The number of online clothing and accessories retailers has exploded over the last five years, thanks to the relatively low barrier to entry and strong demand from consumers. Affordable eCommerce platforms like Shopify and easy-to-use shipping software like Shippit have made it easier than ever to sell fashion online — the hard part is standing out.
In order to compete with leading pureplay retailers like Asos, Boohoo and The Iconic, you not only need to offer quality brands that people want to buy, but also have a sophisticated logistics operation, effective advertising and strong customer loyalty.
It’s not easy to achieve all this, but it’s worth it: industry revenue in the online clothing and accessories market is currently around $2 billion, with this figure expected to increase to over $2.7 billion by 2026, according to IBISWorld.
So how can you be an online fashion trendsetter rather than a follower? Here are some tips.
Speed up your shipping
When it comes to shopping online, it’s all about convenience, and fast shipping of clothes and accessories is no exception. Make sure your pick-and-pack process is quick enough to facilitate same day delivery, and if you have bricks-and-mortar stores, try to use store inventory to fulfil online orders.
Some other fast shipping tips: it’s common for younger consumers to order new outfits one or two days before the weekend, so you might want to implement a threshold for free same day shipping for clothes ordered on Thursdays or Fridays to encourage bigger purchases.
Free delivery is another aspect to consider. Consumers love it, but it can eat into your margin if you don’t factor it into the price of your products, and if you offer free returns as well, it can become extremely costly. Here’s how to make free shipping your profit powerhouse.
Using a multi-carrier shipping platform like Shippit is a great way to access a range of delivery options — from standard to express — at discounted rates. If you need to see it to believe it, just click here to try out a demo.
Invest in your marketing
With so many brands and retailers selling fashion online, it can be hard to cut through the noise and reach customers, so a strong marketing strategy is crucial. Fashion brands like Showpo have achieved enormous success by building big followings on social media and converting them into sales.
There are a lot of free resources to help you figure out which platforms to focus on to get the most bang for your buck, but ultimately you need to tailor the information to your target audience and market. It helps to have an expert in-house who can do this.
Another option is to sell on online marketplaces. They often attract millions of visitors, so it’s a smart shortcut to reach a lot more customers than you could on your own. But before you go down this route, think carefully about how it could impact your customer experience. You don’t want to risk alienating a loyal customer if they don’t get the service they expect from you on a marketplace.
If you’re not sure what a good customer experience looks like, here are some pointers.
Don’t overlook male shoppers
You don’t have to be a fashion expert to know that there are a lot more clothing and accessories brands for women than there are for men. The same is true online. The women’s online fashion market is expected to generate revenues of $1.7 billion by 2025, while the men’s online fashion market is expected to generate revenues of $1 billion by 2026.
Still the men’s category is growing, mostly thanks to younger generations of more style-conscious male shoppers. So if you’re not already selling men’s clothing and accessories, it might be time to tap into this lucrative and growing market.
In terms of consumer behaviour, male online shoppers have a lot in common with their female counterparts. For instance, there’s just as strong demand for next day delivery of men’s clothes as there is for next day delivery of women’s clothes. And sustainability is an important issue.
If you’re catering to a new demographic, it’s probably a good idea to rethink how you’re personalising website recommendations and emails. Check out the top ways to personalise your eCommerce business in this blog post.
Want to learn how Shippit can help grow your online fashion business? Simply contact us to here.