Online fashion is growing fast, but as Leon Bailey-Green pointed out in our recent interview, just 6% of the UK fashion retail market is selling online.
This means there is still huge potential for getting people to shop for fashion online. One way to do this is to attempt to recreate the in-store experience as closely as possible, and to help shoppers get a feel for clothes without being able to see them close up and try them on.
Here are a few ideas from online fashion sites that are doing this well, though the advice applies equally to other sectors...
Use video on product pages
Images are great, but seeing clothes in motion, or how they can look when worn with accessories can help to showcase products more persuasively and persuade shoppers to buy.
Embedding videos on product pages, as ASOS does in the example shown below, is a good way to do this, as it makes it easy for shoppers to watch videos without waiting for new pages to open.
Use video to promote looks and ideas
Creating videos with tips and ideas for looks from fashion experts can give shoppes a feel that someone is there helping them to shop, and provide some useful recommendations for outfits.
In this example from Warehouse, new looks are showcased, and the featured clothes are shown on the right of the page with links to product pages so that customers can easily make a purchase if they like what they see:
Have high quality images
If you're expecting customers to spend decent sums of money on fashion online, then they need to see quality product images. This may not matter so much with electronics or DVDs, but with clothes you need to showcase them in the best possible light.
Images should be high resolution, and good enough to give customers an idea of the texture, the kind of material used etc.
In this example from The White Company, the images aren't really doing enough to sell this dress, as images are low-res, and shoppers cannot zoom in to see detail:
Net-A-Porter does it better, providing quality images and allowing customers to zoom in on different parts of the dress:
Show a variety of views
Displaying clothes and shoes from a variety of angles can quickly answer consumers' questions about products, such as whether jackets have vents at the back, or what kind of grips shoes have.
There is also the option of providing 360 degree images of products so that the customer can manipulate the view and look at the product from any angle, though I haven't found examples of this technology on any fashion sites.
This can also be done by providing a decent range of photos though, as Schuh does with these trainers. Views are provided from every conceivable angle so the customers gets a great idea of the product:
Virtual fitting rooms
Virtual fitting rooms give customers a chance to try out looks and see what goes together and what doesn't.
One examples is the Oasis fitting room which allows shopper to compile a look from all of the clothes on the site, then head for the checkout to buy the complete outfit: