Over the last few years, there has been a convergence of standard features and engaging customer components that are now expected on fashion eCommerce websites. I intend to look into these features as part of the ‘customer engagement lifecycle loop’ (Reach, Find, Convert, and Retain) in a series of four blog posts and provide some insight as to how they can contribute to maximising conversion to meet digital revenue targets.
PART 1: REACH
Reach is the first stage of engagement where a customer becomes aware of your website and is given a reason to visit. This is often overlooked in fashion retail, but as the market is very competitive, there is a need to lay the path for those potential customers to find you rather than your competitor.
Current Trends and Best Practice
Onsite features such as ‘ratings’ and ‘reviews’ are a very large driver for increasing visibility (and thus digital footfall) to your website. Being able to capture data on what customers like about your products or brand and using this to generate further SEO reach is extremely valuable.
Furthermore, the ability to easily “share” a product is not hard but making it easy for a customer to do so is key, as studies have shown the biggest ecommerce influencers are friends, peers or “aspirational role models” who express their interests in a particular product or brand. Allowing a customer to create and publish wishlists, and even purchase from these lists, is a feature that provides a lot of return for little investment.
Affiliate marketing engagement is also becoming more important as a “traffic diverter”; where content that is curated offline can drive traffic to your website. Having the ability to easily export product information and capturing when a customer has come to your site and made a purchase as a result of this “referral”, enables a much larger reach. Websites like Stylebored are providing a “commerce” focused engagement to affiliate-curated content where perhaps the likes of Pinterest has yet to capitalise on.
Emerging features and The Future
As mentioned the emergence of “social commerce” is becoming the main influencer in attracting customers to fashion sites and at present there are very few sites offering something different to drive more visitors. Rather, the traditional “word of mouth” concept is being transferred into a digital message that is being shared across all the social networks. “Liking” and “sharing” content is having an indirect influence, which will in turn affect SEO rankings much more.