How to Increase Traffic & Conversions on Your Ecommerce Website

Most ecommerce companies say they their number one goal is to increase visitor traffic and conversions.

The Internet is enormously competitive and crowded today. BTC and BTB ecommerce companies need to be doing everything possible to be found in searches and from online and offline marketing techniques. This is equally important for startups, established brands and long time retail websites.

Some startup entrepreneurs have a great looking website and are surprised by how few sales they are making. They frantically wonder, “How can I get more viewers to my site?” Some retailers have been selling online for years and see visits to their site down trending and bounces rising. They are in panic mode asking “Why is my site getting less traffic and conversions? Should we be trying new marketing strategies or a redesign?”

There are many things you can do to improve your traffic. Here is an eight point checklist on the best ways to increase visits to your fashion apparel, accessory, footwear, home or consumer product site. CLICK TO READ THE CHECKLIST.

How to increase your web traffic

The Dix & Pond Blog is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting,  a Boston-based, company that consults on business and brand strategy, product development, creative direction, merchandising and executive coaching for apparel, footwear, home & consumer products companies.

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Decoding Millennial Shopping Traits & Habits

Decoding Millennial female shopping habits has become an obsession for companies, marketers, researchers and bloggers alike. Because this group is so large, the Millennial female is seen as the present and future of retail and understanding her is key to their success. There is endless hypothesis on what she wants and how she shops.

Millennials represent almost a quarter of the US population.

Millennials represent almost a quarter of the US population.

Who are Millennials?

According to the US Census Bureau Millennials are people born between 1982 and 2000. That makes them 33 to 15 years old. This group represents 83.1 million people and is more than one quarter of the US population. Baby Boomers, the formerly largest population group, is those born between 1946 and 1964. They are ages 69 to 51. Obviously Baby Boomers are getting smaller as the group ages. However they are still a large group and the wealthiest population in US history, so cannot be overlooked, by retailers.

Defining Millennial people ranging in age 15-33 as one homogeneous group, has it’s pitfalls. The life stages of teen priorities versus a young adult building a grown-up life, are quite different.

Teen’s lives focus on their school career, friends, social events, sports and maybe a part-time job. They generally want to “fit-in” with peers. Their money is mostly spent on fashion, technology and entertainment.

Young adults post-college, are socializing, building careers, getting married, setting up first homes and having children. They are socially influenced, but with maturity, they lean more toward more individualism. They are entering the part of their lives when they start to be adult consumers for wedding services, home goods, cars, insurance, housing, etc.

There are some generalizations you can make for all Millennials:

  • They are very budget conscious and serious deal seekers. Obviously, teens have limited spending power. Young adults are coping with weak employment, stagnant wages, unprecedented school debt and dealing with rapidly rising rents, as they start making larger, adult life purchases.
  • They are digitally savvy. The younger Millennials have grown up with technology all their lives.
  • Because of technology they access information and discover new brands continuously. They are very informed, brand aware and also brand agnostic for many items. They move on quickly to the next big thing.
  • They are very influenced by peers through social media and word-of-mouth.
  • They love to “share” the shopping experience.
  • They are more racially diverse than previous generations, because of immigration and higher birth rates in some groups. According to the US Census, 44.2 percent of Millennials are part of a minority race or ethnic group (other than non-Hispanic white).

Big Shifts in Retail Because of Millennials

It is no wonder why certain shopping channels or habits, have risen dramatically in the past several years, as they are driven by Millennial shoppers:

  • Fast Fashion: This frugal, diverse group has driven the meteoric rise of fast fashion stores such as Forever 21, H&M, Zara, Old Navy and will ensure the success of US newcomer Primark. These fast turning, cheap stores are just what the budget conscious Millennial wants. She can find a wide range of looks to meet her diverse cultural tastes. Being brand agnostic for apparel, the deal is more important than the label.
  • Online and brick and mortar consignment stores: The market for consignment of apparel, handbags accessories, jewelry and shoes is booming. This is a perfect solution for the budget conscious and brand aware Millennial. She can consign her discards on the same site as she picks up used, pricey branded items at a fraction of the cost. See sites such as Poshmark, ThredUp and Tradesy.
  • Rental fashion sites: Millennials drive the sharing economy. These tight-fisted, brand aware females get the brands they love on rental or rent to purchase sites of designer, everyday, wedding, plus size and maternity clothes such as Rent The Runway, Le Tote, Mine for Nine, Gwynnie Bee and Borrowing Magnolia.
  • Mass customization: The individualist Millennial has driven the trend of brand customization online for apparel, sneakers, handbags, jewelry, etc.
  • Social shopping: Millennials love to share… their photos, purchases, experiences and thoughts, like no generation before. Social sharing sites like Instagram, SnapChat, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. give them a platform for approval or to boast about their fashion finds. They can shop while simultaneously sending photos to friends for approval. They can see what friends are already wearing, too.
  • They do their research: This is the information generation. They do their homework online before making a purchase. They scout out the best deals, look for coupons and comparison shop to stretch their budget. More often than not they make the final purchase in-store however. E-commerce has grown tremendously, but brick and mortar sales still represent over 90% of retail sales.

In review, if targeting the Millennial customer you have to consider her life stage and culturally diverse tastes. She can’t be thought of as like-minded thinkers. Millennials  like to engage with brands that share their values, but can be brand agnostic and fickle. This is the greatest information and sharing generation, that loves to score a great deal.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting, Boston-based, product development, creative, branding, business consulting and executive coaching for apparel, footwear, home & consumer products companies and retail analysts. Follow me to get the latest posts

Thank you for liking and sharing this, if you enjoyed the post!

How to Create a Great Fashion Website

The 4 Key Design Elements of The Best Fashion Websites

The 4 Key Design Elements of The Best Fashion Websites

Fashion is an emotionally-driven purchase and it is challenging to create a fully engaging brand experience with limited sensory elements in 2D on the web. To sell fashion successfully online, it takes differentiated product, a strong brand identity and robust design. See the 4 key design elements of the best fashion e-commerce sites. A must read for fashion entrepreneurs, retailers, copywriters, graphic and web designers.

CLICK TO SEE THE WHOLE SLIDESHOW

A Letter To Mickey Drexler – What Happened To J.Crew?

Dear Mickey,

We need to talk. I thought you were “the one”. I consider myself a classic girl, the type you can bring home to mother, with an individualist fashion sensibility. After a very long loving relationship with J. Crew, I feel we’re drifting apart. You showed me the love, always wanted to please and surprise me. I gave you loads of attention and spent a lot of money on you. Lately our relationship has gotten repetitive, lost its color and doesn’t fulfill my needs. I’m not faithful to you anymore. Let me be specific on where our relationship lost its way:

1. You missed the athleisure trend. No, I don’t do downward dogs, but am very active at 2 gyms. I have blurred the lines between gym clothes and ones “formerly known as casual” in my wardrobe. Lately, I’m tired of shapeless cotton tees, that get little holes at the waist. I’m buying more substantial, expensive, inventive and sexy athletic tops for everyday use. You continue pushing twill cropped pants, when I am buying knit pants that look like jeans and sweats. I’ve never seen a comfortable knit dress in J.Crew.

I had a big crush on Lululemon, but find myself stalking a new love named Athleta. I’m loving athletic inspired outerwear, too. Who would have thought 2 years ago, I would buy a $500 leather/French terry moto jacket from my new crush?

Great outerwear is dominating athleisure apparel.

Great outerwear is dominating athleisure apparel.

You are the master of the casual playlist, taking classic pieces and pairing them in a hipper way. Somehow you missed the macro trend of mixing quality sport-inspired items into one’s everyday wardrobe.

2. You used take me on quality dates. Lately, you seem to be cheaping out, taking me to “fast-fashion ” places. I would rather pay more for a good meal. Why did the fabric qualities go down hill? I’d rather pay $98 at Lululemon for a relationship that will last, than $58 for a quick hook-up.

J. Crew stores lost the sharp focus of Madewell and became cluttered with junk food. Are you distracted by the Zara and Forever 21 effect? They aren’t your competition.

3. I thought you loved tall girls? Many of your clothes don’t fit me. I’m on the tall side (5’9″) and physically fit. Many of your specs are either too short or cut really small. Your customers aren’t all 24, 5′ 4″ and a size 0.

4. You don’t give me the attention you used to. I would never “trash” your catalogs, and always took your calls. The catalogs arouse me, causing emotionally driven online behavior. I would always buy more than needed. I get fewer catalogs now, so you  stopped “playing me” with your enticing images.

A look from J Crew for Spring 2015.

A look from J Crew for Spring 2015.

5.  Something changed. I trusted you to color my world. Some of the colors got very repetitive and harshly un-wearable. Dirty ochre anyone?

Mickey, I will never forget the good times. I’m definitely willing to give us another chance. I think about you often and still drive by your house. I need you to be the reliable source for key items like tees, shirts and sweaters, but mixed with more exciting quality pieces. You have a special place in the mall. You just got in with the wrong crowd.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Lessons From Exceptional Entrepreneurs

See 20 simple lessons in leadership and entrepreneurship from 3 great entrepreneurs. These exceptional leaders reached the pinnacle of success in fashion and home furnishings!

Neimans & Target Abomination

Neiman Marcus and Target released their much-talked-about holiday 2012 collaboration last week. I call it an abomination not a collaboration. This collection of random home and apparel items designed by well-known designers, like Carolina Herrera, Jason Wu, Rag and Bone, Tory Burch, Tracy Reese and Diane Von Furstenburg are poorly designed, low quality and strangely merchandised.  

The packaging is also big-box boring. They could have used high-end packaging to create a perceived value for the jewelry boxes, letter openers, lunch boxes, purses, glasses, dog accessories, etc. Instead they took the discount low-road and dished up the products to please the distribution center, not the customers.

This collection is just excess inventory and hype for Target stores and an embarrassment for the Texas-based bastion of luxury.  Shame on you Neiman Marcus, for putting your gold-plated name on some of the priciest drek I have ever seen. If you wanted to entice the aspirational luxury customer, you could have turned to your vendors to create some special value handbags, accessories, sweaters, tech cases and other compelling giftables. This Target collaboration can’t hold a soy candle to previous home runs like Liberty of London and Missoni. It will confuse and disappoint customers on both of the ends of the spectrum.

This public relations stunt has gone horribly wrong. These strange bedfellows have given birth to some very strange children. 

Products from the Neiman Marcus and Target holiday 2012 collaboration.

Products from the Neiman Marcus and Target holiday 2012 collaboration.

Dix&Pond is the blog of www.dixandpond.com Creative and strategic consulting for retail and wholesale apparel, shoe and consumer product companies.

Ecommerce & Fashion – 4 Key Design Elements

The internet is filled with hopeful entrepreneurs intent to make their mark in the crowded fashion space. Ecommerce sites specializing in t-shirts, accessories, jewelry, kid’s clothes, shoes, beauty, etc. are sprouting up all over the world. Mass customization, flash sales and social shopping have proliferated, in addition to traditional online retailers. The internet has become a massive shopping bazaar and it is increasingly hard to get noticed. Fashion is highly discretionary and it takes a lot more finesse than selling toothpaste.

Undoubtedly, the outsized growth in ecommerce is due to the significant advantages of online shopping. Ecommerce is always open, has no lines, offers endless choices and makes bargain hunting and choosing easier. One can search for simple things like “white shirt” and immediately net out an entire site’s selection.

On the downside, websites are two-dimensional. They lack the tactile sense of touch, smell and usually sound. There is also a lack of trust, because of the inability to feel and try on the merchandise. Fashion is an emotionally driven purchase and it is challenging to create a fully stimulating brand experience with limited sensory elements.

A great fashion site has a strong brand identity relevant to the targeted audience.

A great fashion site has a strong brand identity relevant to the targeted audience.

Here are the 4 key design elements to create a strong fashion brand online :

Create a rich visual personality. The fashion business is about looks. The company needs to understand and visually appeal to the intended audience. Customers for apparel and accessories span a wide spectrum, from fashion obsessives to commodity shoppers. The elements of fonts, color, images and layout combine to tell a unique visual story about the retail or wholesale brand. This is the visual merchandising of ecommerce. It has to “say” something relevant to the viewer, like urban and sexy, playful and preppy or hip and edgy.

Nordstrom for instance, plays to a fashion-obsessed crowd. The modern look of their image driven site successfully speaks to their upscale audience. Zappos with its royal blue NAV bars and basic fonts, appeals to average consumers looking for depth of assortment and a no-nonsense approach. Color is a key emotional trigger for any brand. Net-a-Porter the designer fashion site for cosmopolitan fashion lovers, is appropriately modern and black. All American Kate Spade  and Lilly Pulitzer  brands are about high color and their sites are colorful and whimsical. The signature blue and delicately formal fonts of Tiffany’s  site reek of refinement and “pin-drop-quiet” luxury. Sites have to be visually rich and compelling to their intended constituents.

Speak with a unique voice. The content is the written voice of the brand and the copy writer is a story-teller, a painter of a picture. How do you sell fragrance when a consumer can’t smell it? The role is to evoke impulses, emotions and ideas with copy and images. They create a fantasy, possibilities and attributes that may not really exist. Content plays to our basic human desires to drive sales. Storytelling comes from active and colorful language and compelling images.

The copy is a combination of storytelling and informative language to make the sale. Informing is filling in the features of the product and terms to seal the deal. When the customer is convinced of your fashion authority, then they evaluate secondary considerations like price, guarantees, shipping policies, etc. Website traffic is driven by keywords, but engaging copy does the job of creating a brand personality. The copy needs to be crafted with both. Shopbop and Anthropologie do a great job telling the product stories with emotionally charged copy.

Entertain consumers and improve your traffic. Adding a blog, “must-have” suggestions, “look-books” or trend information to your site adds valuable searchable content and provides an element of entertainment and fashion authority to the site (see Tory Burch ). Some companies have added styling questionnaires, interactive games, etc. to engage consumers. A perfect example is Tacori’s  “Mating Game”. This game adds a hipness to their brand and whimsy to the ordinarily formal fine jewelry buying experience.

Provide a simple and fast experience. Ecommerce customers are busy people bombarded with choices. Websites are visited with a reason in mind and the consumer starts the dialogue. They have little patience for overly tricky Flash sites and complex navigation. The best ecommerce sites help viewers accomplish what they want simply and quickly. Fashion is about change, but keeping some expected conventions to the navigation and minimizing slow features will lower your bounce rate and convert more customers. J Crew  makes the buying process simple, quick and predictable.

These 4 key design elements will go a long way to create a great brand experience and successful fashion site.

Dix&Pond is the blog of www.dixandpond.com Creative and strategic consulting for retail and wholesale apparel, shoe and consumer product companies.

 

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