$72 billion – this was the U.S. apparel and accessories retail eCommerce revenue in 2015. What’s more, is that this amount grows every year and it’s expected to achieve 100 billion in 2016 (statista.com). That’s why many fashion brands consider investing in the online channel.
We spent many hours talking to these companies. During these conversations, some myths about eCommerce bubbled up repeatedly. We brought them together and debunked them in this article.
Online is just a support for marketing activities. The client uses the Internet for research and buys in brick and mortar shops.
Many fashion companies focus on marketing activities (especially offline), constantly trying to beat the competitors. Guess how much money US fashion companies spent on advertising in 2015. 600 MILLION DOLLARS. That’s a pretty penny!
Online is still treated as the support for offline sales channels. Based on our experiences, many fashion retailers don’t understand the full potential of eCommerce stores. They believe that customers use online services only to research and gather information about the product to finally go and buy it in a physical shop.
The statistics are relentless here. For many fashion brands, the sales value from eCommerce exceeded offline equivalent. Look at the statistics below. For every brand in the table, eCommerce sales encompass at least 20% of total revenues.
Developing an online platform you have to focus on customers’ needs
This seems to be obvious. And it is, but only partially. Let’s imagine a situation where you’ll gather all your stakeholders together into one big (extremely big) room and ask them what they want from your eCommerce. Do you think it would be painless to achieve an agreement and come out of this meeting with a concise list of features?
If it sounds ridiculous for you, it might be surprising that you often do the same but on a smaller scale. Jotting down your requirements, you quickly find yourself with a list as long as arm. What’s more – many of these points are contradictory and mutually exclusive. Statistically, 40% of brief requirements are wrong.
What you should do is to focus on the most essential, crucial requirements and take care of them first. Collecting customer feedback is good, but you should consider it more as a crowdsourcing tool to gather ideas for further development of your e-commerce.
Trying to fulfill all of them at once will lead you on a roundabout path.
And this leads us directly into our next myth…
Going online needs a customized solution
Having a list of functionalities ready for you to start looking for a system for your eCommerce. Quite quickly you find that you have to build a customized system. Your brand is unique, so it needs a unique presentation, with a sophisticated main page and features that relate to the brand’s positioning and image. So you spend a lot of time and money, fine-tuning particular elements of the store and it seems to be a bottomless pit.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You just need to follow the three rules below:
- Cut your list of requirements – you can review it using the MOSCOV methodology. Focus on MUSTs and 20% of SHOULDs. What is essential, is to ensure that your clients can find, check-out, and buy the product they want in the most seamless way possible. Don’t waste time on additional features now because you can add them later, while developing your platform, based on the feedback you get from your clients.
- Consider using open-source platforms – choose one with a list of functions covering the features needed to deliver a quick and easy shopping experience. The possibility of further development is also important. Open-source ensures that you won’t be chained to one provider that will charge you lots of money for further tasks, concerning maintenance and development.
- Look for half-ready solutions – to cut the time-to-market, it’s reasonable to look for products that are already tailored to your business. Look for a provider that is experienced in e-fashion, so that they can use their experience and past projects in favor of your business.
- eCommerce is not supported for marketing, it’s a separate sales channel
- for many fashion brands, the sales values from eCommerce exceeded the ones offline
- cutting the list of requirements is a good idea – 40% of brief requirements are wrong
- consider choosing a half-ready product rather than a customized solution.