Branding vs conversion in online Fashion retail

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How can it be that all online shops look the same, while fashion is so diverse? How can you be unique without losing conversion? E-commerce creates dilemmas for an industry that has traditionally focused on creating distinction through appearance. The big question is, now more than ever before: how do I make a difference, driven by the strengths of my brand?

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  • Hello, I am Pieter Jongerius, in addition to the info in my bio, elsewhere on slideshare: I have a specialization in ecommerce and retail. With much pleasure, I have worked for International fashion brands such as Hunkemöller, M&S, Men at work and Claudia Sträter. These are the slides from a talk I gave at eFashion, june 2011. About eFashion eFashion the congress on online & mobile for the fashion industry. Everything about the online and mobile innovations and the interaction between Web and offline. Online branding vs. online sales, what is the interaction between web and offline, but also everything on SEO, increasing your conversion and finding the optimum solutions for your logistics organization. eFashion helps retail chains and fashion brands to take right steps now and in the future. National and international speakers, colleagues and online fashion experts share their strategic knowledge and experience. --------------------------- Over eFashion eFashion is hét congres over online & mobile voor de Fashion industrie. Emerce en Textilia lanceren in juni 2011 eFashion. Alles over de online en mobile innovaties en de interactie tussen web enoffline. Online branden versus online verkoop, hoe werkt de interactietussen web en offline, welke mogelijkheden bieden mobiele applicaties enonline gadgets, maar ook alles over SEO, het verhogen van uw conversieen het optimaal inrichten van uw logistieke organisatie. eFashion helpt grootwinkelbedrijven, ketens en merkende juiste stappen te zetten nu én in de toekomst. Nationale en internationale topsprekers, fashion-collega’s en onlineexperts delen hun strategische kennis en ervaringen.
  • So how do I make a difference? That’s the question these birds are trying to answer, and it’s the question every web shop has to answer. Every bird has two wings, two legs and a beak. Apparently some things are fixed.
  • How do we traditionally make a difference in fashion?
  • Traditionally we use our products, our people and our stores for creating a competitive edge. But as soon as we start communicating about these products, one visual language dominates…
  • And it’s a language that Coco Chanel practically invented in 1924
  • … which she still continues. Big image, very little clutter.
  • Ralph Lauren use it.
  • Jimmy Choo use it.
  • Dolce & Gabbana use it
  • in consequence. H&M has to do very little to associate itself with fashion.
  • Even Diesel, who tried something very different last year in their “Stupid” campaign…
  • ...are now back in order this season, conforming tot the convention. Is this me-too behavior? Or is this really the best way to convey emotion and attitude?
  • Even Net-a-porter knows that it has to create space as soon as it enters the physical world. Apparently we love the conventions of the offline world.
  • So it can be no surprise that this paradox emerges in fashion, of all places. But my message is: bite the bullet. Gaining space and visual simplicity is no longer defining the battle in the online environment.
  • … and yes, coming from offline, seeing this is kind of startling.
  • So is it branding vs. conversion? Or is it really being unique vs being conventional? And is eCommerce the big equalizer? It certainly seems that way, have a look:
  • 2009 Paul Smith Very clean, navigation on the right
  • 2011 Conventional navigation, header, footer Still clean though
  • 2009, Hugo Boss Big statements Navigation on the bottom
  • 2011, Hugo Boss Conventional navigation Brand box with call to action Special-boxes below. Clear use of patterns
  • 2009, Mexx Exploration flash banner on top Horizontal navigation
  • 2010? Banner has gone, horizontal navigation has stayed
  • 2011 Regular navigation, standard shop. However, very nice visual identity
  • 2009 A design we made for Hunkemöller. It didn’t pass our usability tests however.
  • 2009 A far more conventional format went live.
  • 2011 After the Hunkemöller rebrand, we also introduced a bright background, hoping to gain conversion.
  • 2009 Lands End created a marvelous inspirational shopping concept: The Island. It got great reviews!
  • 2009 Browsing was a true immersive experience.
  • 2011 However nowadays, you guessed it, it is a somewhat standard shop. And why is that?
  • And it’s true: sustainable conversion is the ultimate sign of customer satisfaction. But we have gotten stuck in conventional and rational shopping formats. While at the same time you want to gain a unique positioning.
  • And your customers want to derive part of their identity from you. They want to stand in line for you. We shouldn’t take this need too lightly.
  • If your only goal is to increase brand equity and awareness, the task is easy. Or at least straightforward. Wrangler for instance has created gorgeous collection presentation concepts!
  • But if your existence relies on conversion AND branding, you will have to make sure that these two can co-exist.
  • So, for my first of three attempts at a solution, I wonder, Why don’t we bring those two worlds together? And sadly, the industry doesnt have a good answer yet. Pattern-driven as we are, we kind-of got stuck half-way.
  • For instance Mexx that, like so many others, forces me to choose whether to shop or explore. Shouldnt these be the same?
  • It’s a very common practice to provide links to the shop, from the experience part of the site.
  • However, almost always you get thrown into a totally different environment, with no way back to the collection view. There is no integration. As a consequence, the experience as a whole fails.
  • The only ones that I have seen to really integrate this, are H&M.* And that at a very rudimentary way. And still not from their true fashion section, but a derived photographic section in their shop. * = do you know of any great examples? Let me know at @pieterj!
  • As a modest start, we have created a looks shopper for Claudia Sträter. It is not online yet the way we designed it, though.
  • So is this really a solution? Not for now. But we have to keep innovating to try to get it right.
  • So how can you be unique without losing conversion? A simple model comes to aid: Birkigt & Stadler (1986). Everything on the left is fixed. But keep in mind: these items bring positive branging! “ Conventions are your friend”, Steve Krug in 2005. We find our freedom on the right: in our own behavior, and that of our customers.
  • So what forms of added value does a retailer bring into the world?
  • So what forms of added value does a retailer bring into the world? First: commerce. The bases of all: which products for which price. But it also covers which channels you use. This is an area of many opportunities. What do you sell on facebook? What through mobile? Victorias secret sells gift cards on FB. A very social product.
  • Second: communication. Telling people about what you have to offer. Where do you speak about the products? What do you say? Think acquisition, share of wallet. Think: advertorials, affiliates, online campaigns, SEA.
  • A proper retailer gives advice. In fashion, that’s all about styling, a good fit, trends, et cetera. This is embedded in the genes of Net-a-porter, to name but one.
  • The relationship between a retailer and her customers is very valuable. Many retailers understand this and try to be as personal as possible in their communication. At Threadless, the relationship is taken a giant step further by allowing the community to design products.
  • Every brand has a community: a group of people that have feelings or a preference for that brand. Internactive media have many possibilities of bringing those people together, Facebook being but one.
  • Eventually, people derive part of their identity from you. You can even enable them to do so. More on that later.
  • These are just examples. The big question is how to approach this. This game is called touchpoint strategy. It gives multichannel, mobile, social and all other buzzwords a strategic framework. It makes sense of them from a customer journey perspective. Try to look at all touchpoints as stops in a chain of interaction: the customer journey. Time doesn’t permit to go into that right now. I will get into a way of making the most out of these touchpoints: increasing their impact. The new skill set in that is called: persuasive design.
  • Persuasive design is really the psychology of interaction. Have a look at these mechanisms to look at how persuasive design influences behavior through emotion and other psychology.
  • Lets have a look at two very different shops: Shoedazzle.com, a new and succesful retail brand by Kim Kardashian And shoes.com. A URL that goes back many years of selling shoes.
  • Shoes.com: a decent web shop.
  • Shoedazzle: something different. It has sensory appeal, wich leads to greater perceived usability, which in turn leads to increased conversion. But there’s more than meets the eye: copy gets it’s visitors in the right frame of mind to buy.
  • Shoes.com does use scarcity with limited time offers.
  • Otherwise, just a shop.
  • But if you look closely: “Customers like you” !? I am unique!
  • Self expression is at the heart of the Shoedazzle brand. Women can create their own mood board from a set of questions.
  • Of course they have a personal top five of products. But they use your curiosity to have you look at more.
  • They use authoroty: Heather Zwiegel, a US stylist assists you in your styling. But only as a reward: you have to Favebook-connect to unlock these tips.
  • A number of stylists is available for those who are still doubting. You can even request a personal style advice.
  • Shoedazzle also uses scarcity, but very explicitly. Curious how far you can take scarcity? Check booking.com
  • Stylepoints influence behavior. Look at the options in the lower part of the screen. There are more oppportunities to gain points in other places.
  • Offering unexpected delighters promotes a lovebrand almost like nothing else. Everybody loves an unexpected present.
  • Back to shoes.com: they have a good running shop with decent advice. Which fits their brand very well. You wouldnt likely see this at Shoedazzle.
  • There are also some very strong usability finds at shoes.com For instance, starting with a selection of size instead of model in their SALE section, to prevent empty results.
  • But the mechanisms Shoedazzle use have nothing to do with usabilty. They are all about motivation, and behavior. Usability is becoming a commodity very fast.
  • Shoedazzle understands this. It seems unstoppable. And persuasive design works. This is also the result of our own research together with TU Delft.
  • If you are wondering how to start using persuasive design, we find the Mental Notes cards by Stephen Anderson to be a very powerful tool.
  • We regularly use them in our brain storms and design sessions. Check his presentations elsewhere on slideshare for in-depth info.
  • An example from our own work, we have used Loss Aversion in the Hunkemöller checkout flow. We don’t ask first time customers to register. We don’t even ask for a password in the regular form. We DO ask whether visitors would like to save their data, after filling it all out. This not only improved conversion to profiled users, but also improved conversion of the entire checkout flow.
  • In summary…
  • Towards a conclusion:
  • Branding is… products, people, stores, advertising, videos, collection presentation, ugly but handy grids, ugly but converting buttons, speedy load times, cluttering but vital payment options, product photography, advice, community, fan building, SEO, co-creation, persuasion & psychology, free returns, usability, your market share and much more. Not all of these things are pretty. But they do contribute to a good brand experience.
  • Read this quote from Anna Wintour. So this is what we’re looking for: not only pretty, but also durable and usable. These birds are looking for the golden combination, just as we are. But one thing is sure: our customers love our shops already!
  • Branding vs conversion in online Fashion retail

    1. 1. BRANDING vs CONVERSION eFashion Amsterdam, june 2011 - Pieter Jongerius - Follow me on Twitter: @pieterj
    2. 2. Check out this clip on Vimeo (2min): http://bit.ly/gUvD7l
    3. 3. EMERCE #EFASHION Please take a look at the speaker notes, click the tab, below
    4. 4. making a difference in fashion?
    5. 5. EMERCE #EFASHION Please take a look at the speaker notes, click the tab, below
    6. 8. EMERCE #EFASHION
    7. 14. EMERCE #EFASHION
    8. 15. branding vs. conversion
    9. 17. branding vs. conversion unique conventional
    10. 31. conversion is king
    11. 33. branding is everything
    12. 34. branding ≠ vage flash sites
    13. 35. conversion is king & branding is everything
    14. 36. SOLUTION 1: COLLECTION = SHOP Branding vs. conversion EMERCE #EFASHION
    15. 43. solution 1: collection = shop ?
    16. 44. SOL. 2 & 3: BRAND BALANCE Branding vs. conversion EMERCE #EFASHION
    17. 45. BRAND BALANCE EMERCE #EFASHION appearance Birkigt&Stadler, 1986 payment logos returns info FAQ SEO solution 2 retail added value in the interactive world solution 3 persuasive design UI patterns grids productfotography brand box embossed buttons web-safe fonts the “fold” light backgrounds communication behavior brand values How do I make a differcence? EMERCE #EFASHION Please take a look at the speaker notes, click the tab, below
    18. 46. solution 2: added value
    19. 47. <ul><li>Commerce </li></ul>EMERCE #EFASHION BRAND-DRIVEN ADDED VALUE
    20. 48. <ul><li>Commerce </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul>EMERCE #EFASHION BRAND-DRIVEN ADDED VALUE
    21. 49. <ul><li>Commerce </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Advice </li></ul>EMERCE #EFASHION BRAND-DRIVEN ADDED VALUE
    22. 50. <ul><li>Commerce </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Advice </li></ul><ul><li>Relation </li></ul>EMERCE #EFASHION BRAND-DRIVEN ADDED VALUE
    23. 51. <ul><li>Commerce </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Advice </li></ul><ul><li>Relation </li></ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul>EMERCE #EFASHION BRAND-DRIVEN ADDED VALUE
    24. 52. <ul><li>Commerce </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Advice </li></ul><ul><li>Relation </li></ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul><ul><li>Identity </li></ul>EMERCE #EFASHION BRAND-DRIVEN ADDED VALUE
    25. 53. BRAND-DRIVEN ADDED VALUE <ul><li>Commerce </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Advice </li></ul><ul><li>Relation </li></ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul><ul><li>Identity </li></ul><ul><li>Touchpoint strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Multichannel </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile </li></ul><ul><li>Social media </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul>EMERCE #EFASHION persuasive design
    26. 54. solution 3: persuasive design
    27. 55. PSYCHOLOGY OF INTERACTION EMERCE #EFASHION
    28. 56. SHOEDAZZLE vs SHOES.COM Survival of the fittest EMERCE #EFASHION
    29. 57. EMERCE #EFASHION
    30. 58.  Sensory appeal  Status & autonomy
    31. 59. EMERCE #EFASHION  Scarcity
    32. 62.  Self- expression
    33. 63.  Curiosity
    34. 64.  Rewards
    35. 65. EMERCE #EFASHION  Authority
    36. 66. SCARCITY  Scarcity
    37. 67. EMERCE #EFASHION  Challenges & rewards
    38. 68.  Delighter
    39. 71. usability is a commodity
    40. 72. SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
    41. 73. MENTAL NOTES by STEPHEN ANDERSON EMERCE #EFASHION
    42. 74. MENTAL NOTES EMERCE #EFASHION
    43. 75. LOSS AVERSION EMERCE #EFASHION
    44. 76. collection = shop added value persuasive design
    45. 77. CONCLUSION Branding vs. conversion EMERCE #EFASHION
    46. 78. branding =
    47. 79. “ It's strong, pretty and wearable. And the stores will love it.” — Anna Wintour EMERCE #EFASHION
    48. 80. EMERCE #EFASHION all content copyright of their respective owners
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