Buying clothes online is hard. Just because you wear a size 9, doesn’t mean you’ll look good in every size 9 dress. And more than once, I’ve bought a piece of clothing that looks luxurious online, only to find that it looks and feels cheap in person. Unlike one-size-fits-all DVDs and books, people want to touch clothes and try before they buy because we’re emotionally attached to what we wear. Don’t believe it? Ask a woman which outfit in her closet makes her feel good, which one is for bad days and which one is for those “feeling fat” days. (Men, do you do this, too?)
In order to get around these issues, online apparel retailers are trying some new tricks. My favorite is Rent the Runways new real models method. The site rents designer dresses to women for special occasions. Customers upload photos of themselves wearing the outfit, then check off boxes relating to age, weight, height and bust size.
Now, when a customer comes on to the site to shop, they can sort through their options based on their own criteria and come up with a collection modeled by real women. The photo you see here is a person Rent the Runway says is built like me (or as close as you can get on a site that only deals in designer sizes). As a potential consumer, I love seeing a real, curvy woman wearing the outfit instead of a young, willowy model. Makes me feel much more confident in my choice. And you go, girl. Doesn’t she look radiant in that $395 Badgley Mischka cocktail dress?
Watch Me Walk
Another tool for boosting customer confidence is video. eMarketer has put together some numbers that show customer interest and higher conversions regarding video.
A survey by Google and Compete states that 25% of online apparel shoppers who watched videos for research shopped more often than non-video shoppers. 28% of video researchers spent more than $500 within six months, compared to only 2% of non-video watchers.
Customer reviews were the most commonly watched type of video followed by email marketing videos.
In another survey, 52% of consumers said videos made them feel more confident about their purchase. More than 40% said they were willing to stay on a site longer to watch videos and that videos made them feel more connected to the brand.
The beauty of all of this is that you don’t have to put up professionally produced videos in order to boost sales. Customers enjoy consumer-generated videos such as the “fashion haul” videos you see on YouTube and personal testimonials.
And let’s be honest, a potential customer is more likely to trust another shopper than a message from the brand itself.
If you sell clothing and accessories online, the best thing you can do is hire a video blogger in each of the age-brackets that you cover. You may even find a few that will work in exchange for the merchandise they model. That’s a win for everyone.