How small Fashion brands can stay competitive in 2014

Online retail marketing is ever evolving from product promotion to establishing personal relationship with your customers. Customers support brands with their best interest at hand regardless of their geographic location. The opportunities for smaller brands to reach a global audience are greater than ever especially since smaller brands can really nurture their customer and have more knit tight relationships than bigger companies.

With that in mind, I just wanted to put together a list of considerations to help you stay competitive in 2014

1)     The SEO game has changed: SEO is no longer about keyword density. Google has put in place a new algorithm, which rewards sites with original content and active social media. Brands with a unique sales propositions and strong editorial content will be able to compete with the big players, a few examples include Warby Parker’s and Tom’s shoes. Whether your brand has conscious design, humanitarian values, a special craftsmanship, ensure to focus on these aspects so your customers feel they are part of a greater purpose. Focus on what you are good at and provide your customer with extra value.

2)     Think beyond the usual suspects (FB, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, etc…) Think of alternative ways to engage with your customers. Customers are becoming more and more scattered across the web and the more fickle younger demographics are jumping on and off various social media platforms. You must keep them entertained and surprised. Instagram recently launched a Direct Messaging functionality which enables brand to share premium content to it’s audience. Engage on Peer-to-Peer shopping sites like Luvocracy or Motilo (there are many others). Engage on Snapchat, or Tumblr. Do not shy away from Polyvore and Lookbook.nu. In a space where everyone has a similar social media strategy, being active in other platforms and using established platforms differently will be your strength.

3)     Start multi-channel selling It’s becoming vital to consider selling on other platforms such as Google Shopping, Amazon, Ebay, Etsy. The more you spread your wings the more chances you have in bringing traffic to your site. Each of these sites have consistent traffic flow which can trickle down to you.  Ebay and Esty went through a redesign and are gearing to a more fashion aficionado demographic these days. I know many designers feel queasy about the idea as they feel these sites don’t represent their brand. It doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. Test it out. Research other platforms where you can sale your goods such as Gilt, The cools, etc…. Curated shopping sites are another prominent trend to watch for. They provide a curated list of shopping recommendations from designers, brands, boutiques, stylist, celebrities, and community. Nuji, ShopStyle, Buyosphere, Svpply, Lyst , ShoeDazzle, TheCoveteur, Styloko, etc.. are a few sites that provide that model. Research, Launch, Test and see what works.

4)     Embrace your metrics report Don’t be a stranger to your Google Analytics report.You must review on a weekly basis the health of your inbound traffic. Is their steady traffic coming to your site? Are they spending more than 5 minutes on your site? Is your conversion rate growing? How much of your actual traffic is actually buying?  Determine which items are selling which aren’t.  Sign-up to Gosquared.com, an email service that lets you get alerts if your traffic spikes. Your metric report is your bible. 

5)     Ensure your site is Mobile & Tablets compatible Mobile device and tablet purchases are on the rise. Ensure your customers can buy on their mobile devices – this is crucial.

 

Divide and conquer. Remember, building a viable online business and creating frequent traffic is key. The conversion rate for an e-commerce site is between 2% to 3% so for every 100 people that come to your site only 2 to 3 will purchase.  Grow your inbound traffic this year by having a competitive marketing strategy as more and more e-commerce businesses open.

 

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