Vanhishikha Bhargava
Vanhishikha Bhargava

How Can Fashion and Apparel Retailers Use Data To Grow Their Business Online

how fashion and apparel retailers can use data to grow their business online

In our previous blog, we discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the fashion and apparel industry. The slowdown in the market has nudged retailers to take a new approach to run their business. As McKinsey says, it’s time to rewire the fashion system and by that, the experts don’t just mean taking your business online. They’re talking about using concrete market data to make the decision of going online and everything that follows to grow your business in the digital ecosystem.

In this article, we’re sharing how the fashion and apparel retailers can use their data while setting up their online store, to grow their business faster.

Steps to Take Before Enabling Data For Your Shopify Store

1. Bring all your customer data to one place

If you had an offline retail store running, it’s important that you take stock of all the customer data you collected so far. The best way to do this is to upload all your customer data to your Shopify store, CRM or the marketing apps you’re going to make use of. Be it the customer name, phone numbers, emails or even addresses – don’t miss out on the smallest of data you have on them.

PS. Also, make sure that you have recorded their last purchase details. This will help you strategize how you want to re-engage them as your online business gets set up.

2. Set up Google Analytics

The one thing that a lot of retailers miss out on when setting shop online, is setting up the ability to track every action on their store. Yes, data can be overwhelming but setting up a Google Analytics account for your Shopify store is a lot more important than ever before.

With so many brands coming online, the competition is higher than ever. With customer needs changing every day, market trends are all too dynamic. The only way for stores to bag more sales and sail through these times, is to keep close track of data. And Google Analytics does just that for you – identify customer purchase patterns, trending products on your store, changing consumer demographics and more.

Wondering if this step is really important? Read our post on why Google Analytics and Shopify Analytics are not enough to understand your customers and product performance.

Not sure how to set up Google Analytics for your store? Reach out to us for support using the chat bubble on the bottom right of your screen.

Using Data For Your Fashion And Apparel Store

Now that you have set up your store online and have all your customer data in place too, it’s important to prevent all leaks. And by that we mean, not losing any data on your customers or the new shoppers you reach out to online, simply because you’re juggling between various marketing apps, your new Shopify store and Google Analytics.

That’s where you play it smart and plug in a Shopify Analytics app to help you make sense of all the data – quickly.

RevTap can be connected to your new Shopify store, Google Analytics, email marketing apps and Facebook Ads Manager. It then pulls all the data you have – including campaigns you may have run before onto one dashboard, creating three actionable reports:

Wait, so how do you even use these reports? Let us tell you.

1. Understand the different kinds of customers you have

First things first. When you take your brand online, you get access to a wider market. But in this case, it is important to start by understanding who your ideal customers have been. This includes going beyond the basic demographics like age and gender and understanding where they come from, what their purchase behaviour looks like and how they have been interacting with your brand so far.

Then based on this data, you need to identify common patterns across different types of customers and segment them creating groups. These are called customer segments and the grouping is done based on the kind of interaction or purchase behaviour a customer has displayed.

For instance, if some of your customers have purchased from your retail store every time you ran a discount, you could group them under the price-sensitive category. You can then use this data to reach out to this segment of the customers with an exclusive online discount!

Send them an email to notify them how you’ve taken your brand online and the offer you’re making them.

fashion and apparel - covid email

Similarly, you could set up social media and search ads for this specific segment of customers to promote a first-purchase discount on your online store.

Fashion---FB-Ad

Your Shopify store’s analytics is an untapped opportunity to grow your sales. Make your data work for you. Give RevTap a spin!

Not sure how you can create customer segments out of all the marketing data you have?
Get RevTap on your store to create customer segments on auto!

2. Identify what your shoppers want to purchase

The market for fashion and apparel has changed. The needs of consumers have changed.

For instance, we’re no longer looking for fashionable office wear. We are now interacting with brands that are offering comfortable loungewear instead!

And considering how we’re all sitting at home these days, it is only obvious.

Picking up on this shift in consumer needs, a lot of brands are pivoting their product range and inventory. In other cases, some brands are now seen focusing on a specific range of products instead of their entire collection.

But picking up the changing patterns can be tough. So instead of guesswork to plan your inventory better, use product analytics and segments.

Identify which of your products on the store are getting the most attention – use your product page traffic data for this.

Then move on to see which of the products are getting sold the most, which ones get added to the wishlist but not sold, and which ones tend to be purchased when on a discount. Infact, take into account the purchases that were last made when your retail store was open.

Products - Products Segment2

Use this data to plan the inventory of your products in the coming months, better. After all, there’s no point stocking up on office wear inventory when no one’s going to be stepping into office spaces!

3. Find the real reason behind cart abandonment

An online store sees an average cart abandonment rate of 69% and there are many reasons behind this.

Some shoppers will abandon the products added to their cart because the cart total is too much. Then there will be some who will abandon the purchase simply because they didn’t find their preferred shipping or payment method. But there’s no one reason behind it all – different customer segments with different purchase behaviours, will have different reasons to abandon their cart.

To make things worse, with the increasing number of brands going online, there’s also a constant competition for attention. Now abandonment can happen simply because a shopper was distracted by the deal being offered by another brand!

So instead of hitting peak cart abandonment and then tackling the issue based on assumptions, look at data to guide you.

Find the real reason behind cart abandonment on your store by analysing the customer purchase behaviour. RevTap highlights this for you under customer analytics and segments – making it easy for you to identify what it will take to bring back a shopper to complete the purchase.

4. Make your email campaigns effective with personalization

As you move your brand online, emails are going to be one of the most effective channels to reach out to your existing customers. But when they’re going to receive emails from similar stores like yours, you need to make sure yours stands out – don’t count on familiarity to a brand to drive purchases. It’s like building your brand all over again when you move online!

With customer segments and purchase behaviour analysis at hand, use the data to personalize your email campaigns first.

For example, a customer falls into the price-sensitive segment. You have a range of products that is popular right now and also on discount.

You can reach out to that customer with a personalized email promoting products from that range along with a discount.

product recommendation covid fashion email

When you make a suggestion based on purchase behaviour and buying preferences, you make your emails more effective at driving more sales.

PS. If your store is not shipping out orders yet, make sure you add a note in your emails. Give your customers the option to make the purchases early and get the products later. Or you could even offer them to pre-book the products they’re interested in.

Also read: How to set up email marketing for your Shopify store during COVID-19

5. Optimize your social media ads for high-context

Under quarantine, the media is actually social. All of us are spending a lot more time surfing social media sites than we did ever before – be it to stay up-to-date on what’s happening across the world or to stay in touch with our friends and family.

But at the same time, these are the platforms where we are discovering which brands are open for orders now.

While it’s a great opportunity to bag and reaching your target market might seem easy, don’t forget – there are others similar to your brand that will be taking the same approach.

To stand out, optimize your social media ads for high-context. Use data to personalize your campaigns to a point where the shopper feels they’re being spoken to!

Use customer segments and purchase behaviour analysis to identify which group of shoppers responds to what message. Then use product segments to identify which products you should be promoting in your ads.

Combine the three reports on RevTap, along with actionable insights from your previous campaigns to create effective ads.

And by effective ads we mean – low on spend, high on driving sales!

Wondering if advertising during a market slowdown is a good idea? Here’s why we think Shopify stores should continue to run ads.

Not sure how to use data to strategize your Facebook and Instagram ads? Contact our Shopify experts today.

Looking for inspiration for your next social media ad campaign? Here are 10 ideas that will drive more sales.

6. Run search ads that show up for the right searches

Similar to social media, search engines have become our go-to for information.

Whether we’re looking at reading up more on COVID-19, or quickly making a search on ‘buy pyjamas online’, search engines are the fastest way for us to gather information or even discover new brands.

That’s why it’s important that you run search ads to promote your products, deals and discounts. But more importantly, to let your target market know that your brand is now selling online.

Again, put your customer segments and product segments to use here to nail your messaging. Capture attention instantly amidst the hundreds of search results by using what customers want to hear right now!

Pro tip: Make your social media and search ads convert higher by following them up with retargeting and remarketing (respectively) campaigns. If you need help setting these campaigns up, reach out to Shopify experts instead.

If you don’t already have an online store for your fashion and apparel brand, you might be thinking about how this is too much work.

Yes, it is completely different from how you’re used to running your retail store. But let us tell you why you need to take your brand online today and use the above tactics to grow your business before you get lost in the lockdown.

Why should you take your fashion and apparel brand online?

1. Retailers with an online store are slowly getting permission to continue business

First things first. COVID-19 shut down practically every industry and slowed things for most businesses; except general necessities. But as we tackle the virus, we are seeing the government ease out on the lockdowns slowly – not physical retail stores but you’re mostly allowed to do business online.

eCommerce is a low-risk business during the pandemic. That’s why it is important for retailers to embrace digitizing their business, in order to remain functional during and after the worldwide lockdown.

2. Allows your customers to continue purchasing from your brand even now

One of the biggest changes in consumer behaviour is choosing to not step into physical stores to make purchases. Even if it comes to buying basic necessities and the fear is justifiable. The fashion and apparel industry is no different and has seen the impact of this shift, with a dip in their sales and store walk-ins (also blame lockdowns for it).

But when you have an online store, you can cater to this changing need of the consumer. They don’t have to walk into a store full of people. They don’t have to ‘touch’ to interact with anyone around them. And they don’t have to leave the safety net of their homes.

With an online store, you can let them continue buying products from your brand instead of waiting for them to walk back in. You can additionally offer services like order pick-up or no-touch delivery to ensure you’re also addressing their other concerns.

3. Helps improve your brand recall with better customer engagement

Ever since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve been bombarded with content online. News about the spread, promotion of products that can help you stay safe, speculations and so much more. There’s obviously no (or less) mention of anything fashion as everyone is now indoors.

During this time, there’s a higher chance of a brand getting lost. Even if you have always had thousands of followers on your Facebook page, you’re more likely to lose the name. Imagine having to start from scratch when things normalize!

With an online store, you can engage your customers more effectively. Instead of strolling into your retail store to browse through your collections, try out outfits and make purchases, it now enables them to do it all virtually – and safely, from the comfort of their home.

So while they get to continue interacting with their favourite brand, you make sure your brand recall gets improved too. And no matter how many stores come online, your place in the customer’s heart remains!

4. Setting shop online is way easier than you think

A lot of fashion and apparel retailers have shied away from opening online stores simply because they think it is too overwhelming.

Yes, setting up an online store isn’t really a cakewalk. But it isn’t so difficult either with eCommerce platforms like Shopify.

Don’t believe us? Check out this comprehensive step-by-step guide on Shopify.

Keeping your fashion and apparel brand alive

Yes, the COVID-19 outbreak has forced a lot of brands to reposition their offerings and pivot their inventory. It has also nudged a lot of retailers to finally take their brands online – which means increased competition for customer attention and sales.

That’s where getting your products, deals and discounts to the forefront in a timely fashion comes into play.

Right from strategizing your email campaigns to reach your existing customers or using ads to promote them to a new audience, you need to look into the smallest of details available on your customers.

Not sure where to begin?

Reach out to the Shopify experts at RevTap and let the Spin team help you run campaigns that help you grow your brand online and increase sales. Contact us today.

Need help taking your fashion and apparel brand online? Reach out to us for support using the live chat bubble at the bottom right corner of your screen.

Turn your Shopify store data into more revenue with RevTap. Sign up today to get started for FREE and avail pre-launch discounts.
Vanhishikha Bhargava
Vanhishikha Bhargava
Vanhishikha is the Head of Content and Partnerships at RevTap. You'll usually find her hunting for strategies and tools to enable eCommerce businesses to sell more. At other times, you'll find her testing them and writing about them with a cup of coffee.

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