We review 10 online fashion store features that help clothes and brand retailers to make buying easier, sell more and reduce returns.
This blog is a continuation of the eCommerce best practices series. The goal of the series is to share information with merchants about how to increase sales by improving the online shopping experience. In the past we discussed Quality of eCommerce Websites: 5 Most Important Factors Affecting the Shopper’s Decision to Buy and 10 Customer Service Musts in eCommerce. In this blog, we focused on the online fashion stores.
Buying fashion products online is very different from buying books, electronic devices or other products that can be purchased based on a simple image and specification. Selling fashion online has its own challenges.
Fashion is becoming one of the fasters growing e-commerce verticals. Furthermore, the growth of online shopping was one of the most highlighted retail shifts last year. In 2011, the category only represented 11 percent of total U.S. men’s, women’s and children’s apparel sales; however, in 2016 the number rose to 19 percent. (1)
There are a few simple techniques that can help clothes and brand retailers sell more and reduce returns. By providing as much information as possible at the time when your potential shopper is browsing through your product pages, the better chances you have of a successful sale.
Below we review 10 features that online fashion stores must have to make buying easier and sell successfully.
We provide a good example of the implementation for each of the features and in some cases a bad example for comparison. The first seven features we will review in this article are relatively simple to implement and the last three are a bit more advanced and require more planning.
10 must-have features for an apparel product page
- Mobile friendly size chart – a big portion of clothes shopping begins on a smartphone. Size is the biggest unknown in the fashion industry since there is no unification of sizes. A lot of the times customers might even shop on their phone while shopping at another physical store. A well done mobile friendly size chart is your most valuable tool to securing a sale.
Good example – Victoria Secret
The size chart displays well on a mobile screen and shows all the essential information
Bad Example – Guess
The size chart does not fit properly on the mobile screen, it makes you scroll and finding the right information becomes hard.
- Proper color swatches with color names(terms) for each visual sample
Good example – Lululemon
The colors are clearly visible and also have the term underneath so that is no confusion on the color that could look different on various monitors.
Bad Example – Bikini village
The colors displayed do not have a name. The pinkish red box could be orange, pink or red color in real life.
- Pictures that change based on color selected – changed color to be applied to all product views. Do not only change the main product image but all other product views must match the color selected.
Good example – Guess
The pictures all change according to the color selected so that you can see the different colors from all angles.
Bad Example – Sears
Black Color – there is no consistency in product images between the color selections for the same product. For the color black there are proper different angle views pictures but for the blue color there is just one flat picture even without the model.
- Detailed Material Descriptions – since the shopper cannot read the label it is important to give them as much information as possible about the material and the layout of the garment.
Good example – Saks Fifth Avenue
There is a detailed description of the material and the types of other items included with the clothes. It also has the rise and inseam sizing to help the shopper decide if the item is what they are looking for.
Bad Example – Sears
The item here does not have any description. All it has is an item number and nothing else.
- Washing/Dry Cleaning Instructions – one of the important item that clothes shoppers are looking for is the care instructions. Some people will not buy dry clean only or might prefer cold water only washing instructions.
Good example – Lululemon
It is one of the best examples of care instructions that I have seen online. Not only it has its own section but it is also similar to a real label visually.
Bad Example – The Bay
The information is buried under all other details, and it does not provide clear instructions about the care of the garment.
- Model Size – providing the model size and the size she is wearing is a brilliant feature. It is simply another tool to help the imagination of the shopper. For example, if the shopper is a size medium and is 1.6m tall seeing the picture might change their mind to a smaller size if they want a certain fit.
Good example – Adidas
The product photo provides the size of the model and the item’s size she is wearing to allow for a better size selection to achieve a certain look.
The model size is found right under the product picture
Good example – Nordstrom
The store provides a great simple tool to help shoppers choose the right products and sizing.
Bad Example – H & M
There is no help on evaluating how the product would fit as there is not model sizing or guidance.
- Accessories and matching pieces suggestions – by showing the shopper what goes with a clothing item that they are viewing the store is increasing chances of purchasing it and also help sell more items. A lot of people need the extra help to find their perfect outfit, a lot of the times just like in the store you do not know you need something until you see it.
Good example – H & M
The product page shows products from various departments that help to select complementary items and accessories.
Bad Example – Le Chateau
For Fashion stores, it is much better to show matching outfit options instead of other products. The alternative products recommendations are more practical for general stores.
The features below are advanced, and most sites simply do not have them even to find bad examples
- Return information on Product Pages – once you got the shopper to land on your product page you got to try to keep them there until they click the “add to cart” button. Outside of sizing and material, uncertainty about returns is the most important issue that might discourage someone from completing the sale. By having the shipping information directly on the page, you will eliminate shoppers who will go to find the shipping & returns policy and will not come back to the product page.
Good example – The Webster
The Webster store product page shows detailed shipping information and rates as well as how to return an item in the product description area.
- Indicate which sizes are available and allow shoppers to be notified when items come back in stock – this is an amazing feature that allows shoppers to come back later to buy an item after they found the right product but the particular size and color was not in stock.
Good example – 7 for all mankind
See a good example of the “notify me by email” feature below.
- Estimated delivery time – setting the expectation on delivery time is crucial. If the shopper needs something next week but you can only deliver it in 2 weeks the shopper needs to know. This will create a better experience and reduce returns due to late delivery.
Good example – H & M
The product page shows the range of time when the shopper can expect to receive the item so that there are no false expectations.
It is surprising that are still many stores that have not included the mentioned here essential features on their product pages. Hopefully, 2017 will be the year of fashion e-commerce standardization.