Successful fashion ecommerce uses audience targeting, high-quality product pages, and virtual try-ons to stand out in a crowded space and maximize ROI. Prepare to hit the market in style with tips from an industry-leading marketing agency.

Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about fashion ecommerce, including:

  1. What is fashion ecommerce?
  2. How to level up your fashion ecommerce strategy
  3. Who does the most online shopping?
  4. Why your fashion brand needs an ecommerce strategy

Shoppers flock to online stores to find the latest trends. The global fashion ecommerce industry hit a whopping $820 billion valuation in 2023 — a figure Statista predicts will surpass $1 trillion by 2027.

With thousands of online retailers crowding the fashion market, it takes more than great style to make your brand shine. Your secret sauce? A savvy fashion ecommerce strategy and knowing what drives your online shoppers.

HawkSEM Search Engine Marketing Manager Elizabeth Samardge shares the 411 on fashion ecommerce, the benefits of a solid strategy, and expert tips to enhance your approach.

What is fashion ecommerce?

Fashion ecommerce is the buying and selling of fashion-related products and services (like clothing, shoes, bags, accessories, virtual styling, and more) online. It encompasses everything from product browsing and selection to checkout and shipping, all via digital platforms.

Various ecommerce channels include:

  • Social media platforms like TikTok Shop or Instagram Shopping
  • Online retailers like Asos or Zalando
  • Virtual marketplaces like Amazon Fashion or Etsy
  • Mobile apps like Poshmark or Vinted
  • Storefront websites like Nike or Nordstrom’s online shop

What is a fashion ecommerce strategy?

A fashion ecommerce strategy is a targeted marketing plan that uses audience demographics and insights to build, create, and launch marketing campaigns that drive more sales.

You can do this with:

Ultimately, you want to attract, engage, and sell your offerings in your online store.

Why the emphasis on online transactions? Because over 20% of fashion revenue comes from online sales.

So much so that physical storefronts are in decline, with top fashion brands (like J.Crew and Neiman Marcus) filing for bankruptcy or pivoting to sell exclusively online (like women’s apparel retailer Dressbarn).

Why is that? It could be a byproduct of post-pandemic life or just a matter of convenience and privacy (we’ll come back to this). One thing’s for sure, though: this signals a massive shift in how consumers shop for fashion.

How to level up your fashion ecommerce strategy

We’ll be the first to admit that any marketing plan is better than none at all. But while a good strategy gets you going, refining it can help accelerate your growth.

If you’re ready to move beyond the trial-and-error phase, consider these practices to upgrade your approach:

1. Identify your fashion sub-niche

We know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t fashion already a niche?”

Yes, but within the broader fashion market category, there are many different sub-niches like:

  • Luxury apparel brands
  • Streetwear
  • Secondhand fashion
  • Plus-size fashion
  • Athleisure
  • Footwear

…and countless more.

But isn’t it smarter to cast a wider net? Samardge says otherwise:

“In my experience, the best approach to an industry so saturated is to suss out your niche,” she says. “Even brands that sell basic broad appeal attire will struggle with a broad approach simply due to the amount of competition in the fashion industry.”

When you niche down, you can better target specific customer groups. That’s because you can zero in on a particular style, demographic, or set of values that differentiate your brand within the broader fashion ecommerce market.

So, if you specialize in eco-friendly apparel, you can target environmentally conscious consumers who don’t buy fast fashion.

However, if you sell maternity wear, your audience would shift to expectant mothers interested in comfort, practicality, and style during pregnancy.

2. Clearly define your goals

How can you sharpen your fashion ecommerce strategy if you don’t know what you’re working towards?

Do you want to boost sales revenue by 20% over the next quarter? Or perhaps you want to expand your fashion brand’s audience by 30% within six months?

Well-defined key performance indicators (KPIs) guide your efforts and ensure every business decision aligns with your objectives. These goals also allow for measurable progress as you track the success of your strategies and make informed adjustments as you go.

Which KPIs apply to fashion ecommerce? Samardge says they aren’t all that different from any other ecommerce business.

According to her, the top KPIs are:

How do we stay on top of these metrics so they perform at their best? When you partner with HawkSEM, you gain access to ConversionIQ, our proprietary marketing tech.

This tool consolidates data from all your marketing channels into a single dashboard. Then, it goes a step further, delivering actionable insights and optimization tactics to push your strategy to the peak.

Nailing those KPIs just got a whole lot easier.

3. Know your audience

Just like you need clear goals, you also need to understand who you’re marketing to.

The challenge? Your target market could be almost anyone worldwide. With such diversity, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it. Instead, you need to segment your ideal audience by demographics and preferences.

Also, consider that you might not be targeting exclusively U.S. audiences. Many fashion brands are global (think Ralph Lauren, Zara, etc.). This calls for more nuanced marketing, according to Samardge.

In her experience, the challenges even transcend audience segments. It also involves logistical intricacies in Google Ads and scaling outside familiar locations.

The bottom line: when you truly understand different customer segments — their needs, desires, and shopping behaviors — you can craft a fashion ecommerce strategy that resonates with each group, ultimately leading to greater engagement and higher sales.

Next? Get them to open their wallets by tailoring their experience.

4. Personalize the customer experience

How do you sway the purchasing decisions of 86% of retail shoppers? Personalization, personalization, and more personalization.
When you cater to a customer’s individual tastes, it makes them feel understood and valued.

Take apparel retailer StitchFix, one of the first brands to offer personalized style recommendations. They curate entire wardrobes for their customers based on each person’s preferences, size, and feedback. But they don’t just rely on data analysis.

Human stylists comb through those details and provide expert recommendations, creating a highly customized shopping experience from start to finish.

Long story short: When you personalize the customer journey, you transform casual browsers into ride-or-die fans, driving short-term sales and long-term brand loyalty.

5. Optimize your ecommerce website

A well-optimized ecommerce site delivers a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience for your customers. It also encourages them to stick around longer and explore more. But it’s not just about aesthetics; your website should prioritize the following elements:

  • UX: How do visitors feel when they interact with your site? Is it intuitive? Easy to navigate? Well-designed? Slow loading?
  • Consistent branding: The uniformity in design, tone, and messaging across all your platforms and content to reinforce brand identity.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Practices to help your site rank higher in search engine results (like backlinks, metadata, alt text, and keywords).
  • Mobile optimization: Your website’s functionality and how it translates on mobile devices (61% of fashion ecommerce buys now come from cell phones).
  • Streamlined checkout process: Simplified steps and reduced time for customers to complete a purchase on your site.

All of these contribute to better customer acquisition and conversion rate optimization (CRO).

For example, our client Swimsuits Direct saw impressive results when we applied similar strategies, like a near 110% bump in their year-over-year (YoY) revenue.

And if you’re torn between two website elements, like headlines or photos? No biggie!— You can A/B test them to see which resonates with your audience best.

6. Diversify your payment options

Ecommerce stores offer customers a plethora of payment options. This is especially important to reduce cart abandonment, boost sales, and engage such a global audience base.

Preferred payment methods vary across different regions and customer types. For example, Gen Z and Millennials prefer alternative payment methods (like in-app purchasing, digital wallets, or mobile payments), while older generations still opt for credit and debit cards.

Another popular payment model is Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) creditors, like Affirm and Afterpay. BNPL lets online shoppers pay for purchases in installments over time.

With an estimated 93 million people expected to choose this type of payment, flexible payment options like BNPL are a must to stay competitive.

7. Ignite the power of social media

In today’s hyper-digital landscape, social media is about so much more than casual scrolling and memes. Samardge sees ecommerce social selling as vital and cost-effective for customer acquisition and brand awareness in fashion ecommerce.

When it comes to fashion, visuals are everything. This makes social media platforms the perfect place to not just tell, but show the vibrant, aesthetic side of your brand’s story.

“I foresee social media continuing to grow in the sector and becoming even more of a key source of customer acquisition and brand awareness,” she says. “It’s fashion, it’s visual, and social platforms excel in telling that story.”

Samardge’s favorite way to do that? Short-form video content and campaigns for visibility. For example, Khloe Kardashian’s denim brand, Good American, leverages short-form videos to tell its story of inclusivity and diversity in sizing.

Other content ideas include:

  • User-generated content (e.g., start a hashtag and encourage followers to post photos wearing your fashion products)
  • Virtual product demos (e.g., take a page out of Balenciaga’s book and create a digital fashion show for your followers)
  • Live online sales (e.g., host live shopping events where followers can purchase your fashion line in real time)
  • Influencer collabs (e.g., partner with influencers in your niche to create content around your products)
  • Product sneak-peeks (e.g., share previews and build suspense of upcoming product launches)
  • BTS footage (e.g., let followers take a peek into what happens behind the scenes of designs, photoshoots, or special events)
  • In-store tours (for brick and mortars) (e.g., offer followers from all over the world a digital tour of your physical storefronts)
  • Tips and tutorials (e.g., share styling tips and how-to guides that feature products from your collection)
  • Seasonal content (e.g., align your content with seasons and holidays)
  • Interactive posts (e.g., engage your audience with polls, quizzes, or Q&A sessions)

Keep branding cohesive

But remember, consistency across your omnichannel efforts is crucial. Samardge reflects on her recent projects:

“What I find really important…is how cohesive the brand messaging feels across marketing channels,” she says.

However, she adds that not all clients grasp the importance of consistency with brand messaging. That’s why it’s so vital to gel your message into a marketable strategy (we can help you with that).

8. Boost your approach with PPC

Pay-per-click ads (PPC) help you target people actively searching for products related to your brand. This is done through keyword research, compelling ad copy, remarketing, competitive analysis, and other tactics.

So, how do you know which keywords to bid on? You might take a broad approach and target popular short-tail keywords. But Samardge says that’s a sure way to hit too much competition and fall short in rankings. Instead, she recommends you:

“Focus the search strategy on branded and niche-targeted keywords with more emphasis on visual ad formats like shopping and Performance Max (PMax),” she explains.

PMax is a Google campaign type that lets you break down ad campaigns based on meaningful factors like margins, price points, seasonality, or a combination of these factors. Samardge says PMax campaigns are major revenue generators.

PPC can significantly shake up your sales and revenue (in a good way). Our clients consistently see an average 4.5x return on their investment, often more.

Take winter apparel retailer 686, who partnered with HawkSEM to revamp their ecommerce strategy with PPC and other tactics. The results? A staggering 303% ROAS and a surge of over 500% in YoY revenue.

9. Keep up with evolving ecommerce market trends

The ecommerce fashion industry is as dynamic as it is saturated. Technologies, consumer behaviors, and ecommerce trends shift all the time, which is exciting but challenging.

If you fall behind on the latest trends, you could lose your competitive edge and relevance, or worse: see faltering loyalty from your customers.

To stay in the loop:

  • Conduct market research regularly to catch market shifts as they happen and avoid falling behind on trends
  • Stay on top of your data to stay abreast of consumer behaviors and potential optimization opportunities
  • Engage with customers on social media to gather direct insights and foster trust in your brand
  • Comb through reviews and testimonials to improve and tailor your offerings based on customer experiences
  • Subscribe to publications in your niche to keep an ear to the ground on industry happenings and thought leaders
  • Keep tabs on your competitors to benchmark your performance and spot market gaps to capitalize on

Take global apparel retailer Zara. The brand implemented advanced stock management and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tech to streamline operations and order processing. This enabled Zara to expand its ecommerce presence to 41 countries and increase online sales.

Other innovative trends emerging in the fashion sector include augmented reality try-ons, artificial intelligence (AI) stylists, and interactive lookbooks.

Speaking of lookbooks…

10. Craft high-quality product pages

The product page is the first point of detailed interaction between your offerings and potential customers. In other words, the stakes are pretty high.

But what constitutes a high-caliber product page? You’ll want it to check these boxes:

High-definition images and videos of each product from different angles

Detailed and accurate product descriptions that touch on size, material, care, and other relevant features

Clear, straightforward pricing and availability information

Sizing charts or fitting guides, if applicable

Customer reviews and ratings to build trust

A clear and compelling call to action, like “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now”

Mobile optimization so product pages look and function well on different devices

Details about shipping and your return/exchange policies

Related product recommendations (cross-selling)

Together, these components create a product page that draws customers in and drives up sales.

Craft high-quality product pages

(Image: Unsplash)

Who does the most online shopping?

The fashion ecommerce industry boasts a compound annual growth rate (AGR) of over 10%. So, who’s driving this impressive growth?

When it comes to clothing and shoes alone, here’s who drops the most coin:

  • Gen Z (16-27 years old): 65% of online shoppers
  • Millennials (28-43 years old): 59% of online shoppers
  • Gen X (44 – 59 years old): 43% of online shoppers
  • Baby Boomers: (60+ years old) 35% of online shoppers

As for how often they shop, research shows it varies:

  • 77% of online shoppers buy multiple times per month
  • 38% shop online weekly
  • 7% hit the “checkout” button a few times a day

Their reasons for shopping include:

    • Convenience: 80%
    • Price: 70%
    • Choice: 59%
    • Delivery options: 53%
    • Reviews: 24%

When you understand these preferences, you can fine-tune your targeting, offerings, and content to align with your ideal audience’s shopping habits.

…but that’s not the only perk.

Why your fashion brand needs an ecommerce strategy

If there’s anything we’ve established so far, it’s this: for fashion brands today, an online presence isn’t just an option; it’s a necessity.

Here are 10 reasons why:

Lets you tap into an international market

Fashion ecommerce breaks geographical barriers, which opens your brand to a global market. This expands your customer base far beyond local shoppers. More shoppers equals more sales and revenue potential.

Gives you access to valuable customer data

Online platforms offer data that helps you shape targeted marketing strategies and personalize shopping experiences, which are more likely to convert and retain customers.

It’s cost-effective

Compared to traditional advertising, digital marketing tools are a more budget-friendly way to promote your brand. They provide a higher return on investment with more strategic and efficient spending.

According to Forbes, you only need about $2,000-$5,000 to get your online storefront off the ground.

However, it’s important to remember that your initial investment depends greatly on factors like scale, platforms, marketing, inventory costs, and supply chain logistics. Not to mention website maintenance, video and photography, storage, shipping, and countless other elements that factor into the final cost.

Creates a 24/7 shopping experience

Fashion ecommerce means your store is always open for business. Customers can shop at their convenience, whether late at night or early in the morning, which boosts customer satisfaction and sales.

It’s flexible and scalable

The digital nature of ecommerce makes you agile to respond to market trends and customer preferences quickly. It also scales easily, supporting your business’s growth without the need for physical expansion.

Amplifies customer engagement

Online channels let your customers interact with your brand directly and continuously. This engagement fosters brand loyalty and advocacy, turning customers into brand ambassadors.

Keeps you competitive and top-of-mind

As the fashion industry fluctuates, your online presence is essential to remain competitive and relevant. It keeps your brand visible and accessible in a crowded marketplace.

Streamlines business operations

Ecommerce brings efficiency to your business operations. It streamlines processes like inventory management, order processing, and logistics, which reduces operational costs, saves you time, and enhances customer service.

Makes your brand more eco-friendly

Since online retail reduces the reliance on physical stores, it can lower your brand’s carbon footprint, which helps your brand align with the growing consumer preference for sustainability.

Allows for innovative business models

The flexibility of ecommerce paves the way for creative business models like dropshipping, subscription services, and digital showrooms, offering fresh ways to engage audiences and deliver value.

The takeaway

As we’ve learned, fashion retailers face tough competition every day. And online shoppers? Their preferences are ever-changing. To stay ahead, you need a fashion ecommerce strategy that cuts through the noise and keeps your brand in your audiences’ purview.

But let’s be honest, curating clothing collections and building an Anna Wintour-approved fashion house is no stroll down the runway. It demands a deep understanding of fashion ecommerce dynamics, consumer behavior, and digital marketing savvy.

As a top-3% digital marketing agency, HawkSEM doesn’t just execute strategies — we elevate them. Our team of experts blends award-winning tactics with data-driven insights to boost ecommerce sales and catalyze epic growth.

Ready for a strategy as chic as your offerings? Partner with the most iconic marketers in the game.

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation