In a world where customers are shifting a significant portion of their purchases from offline to mobile and online channels, the mantra for retailers is to embrace the change and capitalise on the virtues of digital commerce. The online medium has opened up huge new markets for businesses around the world. While e-commerce is a highly profitable industry, it has to be noted that launching an online store and growing one are two very different things.
In a 7-minute session at India Fashion Forum 2019, held on March 27-28 at Hotel Renaissance, Mumbai, Vargab Bakshi, International Partnerships Lead, Shopify expounded on three major mistakes that brands and retailers must remember to avoid in any online business.
- Don’t Sell Only on Marketplaces
For every fashion brand that has taken the online route, it is indispensable that they brand for the future, and not depend on online marketplaces. Marketplaces are just one channel and not a complete package, so it is always a wise decision to invest in an own e-commerce portal.
Brands also need to exploit the potential of Social Media and have an aggressive social presence as well as strategy. Pure play online brands can also experiment with pop up shops to evaluate the physical experience that they can offer to consumers.
- Don’t Invest too Much on Technology
As a brand, the focus should be always on building an experience. “Spending too much time on technology and infrastructure can potentially pull a brand back but investing on brand building, experience, customization, etc., always guarantees to take you two steps further,” said Bakshi.
Cloud based SAAS platforms are a good alternative for fashion brands as they promise state-of-the-art technology like API that allows users to connect with products from analytics, payments, data, data security, etc., under one roof.
- Don’t Limit your Geographic Reach
A fair section of brands and retailers tend to be hesitant when it comes to selling products cross border as a result of questions pertaining to logistics, customs, etc. “Don’t let that stop you, instead, hire people who can help you out. Think of building international experiences by building a local user experience. Your website in Japan should look very different than the one you have in India. Brands need to understand their customers in each of these geographies and then expanding as you improvise on each of your leanings,” he added.
Rapid Fire Tips
Mobile Friendly Website & App: In recent years, m-commerce has emerged as one of the most prominent mediums of retail consumption, especially in India. About 50 percent of the traffic comes from mobile devices now. Naturally, websites are expected to be mobile responsive. Hence, brands and retailers should have a mobile e-commerce app since a website only is not enough today – it is more convenient to surf an online store on the go, not sitting in front of a PC.
Ensure Your Return Policy is a Positive Experience: In the e-commerce world, returns are a gruesome malady — aggressively attacking profit margins, gutting conversion rates, and ultimately threatening the business itself. Yet, a seamless return policy is still the ticket to a great e-shopping experience as it increases the lifetime value of customers.
Offer Virtual Styling Assistants to Loyal Customers: Numerous fashion apps and brands are transforming the way that people shop online by assisting them customers design their wardrobes with expert inputs. Virtual assistants are the new trend in digital shopping and ensures a great shopping experience for customers. To start with, brands and retailers can offer assistance to their most loyal customers in a bid to boost their brand value.
Launch Flash Sales with Exclusivity & Anticipation: Flash sales are more about exclusivity and anticipation than they are about clearing unsold stock. “So keep your flash sales exciting so that people anticipate about your next flash sale,” Bakshi concluded.