the most frustrating things a mobile user can experience.

Maps can sometimes take up the majority of the screen and be difficult to get around. Instead, try to incorporate a link that launches a map in its own application when the user decides.

Optimize Desktop Site or Build a Mobile Site?
I’d say do both! Desktop pages are hard to read on small screens, right? Having a mobile site will certainly make the user experience easier. Make sure your mobile site is easy to read too. (Google recommends a base font size of 16 CSS pixels.)

There may be times when you need to direct a user from your mobile site to a page on your desktop site. So make sure every page (even sub-pages) are optimized for a pleasant mobile experience. Pretty simple, right?

Mobile User Experience

The user experience you provide your mobile customers is even more important than that of your desktop customers. While we prefer to do as much as possible on our mobile devices, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easier. The small screen size and keyboard are just a couple of the things that actually make it more frustrating.

Because of this, you need to make sure there are no weak points in your mobile user experience. These weak points could mean the difference between a sale and an abandoned shopping cart. Simulate your buyer’s mobile experience often and on as many types of devices as possible to make sure small problems aren’t costing you big money.

Mobile Checkout

With all this talk about user experience, we have to talk about the checkout process. Here’s the deal: one of the most common user complaints is a complicated checkout process. So make it easy on them!

Here’s my list of ways to do just that:

1

REDUCE CLICKS TO BUY
Mobile shoppers are typically more ready to buy than desktop users. Make it as easy for them as possible. Give them the opportunity to “Buy Now” on the product page or have a dropdown shopping cart that gets the checkout process started with a single click.

Want to make it really easy on them? Give them the option of selecting different colors, sizes, and quantities on your checkout page. This eliminates the hassle of having to go through the whole process in order to make a change or add an item.

2

EASY ACCESS CHECKOUT
Once an item has been added to the cart, make it easy for your customers to complete the process. Include a shopping bag or cart icon in the top right corner of your mobile site. To make it even easier you could include a feature that opens a popup when an item is added with a checkout button that takes them straight to the checkout page.

3

SIMPLE FORMS
I’ve made this point a lot but it is important enough to be repeated. I know I’m not alone when I say that I’ve abandoned a mobile shopping cart because it wasn’t user friendly. Keep the fields in your checkout forms to a bare minimum. If you don’t need it, don’t include it. The simpler you can make the process, the more likely your customers are to get all the way through it.

4

PROGRESS BAR
It’s nice to be able to see exactly how far along in the checkout process you are. Including a progress bar at the top of the page will give users an idea of how much they’ve completed, as well as giving them hope that they’ll be through the process soon.

5

TRUSTMARKS
With the high potential of cybercrime these days, your customers want to be reassured that their information is safe. Adding the trust marks of your security features will help instill confidence as they make their way through the checkout process. Make sure they appear on each checkout page.

6

NO ACCOUNT NEEDED
One of the most annoying parts of fashion ecommerce sites is having to create an account in order to checkout. This is especially true on mobile. Having an account can be a great thing, but avoid turning people away by letting them check out as a guest.

7

DON’T DOUBLE UP ADDRESS FIELDS
This ties into the simple forms idea yet again. When you painstakingly enter your address into a form, the last thing you want to do is enter it again into a form that’s asking for separate billing and shipping addresses. Give your customers the chance to tick a box that allows your billing address to be used as your shipping address.

Mobile Buyer’s Journey

Today’s customer journey has gone mobile.

Thinkwithgoogle.com gives us some powerful insights into what makes people buy from their mobile device. Because most of us are constantly on our devices, we’re exposed to moments of influence all day long. These “micro-moments” are chances for brands to meet their customers at the point of intent; points when “decisions are being made and decisions are being shaped.”

The four moments of influence that represent a person’s full range of needs are:

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Technology has put these consumer needs in the palm of your hand whenever the desire strikes. This means your brand needs to position itself as the answer/solution to these needs before they arise.

Publishers Selling Products

WWD reported on this last year, quoting Time Inc. chairman and chief executive officer Joe Ripp:

“When a fashion online publisher says: ‘This is what a star is wearing,’ and readers say: ‘I like the look. Where can I get that,’ and we don’t provide it to them, we have failed them. The reason [ecommerce] websites have done so well and grown so dramatically online is because they fill that need. In many respects, service magazines have failed because of the strict rule that you can’t sell what you refer to and get the products that we find so interesting.”

As publishers dip—or dive—into the world of commerce, the first thing they must decide is which model they will follow. The three common paths are affiliate model, revenue share, or true retail.

Shopable

Shopable content is something your customers are sure to respond well to. Give them the look of their favorite fashion magazine with the ability to click and purchase with ease.

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Joules has created a lookbook that is visually more like a magazine spread than a product page, yet they’ve incorporated small shopping tags next to each item that clue you into the page’s shopability. A single click brings up the product page for the item.

Video

Using dynamic video tagging a user will be able to click tagged hotspots within your video to view specific details about what was tagged.

Tagazu is one of the companies making this shopable video experience a reality.

section7-image3(Shopable Video Example)

Facebook

Facebook is quickly becoming one of the most popular shopping venues online. As you can imagine, there many brands are taking advantage of this fact with enormous success. In an effort to capitalize on this movement, Facebook has taken the mobile shopping experience to the next level.

Their “canvas” feature allows users to shop directly from ads without the need to redirect to a website. No matter how great your mobile site is, simpler is better for mobile users and the fewer steps the better.

They have also created the “Shop” section in Pages, where brands can easily showcase their products and users can buy directly from their pages.

Instagram

For brands, selling on Instagram is still a bit more challenging. The strictly mobile platform means limited attention spans from users, but that’s not the challenging part. Instagram still only allows brands to link out via their profile.

That means in order for a brand to get a user to their site or product page, they’ll have to be very specific about the content they choose to post. A specific product in a post would necessitate linking to that specific product page during the time that that post is live. If not, the user has to track down the item on their own and, let’s face it, that’s far less likely to happen.

That being said, major fashion players are doing it and doing it well. If you take the time to develop a powerful Instagram strategy, you may find yourself reaping the benefits of its 400 million strong user base.

Publishers do have options though. There ARE apps making it possible to sell through Instagram. Both publisher and follower have to have signed up for the same app for it to work. It’s simple enough, but it doesn’t take much to deter a sale these days.

Pinterest

I’ll repeat myself just to make sure you’re getting my point. Simpler is better, especially on mobile. Got it? Good!

Pinterest makes the shopping experience about as simple as it gets with Buyable Pins, which let people buy your products—right from Pinterest! Their highly visual platform has millions of users browsing through their content logs daily. Imagine how easy it would be to generate an impulse buy from an excellent product photo and the ability to buy it on the spot.

Publishing Affiliates

Affiliate programs, like the one from rewardStyle, make it easy for content producers to monetize their influence. As I mentioned before, people are making their online buying decisions based on the influence of others.

Today that process is easier than ever. Programs like the one used by rewardStyle generate links and places them into your content where it sees fit. How easy is that?

Influencer/Blogger

Here’s the deal:

A Market Force study found that 78% of consumers admitted that a post on social media influenced their purchasing decision in the past (source: Forbes).

Shoppers are being influenced by those they look up to and (most importantly) trust. There are social media influencers in every industry, but fashion influence is big business.

“True influence drives action, not just awareness.” —Jay Baer

It’s time you look at how partnering with influencers can help YOUR brand.

For the majority of businesses, the idea of Instagram influencer marketing begins and ends with content development. Working with influencers to create content that they share with their audiences is an important channel for promoting engagement and awareness.

It’s also possible to integrate influencer relationships more deeply into your business’s model. In the same way that Birchbox asks influencers to curate product collections, your brand can find an innovative way to tie together physical products and influencer marketing.

Is Publisher Commerce Working?

As publishers have been met with a variety of difficulties in their attempts to mesh content with commerce, many have pulled back their efforts and are focusing on one more than the other.

Two niches in particular seem to have crossed over quite well. In both food and home goods publications, the commerce side of the business seems to be a more natural fit than fashion, and several are conducting this new business quite well.

That being said, there are cases of publications selling products successfully. Bazaar recently launched ShopBazaar, a completely shopable magazine. While it wasn’t an instant success, it’s found its footing and has been well received. Conde Nast’s Style.com offers a similar selection but has been fumbling since its launch. It’s unclear what the future holds for them.

The lack of fashion publications making the transition successfully shouldn’t get in your way, however. Their problem seems to be the delivery of a new system through traditional methods. In other words, publishers are being assigned the task of trying to sell goods and services.

In this regard, you have the upper hand. You already have the hard part established. You’re making the sales. The easy part is taking your passion for your business and your products and translating them to content that can be shared with new potential consumers.

Ecommerce fashion brands are using content to sell like they’ve never sold before. Fewer and fewer people are looking to fashion editors to tell them what to wear (buy). Instead they turn to people like you.

While publishers entering the world of commerce may not be thriving, commerce entering the world or publishing content most certainly is.

In Conclusion

As a fashion ecommerce business, you are on the front lines of a never-ending battle.

The competition in ecommerce will only increase as more businesses move online. Many will fail, but you are among those most fortunate.

You are now equipped with the tools and knowledge to keep your business ahead of the curve. Your challenge now is to take what you have learned and employ it as it suits your business’s unique qualities. Make improvements, learn from your mistakes, always be advancing the way you expose your business to the world.

You have everything you need to achieve your goals, now it’s time to get started.

Here’s to your success,

Peter

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