We've all done it, had an item of clothing or a pair of shoes lurking in our virtual basket for days, not sure if it's going to look right on. When it comes to online apparel - things can be tricky. Niggling questions remain in the head of the customer - will this look good on me, is it my style, what is the material like?

Ensuring your customer check out online goes further than smartphone optimisation and cyber security. Great conversion rates often begin with the product and it crucial that your customer is clear and confident on what you have to offer.

Here are some tips on getting great conversion:

From flat images to video viewing

Say goodbye to regular, 2-D images and say hello to ASOS Catwalk View! While this tool has been around for a while, since 2013 - it’s miles ahead of any other major clothes retailer on the market!

It allows you to make a much better judgement call on whether an item will work for your body shape, how it moves and what the material looks like. Crucially, it shows you the potential pros and cons of your purchase before it arrives - no smoke and mirrors here!

Jumping on the band wagon - Online clothes retailer PrettyLittleThing, have also recently installed a new, similar ‘Catwalk View’ feature on their website. However, not all of their product range has been optimised with the tool - nor is the resolution of the video image/product as high quality as that featured on ASOS.

But it’s certainly a feature that’s slowly certainly catching on and something we’re sure to see more and more of!

Customer interaction: #Hashtag and image gallery

Another feature that works well in the retail conversion game is customer interaction and a real-life application of products. This is exampled once again by ASOS, through their hashtag #AsSeenOnMe and the accompanying image gallery.

They’ve created an inclusive platform where real customers - not just models or celebrities, can share their purchases and tips on the different ways they’ve styled the garments. This entrenches the idea that these clothes work for ‘ordinary’ people, and helps to push through online sales.

This tool also allows customers to take and share style tips and gives customers visual ‘guidelines’ on what items to wear with what - encouraging consumers to buy additional items to complete a 'look' that they’ve see on the #AsSeenOnMe gallery. A great way to up-sell!

However, unlike Catwalk View, this tool isn’t unique to ASOS. Most online clothes retailers have caught onto the hashtag image gallery as a way to boost sales, using a range of digital platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to connect with consumers. New Look use #ThisisNewLook and River Island have #IMWEARINGRI - along with many other retailers!

Delivery deals and discounts

How a product will look for a customer isn't the only thing that hinders online conversion rates. The delivery of customer items can also be another stumbling block.

To combat expensive, off-putting delivery charges - many stores offer in-store ‘click and collect’. Retailers like New Look require a minimum spend of £20 for instore collection, whereas Topshop doesn't require a minimum.

While it varies slightly from store to store, ‘Click & Collect’ is a great way to enjoy the range that is present online but also avoids expensive delivery costs. As well as this, it means customers are able to pick up items at their own convenience - as most stores hold your parcels for up to 10 days!

For those retailers who don’t have physical stores - to compete with clothes retailers who do, online giants like Missguided and Boohoo tend to use heavily discounted deliveries within countdown clock time-frames as well as visual statistics of how many items have been ‘checked-out’ in the last hour, to encourage online sales and to push their online conversions.

However more recently, online retailers like Missguided have started branching out, partnering with Doddle, toYou at ASDA and Collect+ to offer a click and collect service. Instead of an email, you will receive an e-mail or SMS confirmation when your order is ready to collect.

As well as this, the first flagship Missguided store has opened in Westfield Stratford City shopping centre in east London, being the first of the online giants to branch out - so who said the high street was dead?

While other online stores like Boohoo.com don’t offer click and collect services, they do offer free returns with CollectPlus. You can drop off at any of their 6,000 local stores 7 days a week. These drop-off points are usually local convenience stores and are situated all over the county.

In today’s digital age, it’s important to know what your customers want and how they shop. While smartphone and tablet customisation, as well as safeguarding customer details are of huge importance - how you display and allow your customers to view your products, as well as delivery options, impact heavily on the rate of conversion on your site.


By Jennifer Gwinnutt, digital marketing assistant at iWeb

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