Working on your own business, particularly a clothing line, requires a special kind of attentiveness. It requires a presence of mind that hones directly onto consumer needs, the will to expedite the fulfillment of the need, and the constant awareness and foresight for any upcoming season/event that an e-commerce could potentially cash from.
While this holds true for all markets, the E-commerce industry takes this to a whole new level. The pace at which markets change and adapt to consumer needs calls for an almost omniscient level of awareness of market conditions, changing trends and the drive to consistently monitor any factors that allow pre-emptive measures to cater to clientele.
First, we need to identify two basic buyer instincts on the outset of the holiday season:
- the drive to spend heavily on clothing or other merchandise
- to change types of merchandise/clothing they buy
Based on the above stats, it would not be difficult to draw a sketch of the activity that an online store will face, namely the following two:
- a higher customer volume than usual
- a demand for a different type of inventory
At this moment, in 2018, e-commerce business owners need to understand the importance of efficiency in terms of serving their customers. With a higher volume of customers who are struck with a sudden sense of urgency, a successful business owner will need to ensure a smooth and fast E-commerce experience that will supplement and perhaps expand the existing consumer base.
However, efficiency is not the only relevant facet here. Online business owners also need to induce the customer to shop from their stores through modifications of online retail platforms by creating themes that resonate with the holiday cheer and incite customers to shop. These themes can take the form of:
- Holiday discounts
- Changing the look and feel of the platform etc.
Having considered the factors that determine consumer behavior and outlined potential techniques to capitalize on market conditions, here are 6 strategies that will allow e-commerce store owners to put the cheer in the holiday season AND increase their revenue by 2x by ensuring a gratifying shopping experience:
1) Improve Page Speed
In a study, Skilled analyzed consumer responses based on load times on the pages of 12 different online retail outlets. The results are summarized below:
- 79% of customers who are “dissatisfied” with a website’s performance are less likely to buy from that site again.
- 64% of smartphone users expect a website to load in four seconds or less.
- 47% of online shoppers expect web pages to load in two seconds or less.
Given the sudden increase in the rate of visiting customers on websites during the holiday season, there is an urgent need to improve upon the existing load times for any given Online retail to ensure that customers are satisfied with the experience.
When you visit HnM, for example, the first thing you’ll see on the homepage is a huge red sale banner. It is divided into 5 categories, and every category that you click loads in 2-3 blinks of my eye. Had the web pages taken a lot of time loading the categories, you probably would not wait and just go check out some other fashion ecommerce store.
Further insights include:
- If a site makes $100K per day, a one-second improvement generates an additional $7K daily
- A one second delay in load time normally equals an 11% loss in page views
- A one second delay also means an overall 7% drop in conversions
As a further piece of analysis, it is predicted that if Yahoo! Increases page speed by 0.4 seconds it would increase page traffic by 9%.
Furthermore, Shopzilla, upon improving page speed witnessed an increase in conversions from 7% to 12%. Each of these statistics corroborates the claim that high performing platforms tend to do better business.
2) Create Urgency
One way to ensure sales is to induce a sense of urgency in the visitor is to urge them on towards the checkout, the way Optinmonster has done in the below image. This includes strategies such as:
- Using countdown timers to encourage the shopper to buy now or miss out. Upon recognition of the risk, buyers would be compelled to make a purchase.
- Promotion of early bird discounts for some of your products and services.
- Including the cut-off time and dates for the products to ship so that your customers know that they will have to make a purchase before that.
- Displaying countdown timer on your homepage driving urgency among the customers to buy the product.
3) Customized Themes:
It would be a worthwhile investment to create customized themes that create a festive cheer when customers land on to your website. Customized websites that tap into the sensibilities of the consumer tend to create a relatability and induce customers to look for potential discounts you might offer that lead to greater sales. Crate and Barrel , for example, has separate landing pages depending upon the holiday season their customers choose to visit their website on:
4) Omnichannel Experience
At least 43% of customers have used their mobile phone while shopping in a brick-and-mortar store.
Moreover, a recent study shows that 71% of customers surveyed consider it important to be able to view local inventory information for an item online. In fact, 39% of survey respondents went so far as to say they would not shop at a store whose online presence lacked this information.
This shows how omni channel marketing is becoming fairly common. While building your own Omni Channel infrastructure, pay attention to the following stakeholders:
- Customer Support
- Customer Success
For example, an online boutique store Sophie and Trey take their services to the next step by offering the option of free personal styling.
As you scroll down their homepage, you will see that option along with their other options that help their customers connect better with them and make their shopping experience seamless.
5) Effective market Segmentation
Create market segmentation that allows you to create customized offers that are irresistible to any given segment. The specific you make your offers, the more likely it is that customers will take you up on the offer.
1015 Store, for example, have a category called $15 and Under on their website. Without having to use the words cheap or clearance, they have created a category for inexpensive clothes which will naturally attract the customer segment that has a relatively lower budget.
6) Begin Early
Assuming that you manage to get a head start on the festivities and act as a first mover in terms of creating a special shopping experience based on any upcoming holiday season, it will ensure that you manage to capitalize on the upcoming event. An example of this is Amazon Prime Day where Amazon lets users buy gifts early on discounts and by offering deals that are taken down during the peak holiday season.
To wrap it up, while it is important to understand and analyze the trends that exist within clothing markets when making business decisions, it is just as important to predict consumer behavior based on the factors that determine said behavior. The holiday season is a time where consumer expenditure is at its highest, in fact, seasonal trends also entail a demand for the most fashionable and/or functional looks corresponding to the weather or the occasion. The e-commerce store that will best understand what its consumers are looking for will be the most successful this holiday season!