Lauren Browne, Managing Director of Australian boutique fashion label Motto Fashion, has been running a successful online store since 2007. Here, she shares the importance of creativity in increasing sales during off-peak season and insights into managing an engaging online presence.
For a majority of online retailers, the post-Christmas period is bleak in terms of online sales, partly because customers are cautious about spending any more after the Christmas shopping frenzy. In such a scenario, it could be an uphill task to increase sales, though not impossible. In fact, there are some small and medium businesses that successfully engage customers and to boost sales during this period.
One such example is Motto Fashion, an Australian fashion brand with physical stores across Australia and a flagship e-commerce store. Being online-savvy fashion retailers, they have perfected the art of engaging customers through creative online contests, look-books and social media.
Lauren Browne, Managing Director of Motto Fashion, shares her overall online strategy and some ways in which online businesses can increase sales during the off-peak sales season.
What is the story behind taking Motto Fashion online?
We have been a boutique label since 1986 and saw an opportunity in 2007 when online retail was only just starting to become popular in the fashion world. Back then, most brands didn’t have an online store, the most popular shopping website was eBay. We saw an opportunity and a gap, so jumped on it.
In what ways have you used the website and social media channels to engage your customers?
We treat our online store like a flagship store – this is the most important “window” of our business and needs to be perfect at all times. We always keep our website content fresh and love creating a website personality to make it a little bit unexpected. We also listen to what our customers really love and make sure we have an online presence to keep them engaged. For example, we have the “Key Looks” component on our website that showcases hundreds of outfits for inspiration, which customers can click and buy. Our customers also love to see our staff wearing our clothing, so we implemented a “Shop Instagram” feature to allow them to copy our staff outfits!
What are some of the things you’ve learnt over the years about managing an e-commerce store and an engaging online presence?
We’ve learnt that it is very important to adapt to your customers’ needs. For example, we found out that our customers had concerns about credit card fraud (especially in the early days) so it was really important we gave them easy-to-read information to give them confidence when entering their credit card details. Our online staff spend most of their time tending to customers’ needs via live chat, emails and phone orders. We also spend a lot of time on social media – replying to messages and comments, posting frequently and creating new content to engage customers.
How can e-commerce retailers boost their sales during the off-peak season?
If you can’t compete with the mainstream online retailers in price, compete in ways that let you show your brand’s personality so you stand out from the crowd. Be creative and do something small weekly to keep customers interested.
Here are some ways to get started.
Surprise vouchers. People love surprises and there’s no better way to surprise your customers than with a surprise voucher. For instance, we offered a surprise $200 voucher to three random customers who purchased from our site over a weekend.
Free shipping offer. Shipping is one of the most important decision makers in online sales. If you can afford it, offer free shipping during low-sale periods to lift your sales instantly.
Email marketing. Cater to your customers’ needs based on their activity and season through a targeted email marketing campaign. For example, you can segment your customers on the basis of their age and send emails relevant specifically to them.
Exclusive sale. Have exclusive items for sale, unavailable at any other time. For example, you can invite customers to partake in an exclusive sale of designer wear that is only available in the month of January/February (traditionally off-peak periods).
Tutorials. A great way to increase sales is by sharing how-to videos on your website and social media pages. You can start by curating video tutorials such as “How to style your outfit for a casino night”.
Use your database. It is always easier to sell to your existing customers as compared to acquiring new customers. So, select the products your customers already love and offer competitive prices on them as part of an upsell strategy.