This is the most comprehensive guide on how to optimize your eCommerce apparel website.
In this new guide, you’ll learn:
- What eCommerce optimization is
- Why Ecommerce Optimization Is Crucial for Clothing Stores
- 12 Ways to Optimize Your Ecommerce Apparel Website
- and lots more
What is eCommerce Optimization?
We can define eCommerce optimization as a strategy for increasing website revenue and profitability. The main goal of eCommerce optimization is to increase the conversion rate of your store.
This includes making changes such as:
- modify the design and layout of the website
- Taking new product images
- Create profitable discounts and promotions
Every change or modification you make to your website should aim to provide a better experience for your customers. By providing a better experience, customers are more likely to make a purchase.
The theory behind eCommerce optimization and the reason it works is that there is always room for improvement. No matter how great your website is, you can try new ways to improve your site and increase conversions.
Is eCommerce Optimization Important?
Ecommerce optimization is critical in 2022 due to rising marketing costs and intense competition. As a result, paid advertising is not as effective as it used to be. Ecommerce optimization is a way to increase your store revenue without changing your ads.
By increasing the conversion rate of your clothing store, every user who visits your website has a higher chance of making a purchase.
Let’s walk through an example to see why eCommerce optimization is so powerful.
For example, let’s say your clothing store has a conversion rate of 2.5%. This means that for every 1000 visitors to your website, 25 people will make a purchase.
Now suppose you optimize your eCommerce website and increase your conversion rate to 4.5%. This means that 45 out of every 1000 visitors to your website will now make a purchase.
In this example, you improved your conversion rate by 60% after optimizing your website. A 60% increase in conversation rates also results in a 60% increase in revenue.
12 Ways to Optimize Your Ecommerce Clothing Store
Now you should understand what eCommerce optimization is and why it’s so important. So let’s dive into 12 ways to optimize your eCommerce clothing store.
1. Prioritize Your Customer Experience
A loyal customer base can make or break the success of your ecommerce clothing store. Therefore, you must prioritize the customer experience of your website from start to finish.
Here are a few ways you can optimize your website’s customer experience.
Improve Website Speed
The first step in creating a flawless user experience on your website is improving your site’s speed. Slow sites cause visitors to leave immediately, as 40% of visitors abandon sites that take 3 seconds or more to load.
Clothing stores usually have a lot of products and pictures. Unfortunately, this means your store is vulnerable to slow load times as users need to load every image on the page.
You can increase the speed of your clothing store by:
- Compressing and optimizing your images
- Removing unused plugins and applications
- Use a Responsive Ecommerce Theme
To learn more about improving your website speed, check out our guide: 13 Ways to Speed Up Your Ecommerce Website.
Offer Smooth and Easy Returns
Another way to improve the customer experience in your clothing store is to offer smooth and easy returns. Since you have a clothing store, customers may order items that don’t fit when they arrive.
Therefore, it is imperative to make your returns policy highly visible.
Here’s an example from Gymshark:
As you can see, “Free returns on all orders” is displayed directly on the product page. This way customers know they have the option to return for free.
Here’s another example of PrettyLittleThing:
Every PrettyLittleThing product page includes a Shipping and Returns section under the product description. As you can see, PrettyLittleThing allows returns within 28 days of purchase.
We highly recommend offering a fair return policy as exchanges and returns are very common in the apparel industry.
Offer Outstanding Customer Service
Your brand should also provide great customer service in every interaction with customers. Whether you do customer support yourself or have a team of customer support agents, putting customers first is crucial.
Your customer support team should be helpful, friendly and quick to answer all inquiries. If your current customer service representatives lack sufficient skills, we recommend that you take the time to train them.
It’s a worthwhile investment because your customer support is one of the only ways to communicate directly with your customers.
As a result, your customers’ interactions with your customer service team can heavily influence their perception of your brand. A positive customer service experience can go a long way when it comes to building a loyal following.
Offer Multiple Payment Methods
We recommend that you provide as many payment methods as possible. Many top clothing ecommerce stores also offer payment plans, including Klarna Afterpay and Zip.
Here’s an example from clothing giant NastyGal:
This section is displayed directly at the bottom of the NastyGal home page. Hence, their customers immediately know what type of payment methods are available to them.
2. Build and Showcase Social Proof
After creating the perfect customer experience, the next step is to build and demonstrate social proof.
But what is social proof?
Social proof is the psychological phenomenon that people believe and follow the behavior of others. For example, if your friends tell you how great a new restaurant is, you’re more likely to try it yourself.
Social proof is important for eCommerce clothing stores because it can help your brand stand out in a competitive industry. With great social proof, you can instantly build trust with first-time visitors and entice them to make a purchase.
Let’s discuss a few ways to build social proof on your ecommerce clothing store.
Display customer testimonials and media mentions on your homepage
Client testimonials and media mentions are an excellent way to instantly build trust with website visitors.
Here’s an example from CupShe:
As you can see, CupShe has a section at the bottom of its homepage that directly displays customer testimonials. Showcasing positive reviews from past customers can give new visitors the confidence they need to make a purchase.
Below customer testimonials, CupShe shows media endorsements from Bustle Oprah Daily US Weekly and Elle.
Media mentions are a powerful form of social proof because they show visitors that reputable media outlets endorse your brand. This instills trust in your brand and can increase conversion rates for first-time visitors.
If you don’t have any media mentions, we suggest you reach out to some relevant media in your field. First you should ask them if they would like to write an article about your brand. While some media outlets are happy to help others may require payment.
It would be best if you get some press mentions and then feature them on your website like you see on CupShe.
Gather High-Quality Product Reviews
Product reviews are essential for a clothing eCommerce store. In fact, a product with rave reviews can greatly increase your website’s conversion rate.
If you want to learn how to get more product reviews, read Parts 1 and 2 of our eCommerce Product Reviews Masterclass. These guides will teach you the best strategies to capitalize on more product reviews from your customers.
It is also important to have an advanced review dashboard on your product pages.
Here’s an example from Gymshark:
As you can see, product reviews come with individual ratings for:
- Range of Movement
The review also shows the reviewer’s height and usual size. This type of in-depth product review is beneficial for store visitors who want to learn more about a product. Since ordering clothes online can be risky when it comes to sizing, reviews help visitors decide which size to buy.
Use the Review Giveaway to Get More Customer Reviews
An innovative way to get more customer reviews is to offer giveaways.
Here’s an example from apparel e-commerce giant Urban Outfitters:
As you can see, Urban Outfitters is offering a chance to win a $1,000 gift card if a customer writes a review and uploads a photo with the review.
This is a great strategy to bring more product reviews to your website.
To learn more about building social proof for your apparel eCommerce website, check out Parts 1 and 2 of our eCommerce Social Proof Masterclass.
3. Drive Urgency and Scarcity
You can significantly increase the revenue of your eCommerce store by driving a sense of urgency and scarcity.
This is achieved through limited-time sales and promotions.
Here is an example for Fashion Nova:
Once on Fashion Nova’s website, you’ll see a 40% discount that ends at midnight. This promotion is displayed on both the announcement banner and the main image. Additionally, the homepage includes two interactive timers that continue to count down until the end of the sale.
This strategy emphasizes the feeling of “fear of missing out,” or FOMO. Fear of missing out is a feeling of anticipated regret for not taking an opportunity in time.
Here’s another example of how to remove urgency and scarcity from SHEIN:
SHEIN is another large online clothing store with millions of customers all over the world. As you can see, their website includes a “flash sale” section that showcases temporarily discounted products.
The flash sale section is an excellent strategy for two reasons. First, it encourages visitors to take advantage of temporary discounts and buy quickly. Second, it entices visitors to check the website daily for the latest list of promotional products.
Since the flash sale resets every 24 hours, customers may come back to SHEIN’s store every day.
4. Create An Excellent Home Page
Your website’s homepage is the first thing people see when they visit your website. However, if they quickly exit your site due to a poor homepage design, it could also be the last thing they see.
A well-made homepage has several core functions, including:
- Bulletin board with attractive promotions
- Easy-to-use navigation bar
- Single, high-quality main image (avoid carousels)
- Current promotions and offers
Here’s an example from CupShe:
As you can see, CupShe’s homepage is well-designed, clean and uses high-quality images to set the tone for their branding. Additionally, the homepage displays several promotional offers, including an extra 10% off free shipping and payment plan options.
Directly under the CupShe Heroes banner is a flash sale section:
It’s now clear that fast fashion brands like Fashion Nova CupShe and SHEIN have flash sale sections to heighten the sense of urgency among customers. These are some of the top apparel eCommerce brands in the world, so a flash sale strategy must be effective.
Here’s another example of SHEIN’s well-crafted homepage:
Similar to CupShe’s homepage, SHEIN’s homepage is also clean, concise and effective.
5. Offer a Student Discount
Depending on the niche of your store, you can offer student discounts. Taking advantage of a young student population can significantly impact your store’s bottom line.
This is because students see hundreds of different people every day. For this reason, if a student wears a unique and stylish piece of clothing, your brand can spread quickly through word of mouth.
Gymshark is offering students a 10% storewide discount on:
However, to avoid people taking advantage of student discounts, Gymshark requires students to verify their student status using Student Beans.
6. Customer Loyalty Programs
Our sixth strategy for optimizing an apparel e-commerce website is to create a customer loyalty program. Customer Loyalty Programs Reward your most loyal customers with exclusive offers and perks.
CupShe offers a free customer loyalty program called Sunchasers Club:
By joining the Sunchasers Club, clients receive:
- Free shipping
- Birthday rewards
- Early access to promotions
- Special perks
Members of the Sunchasers Club earn points when they shop.
They can then redeem points for exclusive discounts.
Customer loyalty programs improve key metrics such as average order value (AOV) and customer lifetime value (CLV). This is because customer loyalty programs provide your customers with a better shopping experience.
7. Use High-Quality Images
High-quality images must be used throughout the site. Low-quality images suggest low-quality branding and can cause visitors to leave your site.
For this reason, it pays to invest in professional photoshoots with live models.
Here are some great image examples from Urban Outfitters:
These images are category images from the Mens Womenswear and Home section of Urban Outfitter. Each image perfectly sums up their brand image and clothing style.
Urban Outfitters also uses high-quality images on their product pages:
As you can see, the first image in the gallery is a separate image of the product itself.
The picture below shows the model wearing the product:
8. Increase average order value (AOV)
One of the best ways to optimize your apparel eCommerce store is to focus on increasing your average order value. Your store’s average order value is exactly what the name suggests is the average of all orders in your store.
For example, if your store has a total of 5,000 orders and $150,000 in revenue, your store’s AOV is $30. By increasing your store’s AOV, you can capture more value from each customer who places an order.
Let’s say your store has an average of 50 orders per day and an AOV of $30. This means your store earns an average of $1500 per day.
If you increase your AOV to $40, your store’s daily revenue will increase to $2000. So, you can effectively increase your store’s revenue by 25%.
You can increase the AOV of your clothing store by upselling and cross-selling:
Upselling and Cross-Selling
Upselling and cross-selling are when you encourage customers to buy related or complementary items.
Here is an example of Fashion Nova’s cross-selling:
This section is located directly below the product description on each product page. Based on the product pages you browse, Fashion Nova will suggest similar styles. If a visitor particularly likes a certain style, they can view all similar products and add them to their shopping cart.
The bottom of the Fashion Nova product page includes another section for upselling and cross-selling:
There is also a third section for upselling and cross-selling:
As you can see, Fashion Nova puts a lot of emphasis on cross-sells and up-sells to increase their AOV.
Fashion Nova even includes a final cross-sell section on the cart page:
The shopping cart page is your last chance to convince customers to buy more before checking out. For this reason, you should include a section similar to what Fashion Nova has on their cart page.
9. Create a frictionless checkout process
Since the goal of any ecommerce site is to drive sales, your checkout process needs to be smooth and frictionless. You shouldn’t just focus on the checkout page either. The checkout process starts directly from the product page.
Let’s walk through Fashion Nova’s checkout process from start to finish:
FashionNova’s product pages provide all the information customers need for a quick checkout.
The product page displays:
- Payment plan options using Zip or Afterpay
- How much a customer needs to spend to get free shipping
- When the estimated delivery date is
Displaying payment plan options on product pages is important because some customers rely on payment plans to purchase items online. So, if they don’t know about the payment plan options, they might leave your site.
Next, let’s take a look at Fashion Nova’s shopping cart page:
As you can see, Fashion Nova’s shopping cart page displays:
- How Much More Customers Need to Pay to Get Free Shipping
- Faster payment options with PayPal ShopPay Amazon Pay and Google Pay
Finally, let’s take a look at Fashion Nova’s checkout page:
As you can see, the checkout page is simple and easy to use. Additionally, FashionNova removed all external links, making it difficult for users to exit the checkout page. Therefore, it is imperative to avoid distracting links and content on the checkout page.
10. Create a Style Gallery
In today’s dominant social media world, you can create a stylized gallery of curated images from your clients.
Here’s an example from SHEIN:
As you can see, the style gallery consists of images of customers wearing SHEIN clothing. The great thing about this style library is that you can sort images by category, occasion style, and element.
If you sort your photo gallery by occasion, you can further sort the images by summer music festival travel season and more.
Also, once you click on the image, a mini product page appears where you can add the product to your cart instantly.
11. Explain model size in description
As we mentioned before, e-commerce apparel stores struggle with returns and exchanges due to incorrect sizing. Unfortunately, if a customer ordered the wrong size, there’s not much you can do other than offer a return or exchange.
That’s why it’s critical for your customers to order the correct size every time.
A great way to make sure you get the right size is to take professional product images with mockups. Then explain the physical dimensions of the model in the product description section.
Here is an example of a great product image from Gymshark:
In the product description we can see that the model is 6’2″ and is wearing a size L:
Based on the picture and the height of the model, customers can get a better idea of what size to order.
12. Study The Industry Leaders
Our final tactic for optimizing your online apparel website is researching industry leaders. The top clothing eCommerce stores in the world have huge teams dedicated to improving their websites and invest millions of dollars in website optimization every year.
Every implementation on their website has been rigorously tested and backed by tons of data. As a smaller e-commerce apparel company, you can research the items on their website and take inspiration from them to revamp your own store.
We hope you enjoyed this brand new guide on how to optimize our eCommerce clothing store in 2022.
Now, we’d love to hear your opinion: Which strategy from today’s guide will you test first?
Is there a strategy we forgot to mention in this article?
Either way, let us know by leaving a quick comment below. We’d love to answer any questions you may have about eCommerce or conversion rate optimization.