Having latest-trend clothing pieces in the Shop or Products section on your website is just not going to result in a sales increase. Even the timeless pieces like a plain, white shirt or LBD can’t generate revenue. Why? Because customers don’t buy products. They buy a brand and an image your fashion online shop portrays on the market.
Does this mean that you wasted your time creating high-quality polka dots and navy-inspired T-shirts for your spring/summer collection 2019? Probably not. But, besides offering never-before-seen clothing pieces, you have to remember that a fashion online shop has to work hard to gain and preserve the trust and loyalty of its customers.
So, how can you gain customers’ trust?
Well, one of the factors that seems to count the most is the shopping experience, and a feeling users get when they are buying your product online. As Forbes suggested, 70% of American consumers expect a certain level of personalization from an online business. Additionally, 90% of consumers talk about poor customer service experiences with other people. These numbers show just how shopping experience and organized customer support can turn a first-time shopper into a loyal consumer.
That all being said, you can agree that flawlessly managed customer support should be your priority.
But, there is only one question left to answer, and that is how should you take care of the potential buyers and customers of your fashion online shop? Luckily for you, we have come up with a list of tips that will help you gain more buyers and build trust:
Tip 1: Choose the right channels for customer support
Having a small fashion online shop is a challenge you need to face bravely. The truth is, you probably don’t have a full customer support team that can provide service 24/7. This is why you need to improvise to find the best communication channel that works the best for your customers and aligns with your resources.
The two channels we recommend you use for communicating with your customers are email and social media platforms.
Email is, out of all the options (chatbox, telephone support, etc.), the most convenient one and a great starting point for a small e-commerce business. Providing an email address customers can reach out to means that you don’t have to provide 24/7 support. You can even state on your website (on the Contact page or in the footer) whether or not the support is available on weekends. If you decide to take weekends off, remember that during the workweek you need to reply to emails almost immediately, as soon as the customer sends a message if you want to be perceived as a trustworthy and professional brand.
Providing email customer support for your fashion online shop is an excellent practice, but, in this day and age, it’s not enough. That is why we would recommend you pay attention to social media and even hire customer support personnel that will take care of all the messages, comments and reviews on multiple social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter…).
Why social media platforms, you may ask? Well, did you know that 80% of consumers use social platforms to engage with brands? Oh, yes! Social media can help you build a marketing presence because you get a chance to connect with customers on a more personal level. Also, the reason why social media channels are so attractive as communication channels is the fact that every interaction you make with a customer is visible to ANYONE. Every customer or potential buyer can see what type of relationship you are building with the consumers and how you deal with unpleasant situations.
Bonus tip: If you decide to use social media platforms as customer support channels, be sure to answer all the queries, positive and negative reviews. Also, one of the biggest mistakes brands make is not responding to positive reviews.
Tip 2 (the most basic customer support tip): Choose the right tone and voice when talking to your customers
When customers email or message you, it means that they have a problem for which they believe only YOU can solve. That is why they need someone who is committed to finding a solution. Someone willing to collaborate and communicate openly.
When talking with your customers, be sure to pay attention to the tone and voice you are using. The tone must be well adjusted to the situation a customer is in and to the conversational needs. The voice (your style) of your communication has to be consistent and go hand in hand with your brand.
When writing an email or a message to a customer, you need to pay attention to the voice you use, how you are styling the message and the writing itself.
When it comes to the voice, remember that being polite, kind and respectful can improve customers’ shopping experience and be the reason they decide to shop again. This is why we would advise you to stay away from using imperatives or any sentences customers can misinterpret. Also, since they are trying to solve a problem with YOUR help, use “we” instead of “you”. Don’t use negative phrases like “it won’t be available until…” or “you won’t have access to…”. Instead, focus on the positive and the timeframe in which the problem is going to be solved.
A tip to remember: Once customers reach out to you, their problems become yours.
When it comes to styling, be sure to use bullet points if the problem or the issue is a complex one and needs to be broken down into steps.
When writing, make sure that all sentences are clear and grammatically correct.
As we have mentioned before, the tone adjusts to the conversation you are having with the customer. When changing the tone, please remember that the voice you are using should remain the same.
Not sure what we mean?
Well, let’s say a 16-year-old girl had a shipping issue and decided to reach out to you on social media. You are probably not going to use the same tone as you would if a 40-year-old woman mentioned the same problem. Instead, you are going to keep your voice the same, by being polite and helpful, but are going to adjust the tone and the writing, by not being so formal and even add some emoji, just so you can connect with the girl on a personal level. It’s all about personalization.
How to deal with the negative feedback
No matter if you opened a fashion online shop a week or a year ago, you are going to face complaints. The reasons are different ─ from a misunderstanding regarding a particular clothing piece to shipping delay ─ numerous factors can lead to customer dissatisfaction.
Once you face the negative feedback try to stay calm and get the most out of the situation. Follow these steps and if you want to turn a hater into a loyal customer:
- First, apologize. Show that you are empathizing with the customer. By doing so, you will also calm down the customer. If the customer has reached out to you in the comments, apologize and then continue the conversation in a private message.
- Second, read and identify the problem once again. If the issue is a bit more complicated, come up with an action plan and the steps you need to take to solve it.
- Third, keep the customer informed and offer a solution. Be sure to provide information about how long it will take you to solve the issue.
- Fourth, and the last step, is to check how the customers feel once the problem is resolved. The goal is to discover whether or not the customer is satisfied, that is, whether or not you gained a new fan of your brand.
By doing these four steps, you will make sure that the customer, in the end, ends up being happy which will increase the chance of buying again and becoming loyal to the brand.
Tip 3: Write a “Thank you” note
What a better way to say how appreciative you are of your customers than through a “thank you” note? By sending this note, you are acknowledging showing how thankful you are for them.
When it comes to these notes, you can send them via email or include them in the product packaging. If you want to go the extra mile, you can hand-write the note ─ this move will show the dedication and respect you have for a customer.
Tip 4: Be creative with the packaging
As we have mentioned before, customers love personalization. They like to think that an e-commerce brand, such as fashion online shop, made an effort to understand their desires and needs.
This is why we would encourage you to add a bit of personalization to your product packaging. Depending on your brand, you can add an elegant ribbon, a personalized message, a gift card or an accessory.
Tip 5: Add special offerings for loyal customers
Returning customers are the ones that deserve an award. They are the MVPs that need some special care and attention. Here are some ways in which you can award customers:
- The oldest trick in the book is to use newsletter subscription to offer a discount code, latest product information and special offers to loyal customers. Additionally, you can provide similar benefits when visitors make their accounts and register as users on your fashion online shop.
- The second trick is to offer a post-purchase discount. Thank your buyers for trusting you by getting them xx % off their next purchase.
- The third example of rewarding customers is offering users (buyers that have registered accounts) a reward after they invite their friends and family to become users, as well.
- The fourth, and the ultimate way, you can reward customers is by allowing them to earn points based on the purchases they make. Once they have enough points, they can use them to buy a complementary product, a product that has the same amount of points they collected.
Tip 7: Make the purchase process more interesting
It goes without saying that purchasing a product from a fashion online shop should be a delightful, intuitive process. Not only should the shopping cart icon follow visitors wherever they go on a website, but the process of adding a product to the cart cannot be a dull activity.
What do we mean exactly?
As an e-commerce website owner, your goal is to help the potential buyer to pick the right clothing piece. To do so, you can:
- provide an insight into the inventory, marking the out-of-stock pieces and the ones that are on sale,
- give the detailed shipping information (if you are not sure what why this step is essential, check out our latest post on tricks you can learn from the best online shopping sites)
- put up a clearly visible discount code which is easy to type and remember,
- provide sizing details,
- share information about what the model in the picture is wearing (which size, color, etc.),
- include measurements of the model in the product images.
Using all these steps, you will make sure that the potential buyers got what they paid for, which will increase their satisfaction and the chances of repurchasing your products.
Are your buyers satisfied with your customer support service?
Have you checked the reviews lately? What are your users’ complaints? Is there more positive feedback than negative?
Whatever the case, our advice is to never stop thinking about improving your customer support. The most effortless changes you can make are the ones we mentioned in this post.
And remember, as Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart once said: “There is only one boss. The customer.”