This is the most comprehensive guide on how to optimize your eCommerce apparel site.
In this new guide, you’ll learn:
- What eCommerce optimization is
- Why eCommerce optimization is essential for apparel stores
- 12 ways to optimize your eCommerce apparel website
- and lots more
Let’s jump right in.
What is eCommerce Optimization?
We can define eCommerce optimization as a strategy to improve your website’s revenue and profitability. The primary goal of eCommerce optimization is to improve your store’s conversion rate.
This includes making changes such as:
- Modifying your website’s design and layout
- Taking new product images
- Creating lucrative discounts and promotions
Each change or modification you make to your website should aim to offer your customers a better experience. By offering a better experience, customers are more likely to make a purchase.
The theory behind eCommerce optimization and why it works is that there’s always room for improvement. No matter how great your website is, you can test new ways to improve your website and boost your conversion rate.
Is eCommerce Optimization Important?
Ecommerce optimization is crucial in 2022 because of rising marketing costs and competition. Because of this, paid advertisements are less effective than before. Ecommerce optimization is a way to improve your store’s revenue without changing your advertisements.
By increasing your apparel store’s conversion rate, every user that visits your website has a higher chance of purchasing an item.
Let’s walk through an example to see why eCommerce optimization is so robust.
For example, let’s say your apparel store’s conversion rate is 2.5%. This means that for every 1,000 visitors who come to your website, 25 people will make a purchase.
Now, let’s say you optimized your eCommerce website and increased your conversion rate to 4.5%. This means that for every 1,000 visitors who come to your website, 45 people will now make a purchase.
In this example, you increased your conversion rate by 60% after optimizing your website. A 60% increase in your conversation rate also leads to a 60% increase in revenue.
12 Ways to Optimize Your eCommerce Apparel 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 apparel store.
1. Prioritize Your Customer Experience
A loyal customer base can make or break the success of your eCommerce apparel store. For this reason, you must prioritize your website’s customer experience from start to finish.
Here are a few ways you can optimize your website’s customer experience.
Improve Website Speed
The first step to creating a flawless user experience on your website is to improve your website’s speed. Slow websites cause visitors to leave immediately because 40% of visitors abandon a website that takes 3 seconds or more to load.
Apparel stores typically have lots of products and images. Unfortunately, this means that your store is vulnerable to slow loading times as the user needs to load each image on the page.
You can improve your apparel store’s speed by:
- Compressing and optimizing your images
- Removing unused plugins and applications
- Using a fast and responsive eCommerce theme
To learn more about improving your website’s speed, check out our guide: 13 Ways to Improve Your eCommerce Site Speed.
Offer Smooth and Easy Returns
Another way to improve your apparel store’s customer experience is by offering smooth and easy returns. Since you have an apparel store, customers may order something that doesn’t fit when it arrives.
For this reason, it’s essential 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 understand that they have the option of returning an item for free.
Here’s another example from PrettyLittleThing:
Each of PrettyLittleThing’s product pages contains a ‘Delivery‘ and ‘Returns‘ section under the product description. As you can see, PrettyLittleThing allows returns up to 28 days after the date of purchase.
We highly recommend offering a fair returns policy since exchanges and returns are so common in the apparel sector.
Offer Outstanding Customer Service
Your brand should also offer outstanding customer service in every interaction with your customers. Whether you conduct customer support yourself or have a team of customer support agents, it’s crucial to put your customers first.
Your customer support team should be helpful, friendly, and quick to answer all inquiries. If your current customer service representatives lack adequate skills, we recommend spending time training them.
This is a worthwhile investment because your customer support acts as one of the only paths of direct communication with your customers.
As such, your customers’ interactions with your customer service team heavily influence how they perceive your brand. A positive customer service experience can go a long way in terms of building loyal fans.
Offer Multiple Payment Methods
We recommend offering as many payment methods as you can provide. Many of the top apparel eCommerce stores also offer payment plans, including Klarna, Afterpay, and Zip.
Here’s an example from the apparel powerhouse, NastyGal:
This section is displayed directly on the bottom of NastyGal’s homepage. Because of this, their customers immediately understand what type of payment methods they can use.
2. Build and Showcase Social Proof
After you create a flawless customer experience, the next step is to build and showcase social proof.
But what is social proof?
Social proof is the psychological phenomenon where people believe and follow the actions of others. For example, if your friend told you about how amazing a new restaurant was, you’d be much more likely to try it yourself.
Social proof is important for eCommerce apparel stores because it helps your brand stand out in a highly competitive industry. With excellent social proof, you can immediately 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 apparel store.
Display Customer Testimonials and Media Mentions on Your Homepage
Customer testimonials and media mentions are outstanding ways to instantly build trust with your website’s visitors.
Here’s an example from CupShe:
As you can see, CupShe has a section displaying customer testimonials directly at the bottom of their homepage. Showcasing positive reviews from past customers can give new visitors the confidence needed to make a purchase.
Below the customer testimonials, CupShe displays media recognitions from Bustle, Oprah Daily, US Weekly, and Elle.
Media mentions are a powerful form of social proof because they show visitors that a reputable media outlet recognizes your brand. This instills trust in your brand and can improve the conversion rate for first-time visitors.
If you don’t have any media mentions, we recommend contacting a few relevant media outlets in your niche. First, you should ask them if they’re willing to write a piece about your brand. While some media outlets are happy to help, others may want payment.
It would be best if you got a few media mentions and then display them on your website, as you saw from CupShe.
Gather High-Quality Product Reviews
Product reviews are essential for apparel eCommerce stores. In fact, products with great reviews can drastically improve your website’s conversion rate.
If you want to learn how to get more product reviews, read part one and part two of our eCommerce product review masterclass. These guides will teach you the best strategies to harness more product reviews from your customers.
It’s also important to use an advanced review dashboard on your product pages.
Here’s an example from Gymshark:
As you can see, the product review comes with individual ratings for:
- Range of Movement
The review also shows the reviewer’s height and usual size. This in-depth product review is beneficial for store visitors who want to learn more about a product. Since ordering clothing online is risky in terms of sizing, the reviews help the visitor decide which size to get.
Use Review Giveaways to Get More Customer Reviews
An innovative way to receive more customer reviews is by offering a giveaway.
Here’s an example from apparel eCommerce giant Urban Outfitters:
As you can see, Urban Outfitters is offering a chance to win a $1,000 gift card if the customer writes a review and uploads a photo with the review.
This is a great strategy to drive more product reviews to your website.
3. Drive Urgency and Scarcity
You can significantly boost your eCommerce store’s revenue by driving urgency and scarcity.
This is achieved through limited-time sales and promotions.
Here’s an example from Fashion Nova:
As soon as you enter Fashion Nova’s website, you see a 40% off sale that ends at midnight. This promotion is shown on both the announcement banner and hero image. Furthermore, the homepage includes two interactive timers that continue counting down the seconds until the sale is over.
This strategy emphasizes the feeling of ‘the fear of missing out‘ or FOMO. The fear of missing out is a feeling people have of the anticipated regret of not seizing an opportunity in time.
Here’s another example of how to drive urgency and scarcity from SHEIN:
SHEIN is another massive online apparel store with millions of customers around the world. As you can see, their website includes a ‘Flash Sale‘ section showcasing temporarily discounted products.
A Flash Sale section is an outstanding strategy for two reasons. First, it encourages visitors to take advantage of the temporary discount and make a purchase quickly. Second, it entices visitors to check the website every day for an updated list of products that are on sale.
Since the Flash Sale resets every 24 hours, customers may come back to SHEIN’s store on a daily basis.
4. Create An Excellent Home Page
Your website’s home page is the first thing people see when they visit your website. However, it could also be the last thing they see if they quickly exit your website due to a poorly designed homepage.
There are a few core features a well-made homepage has, including:
- Announcement bar with an enticing promotion
- Easy-to-use navigation bar
- Single high-quality hero image (avoid using carousel images)
- Current promotions and offers
Here’s an example from CupShe:
As you can see, CupShe’s homepage is well-designed, simple, and uses a high-quality image to set the tone of their brand. Furthermore, the homepage displays several promotional offers, including free shipping, extra 10% off, and a payment plan option.
Directly under CupShe’s hero banner is a Flash Sale section:
It’s apparent now that these fast-fashion brands like Fashion Nova, CupShe, and SHEIN all have a Flash Sale section to drive urgency among their customers. These are a few of the top apparel eCommerce brands in the world, so the Flash Sale strategy must be effective.
Here’s another example of a well-made homepage from SHEIN:
Similar to CupShe’s homepage, SHEIN’s homepage is also clean, simple, and effective.
5. Offer a Student Discount
Depending on your store’s niche, you can offer a student discount. Tapping into the younger demographic of students can significantly impact your store’s bottom line.
This is because students see hundreds or thousands of different people every day. For this reason, your brand can spread quickly through word-of-mouth if a student is wearing a piece of unique and stylish clothing.
Gymshark offers a 10% storewide discount for students:
However, to avoid people from taking advantage of the student discount, Gymshark requires students to verify their student status with Student Beans.
6. Customer Loyalty Programs
Our 6th strategy to optimize your apparel eCommerce website is to create a customer loyalty program. A customer loyalty program rewards your most loyal customers with exclusive offers and perks.
CupShe offers a free customer loyalty program called the Sunchasers Club:
By joining the Sunchasers club, customers get access to:
- Free shipping
- Birthday rewards
- Early access to promotions
- Special perks
Members of the Sunchasers club earn points when they make a purchase.
They can then redeem the 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 offer a better shopping experience for your customers.
7. Use High-Quality Images
It’s imperative to use high-quality images across your entire website. Low-quality images suggest a low-quality brand and may cause visitors to leave your website.
For this reason, it’s worth it to invest in professional photo shoots with real models.
Here are a few examples of amazing images from Urban Outfitters:
These images are the category images for Urban Outfitter’s Men’s, Women’s, and Home sections. Each image perfectly encapsulates 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 solo image of the product itself.
The following images show a model wearing the product:
8. Increase Your 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 precisely what the name suggests, the average value of all the orders placed in your store.
For example, if your store has a total of 5,000 orders and $150,000 revenue, your store’s AOV is $30. By increasing your store’s AOV, you can extract more value from each customer that places an order.
Let’s say your store averages 50 orders per day and has an AOV of $30. This means your store’s daily revenue averages to be $1,500.
If you increase your AOV to $40, your store’s daily revenue will increase to $2,000. As such, you would effectively improve your store’s revenue by 25%.
You can increase your apparel store’s AOV through upsells and cross-sells:
Upselling and Cross-Selling
Upselling and cross-selling are when you encourage customers to purchase related or complementary items.
Here’s an example of cross-selling from Fashion Nova:
This section is located directly under the product description on each product page. Based on what product page you’re on, Fashion Nova suggests similar styles. If a visitor especially likes a particular style, they can view all the similar products and add them to their shopping cart.
The bottom of Fashion Nova’s product pages includes another section for upselling and cross-selling:
There’s also a third section for upselling and cross-selling:
As you can see, Fashion Nova heavily prioritizes cross-selling and upselling in an attempt to boost their AOV.
Fashion Nova even includes one last cross-selling section on the cart page:
Cart pages are the last opportunity you have to convince a customer to purchase more items before they checkout. 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 website is to attract sales, your checkout process needs to be smooth and frictionless. You shouldn’t only focus on your 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 page offers all the information a customer needs to make a speedy checkout.
The product page displays:
- A payment plan option with Zip or Afterpay
- How much the customer needs to spend to receive free shipping
- When the estimated delivery date is
It’s essential to show payment plan options on the product page because some customers rely on payment plans to purchase items online. For this reason, they may leave your website if they aren’t aware of a payment plan option.
Next, let’s look at Fashion Nova’s cart page:
As you can see, Fashion Nova’s cart page displays:
- How much more the customer needs to spend to receive free shipping
- Express payment options with PayPal, ShopPay, Amazon Pay, and Google Pay
Lastly, let’s look at Fashion Nova’s checkout page:
As you can see, the checkout page is simple and easy to use. Furthermore, FashionNova removed all external links to make it difficult for the user to exit the checkout page. Therefore, it’s essential to avoid including distracting links and content on your checkout page.
10. Create a Style Gallery
In today’s dominant social media world, you can create a style gallery of curated images from your customers.
Here’s an example from SHEIN:
As you can see, the style gallery consists of images of customers wearing SHEIN clothing. What’s great about this style gallery is that you can sort the images by Category, Occasion, Style, and Element.
If you sort the image gallery by Occasion, you can further sort the images by Summer Time, Music Festival, Travel Season, and much more.
Furthermore, once you click an image, a mini product page appears, and you can instantly add the product to your shopping cart.
11. Explain Model Dimensions in Description
As we mentioned earlier, eCommerce apparel stores struggle with returns and exchanges because of incorrect sizing. Unfortunately, if the customer orders the incorrect size, there’s nothing you can do to help them other than offering a return or exchange.
For this reason, it’s crucial for your customers to order the correct size every time.
A great way to ensure proper sizing is to take professional product images with a model. Then, explain the model’s physical dimensions in the product description section.
Here’s an example of outstanding product images Gymshark:
In the product description, we can see that the model is 6 foot 2 inches and is wearing size L:
Based on the picture and the model’s height, customers have a better understanding of what size to order.
12. Study The Industry Leaders
Our last strategy for optimizing your online apparel website is to study the industry leaders. The top apparel eCommerce stores in the world have massive teams dedicated to improving their websites and invest millions of dollars in website optimization each year.
Every implementation on their websites has been tested rigorously and has a lot of data to back it up. As a smaller eCommerce apparel company, you can study what they have on their websites and take inspiration to modify your own store.
We hope you enjoyed this brand new guide on how to optimize y our eCommerce apparel store in 2022.
Now we’d love to hear from you: Which strategy from today’s guide will you test out first?
Are there any strategies we forgot to mention in this article?
Either way, let us know by leaving a quick comment below. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about eCommerce or conversion rate optimization.