In today’s competitive e-commerce landscape, retailers need to capitalize on every opportunity to capture a sale. Market conditions can change rapidly, and it’s important to ensure that you have a platform that can respond nimbly and effectively. While the list of essential features for the right e-commerce platform can be long, there are a few elements of particular importance to apparel retailers. In addition to the features you need in a platform, make sure they can adequately address the concerns specific to apparel e-commerce. Not all platforms can respond to the fast-paced demands of apparel.
1. Tools to Communicate Your Brand
Perhaps more than any other type of commerce, brand identity is essential to success in apparel e-commerce. With numerous options available to consumers online, you need to take time to think about what sets your brand apart – and why customers should select you over your competitors. Once you can articulate your brand identity and what sets you apart, you need tools to establish and cultivate your identity. The right e-commerce platform will give you a multitude of tools to do this – and may even have the flexibility to build new ones.
2. Dynamic and Integrated Systems
There’s nothing worse than having to notify a customer that the hot item they ordered has unexpectedly gone out of stock. Fortunately, avoiding that uncomfortable conversation is pretty easy – integrate your systems so that inventory tracking, order fulfillment, and customer management are connected. Integrated systems will provide more accurate information for customers and your service reps, which will make for happier customers all around.
3. Robust Promotional Tools
Customer loyalty is a key component to your success, and offering customers promotional discounts can be one part of your strategy in cultivating that loyalty. Having robust promotional tools provides you with a greater competitive advantage and allow you to better leverage customer interest for successful promotional campaigns. As customers become savvier in their shopping – and discount-hunting – habits, it’s important to respond accordingly. Being able to target specific customer groups, or place restrictions on how, when, and by whom certain promotions can be used, allows you to be smarter with your promotions.
4. Native SEO Best Practice Tools
Customers must find you before they can buy from you. All the effort you put into cultivating your brand identity, integrating systems, and developing effective promotional tools won’t matter much if your merchandise does not appear in search results. This can prove especially challenging for apparel retailers, where a single item may have a dozen different variations in color or size. You need a platform that can handle the unique demands of apparel e-commerce and will make sure your products are displayed properly so that you rise to the top of the search results.
5. Innovative Merchandising Tools
The brick-and-mortar era of apparel had window and in-store displays to attract and persuade customers to make purchases; the e-commerce era of retail needs its own tools for merchandising. Whether it means controlling the order in which merchandise appears on a page, having dynamic color swatches for customers to easily see what an item will look like, or having a shoppable lookbook, apparel e-commerce requires unique and innovative tools to remain competitive. With an industry where trends can shift quickly, it’s important not only that your platform provides easy-to-use tools that reflect current trends but also has the flexibility and creativity to adapt and develop tools to effectively tackle the future.
What questions do you have about how to make the most of these 5 essential tools for apparel e-commerce? How have you used them to reach your customers?