We spoke to Sandra Halliday, fashion and retail analyst, and editor of Trendwalk.net, who gave us her top tips on matching the high street giants stride for stride.
1. Think mobileIt’s no secret that fashion hungry consumers are browsing for clothes and making payments online. Barclaycard data from February shows that online clothing sales grew by 12.8% year-on-year. In contrast, in-store clothing sales for the same period fell by 2.1%.
But where the big boys lead is in the focus they place on mobile payment solutions. Looking smart on smartphones is key.
“Because over half of online sales are now made from mobile devices1, it’s all about apps,” says Sandra. “The other solution is having a mobile optimised website, but whatever you do you have to keep thinking of smartphones – that’s what people will be using to shop with .”
Online retail sales in the UK
2. Spot trends like a proBig companies have huge budgets to invest in trend forecasting, but there’s a lot of information out there that smaller companies can get their hands on for free.
“There are many places online where you can see the catwalk trends almost immediately after the shows,” says Sandra. “And check out street style as well – this is what the influencers are wearing and these trends can quickly hit the high street.”
Bringing some real-time knowledge into the mix doesn’t hurt either.
“You can use Google Trends to find out what’s trending, what people are searching for,” says Sandra. “You can get some of the same kind of data that the big companies are paying for.”
3. Keep building the buzzFast fashion is all about having new product in store whenever a customer visits. This creates a buzz around the brand, which big companies can maintain with big marketing budgets.
But there’s no reason why smaller companies can’t do the same.
“A local store will be having regular deliveries as well and can use social media to build a story around the new products,” says Sandra. “That way, you can generate a real buzz around what you’re doing and can get people going to the store because it’s got something that taps into a trend everyone is talking about.”
4. Make tech work for youMajor fashion retailers use technology to maximise their sales. Smaller companies can do the same, says Sandra.
“You should be using technology to interest customers in new stuff that’s coming in, or to show them additional items that work well with what they’re buying,” she says.
You can also use alternative payment systems to improve the experience for the customer.
Pop-ups or other temporary locations are another great way to take your business further.
“Pop-ups don’t have to be like a major retailer would do them – it could just be a stall – but the important thing is payment technology is so mobile now,” says Sandra. “You’re not hamstrung by only being able to take cash.”
5. Make people feel goodMajor retailers make their customers feel safe when shopping online . Much of this can be attributed to their size and position in the market, but simply making customers feel good can go a long way to making them feel secure as well.
“The whole process of selling in an omnichannel world is all about trust,” says Sandra. “That often comes from feeling good about a retailer because you’ve had a good experience with them.”
And while larger retailers can benefit from the power of their brand, smaller retailers can benefit by the power of someone else’s.
“This is where having a branded payment page can help,” says Jo Simpson, Barclaycard’s Strategic New Business Manager. “It can really help to make consumers feel secure when making a transaction.”
To find out how your business could benefit from better payment technology, call us today on 0800 046 6814 *.
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Please note that the views expressed in this article are personal opinions. Barclaycard cannot accept any responsibility or liability for reliance by any person on this article or any of the information set out in it.