We can no longer ignore it: online marketplaces are booming and are considered to be the future of fashion retail. But what’s the secret to successful selling through fashion marketplaces like Amazon, Zalando, Spartoo, Bol.com, and About You? How can you make sure your products are found, your brand name is recognized and your customer loyalty is increased?
Let’s take a look at some figures about the marketplace revolution: an impressive 58 percent of global online purchases were made through marketplaces in 2019. The fashion industry represents 18 to 19 percent. These days, 75 percent of consumers looking for jeans will start their search on a platform like Zalando, instead of in a specific brand’s online store. Those percentages will only continue to rise and the corona crisis has most certainly contributed to this. It’s essential for fashion brands and retailers to have a presence on these online sales channels. It’s a huge opportunity to expand your reach internationally and generate more sales, but it’s a complex challenge at the same time too. Below are five tips on how to successfully sell through fashion marketplaces and boost your sales.
Fashion is about emotions, about the art of seduction. As a fashion retailer or brand, it’s important to inspire consumers during their search on a marketplace and to enthuse them about your products – while they may actually have been looking for a competitor’s product. An attractive visual content is the perfect way to differentiate yourself. Make sure the content is top quality. Be sure to include good quality photographs, videos and clear product information with the most important information and search terms in the right place. This will ensure that the product satisfies all expectations and it will reduce the risk of returns. Do bear in mind that marketplaces sometimes set stricter requirements where the content is concerned if you are planning on selling premium fashion products. Fashion companies with a registered brand can benefit from extra tools on some marketplaces, like an own brand page.
You will be generating opportunities and repeat orders if your products can easily be found on an online marketplace. We have seen a shift from brand-oriented searches to brand-less searches in consumers’ search behavior on fashion marketplaces. Research has shown that more than three-quarters of Amazon’s searches are non-branded. This involves searching for generic products instead of brands. This means consumers, for example, look for ‘ladies’ running shoes’, instead of a specific brand. Ninety percent of the time, the search behavior can be classified like this: product type, method of use, brand. You therefore won’t benefit from putting your brand name in front of the title. The ChannelEngine tool will help you to optimize and automate article names and keywords. This will require a different strategic approach per marketplace and product category.
One characteristic of the fashion industry is working with seasons, colours and size charts. The latter is a particularly important focus point, as size tables can differ per online marketplace. For example, someone wanting to sell via Zalando, the largest European online fashion store, will need to prepare a size table code which will convert your sizes to Zalando’s standard sizes. Using the right size tables on the product pages is of vital importance. This will ensure the consumer receives a product which meets his or her expectations. The same applies here too: this will avoid returns, allowing you to save both time and money. If you’re planning on advertising via marketplaces, make sure you can actually fulfil people’s expectations. If you only have a few sizes of a particular item of clothing left at the end of the season, it would be smart to use your marketing budget to push a different collection.
It may well be easy to effectively keep on top of your sales when you first start selling via marketplaces. However, this will start to take up an increasing amount of your time as your sales start to increase, or if you start selling via several different marketplaces. Or, worse still: your sales get completely out of hand. Stock management is one of the critical success factors. You want to make sure you always have sufficient stocks of products at the right time. So, make sure your logistical infrastructure is effectively organized, allowing you to cope with and efficiently manage the increasing number of orders and returns. ChannelEngine helps fashion companies, distributors and retailers to automate their sales. The tool creates a seamless integration between your company and the applicable international marketplaces, with the aim of saving time and increasing profit levels.
And finally: companies which are purely suppliers of online marketplaces such as Amazon often have little guidance when it comes to sales. They become dependent on the purchasing platform and are at the mercy of its strategy. You will retain control of this process yourself if you manage the sales and stocks yourself via ChannelEngine’s model. You will decide which products you want to offer, in what quantities and the associated sales prices. This means you will keep full control of what is sold, as well as your profitability.
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