Retail is increasingly moving online, although there will always be some forms of shopping more suitable for a personal hands-on experience. When I buy clothing, I always try to bear in mind the following five criteria (The 5 F’s):
So when I buy something in-store, I can run my fingers along the stitching and seams to ascertain quality, I can also obviously try on the garment to ascertain how good the fit is, how well it suits my frame etc. - all people are different shapes and sizes and not all brands will suit.
When buying online, as you cannot easily apply all the 5 criteria, there will obviously be a fair degree of returns, so for Fashion Retail, the returns process is an essential component. Overall though, you are trying to overcome various barriers to sale - to put the shopper’s mind at ease and remove all doubts they may have. I devised the above template to include all the necessary details to give a shopper full confidence to buy from you. I buy a fair amount of clothing online, and have distilled best practices from the leading fashion retail sites, as well as extrapolated some finer nuances which appeal to my own discerning nature.
NOTE - that I was limited by space (800 x 800 pixel visual) and that the above concept is obviously a little cramped for space - the final implementation would of course have a more spread-out layout.
The key purposes of the included elements are as follows:
Social elements are key to encouraging purchases onsite (Ratings + Reviews) as well as through distributed social media / off-site (Sharing).
The Stock Keeping Unit is essential for customer correspondence - if a customer is seeking further information about the item, they need an accurate means to reference it.
I have included an accurate colour swatch selector allied with a Pantone reference - most retail sites are way too vague about colour for you to make an informed decision. You cannot entirely rely on the photograph or colour description, you need some kind of accurate benchmark reference - e.g. Pantone.
Many sites include model information (model dimensions | model is wearing ...) which I find essential - you really need to know how well the garment is likely to fit you - the more dimensions you provide here the better - also an indication of fit - slim | true-to-size | generous!
This is essential for me, as I am totally fed up with ordering something which does not materialise for several days as the retailer really did not have the garment in stock at their central warehouse. Displaying units in stock and despatch status gives customers the perfect gauge of when they can reasonably expect to receive said garment
Clear options on how quickly you can receive your purchase are essential - as it the returns process - for reasons previously stated. I love Amazon’s use of Yodel doorstep pick-up for returns, and would advise all retailers to offer similar service - obviously for lesser priced goods, this service could not be offered for ’free’.
Hardly anyone does this - full overview of composition of entire garment - all materials used, allied with proper Care Instruction Icons - I want to know if my garment is Machine-Washable, and if I can send to dry-cleaners too if I wish - currently this is handled quite poorly. I really don’t understand why more retailers don’t include proper Care instructions - ideally via the proper label icons.
Further description as necessary ...
As you don’t have hands-on via the online medium, so it is critical to be able to view the item from every angle. The video is essential as you can best see how the garment fits and drapes by how it is worn by a model - who should exibit a fairly broad range of motion so you can appraise the suitability of the garment.
Essential sell-on utility for retailers, as well as recommendations engine for consumers. The new M&S site is very much based around the concept of shopping for whole outfits. Gender-wise this is more predominantly a female pastime (Whole Outfts) as men prefer to shop for individual items. Nonetheless, most will find this facility very useful.
This offers further sell-on capabilities for retailers, as well as further ’more from range...’ alternatives for the shoppers