Conversion Rate Optimization CRO for Fashion & Luxury

CRO Specialist – Antonio Moschetta

How to do CRO on a fashion e-commerce?

What is CRO?

In the competitive world of fashion e-commerce, CRO, or Conversion Rate Optimization, is a fundamental element for success.

But what exactly is CRO in the context of fashion e-commerce? CRO is not just a trendy term but rather an approach to improving the performance of your website, increasing user interaction, and, most importantly, boosting the conversion rate.

Conversion Rate Optimization comprises strategic activities aimed at refining your website to maximize the chances of users taking a desired action, be it a purchase, newsletter subscription, or any other conversion goal specific to your business. This detailed process goes beyond attracting traffic to your site; it’s about transforming visitors into loyal customers.

  1. The starting point in CRO is analyzing user behavior, and engagement metrics form the basis on which to build every optimization strategy. This data-driven approach allows for informed decision-making and prioritizing changes that will have the greatest impact on your conversion rates.
  2. Next comes optimization from desktop to smartphones and tablets. Therefore, optimizing for both desktop and mobile devices is crucial. Ensuring a seamless and user-friendly experience on all devices is essential for increasing conversion rates. Evaluating and implementing best practices for both platforms are key components of a successful CRO strategy.
  3. A/B testing is another fundamental aspect of CRO, involving comparing two versions of a webpage or element, such as a button or product image, to determine which performs better in terms of conversions. Systematically testing different variants allows for constantly refining your website and making data-driven decisions to increase conversion rates.
  4. While we will explore the role of surveys in CRO later in this article, it is important to emphasize their potential importance. Surveys provide direct insights into user preferences, pain points, and desires. Effectively used, surveys can be a valuable tool in improving your CRO strategy. We will delve further into their role towards the end of this article.

CRO is not a short-term commitment; it is an ongoing journey. The digital landscape is constantly changing, and user preferences evolve over time. To remain competitive, e-commerce businesses in the fashion sector must engage in continuous optimization.

What does it mean to do CRO on a fashion site?

To understand this, let’s start with a brief story from a book called “The Luxury Strategy” from 2012. The authors perceived e-commerce as synonymous with immediacy, constant change, and permanent actualization, creating significant disadvantages for the digital and e-commerce industry. Fashion plays by its own rules, emphasizing its specificity. The roles, from the creative department to marketing, are numerous.

We need to see CRO divided into two embracing hemispheres today:

  • CRO Analytics -> Technical
  • Redesign -> Creative Office/Web Designer

CRO Analytics is carried out by an expert who proposes what to modify and what not to touch, then seeks to reinterpret the data and convey it through accurate evidence (such as data or heat maps) to the designers and stylists of fashion houses, who are unlikely to go against their taste to approve the CRO Specialist’s theses.

Sometimes it seems like designers almost want to “make it difficult for customers to purchase.” This rule could not be more antithetical to the typical UX of e-commerce. The philosophy behind this rule is that if luxury buyers have to work hard to purchase a luxury item (for example, by searching for it or waiting for it), they will value that item more.

The rules for luxury brands are very different from those for other types of CRO, especially because the decision-making process for luxury purchases is not practical but intensely emotional. Fashion marketing relies heavily on creating and protecting brand storytelling, particularly on quality and exclusivity.

It’s a matter of access as well as price: the more people own the product, the less exclusive it will be. These brands don’t want to sell to everyone; they want to sell to the “right” people. They exist to define social status. Consequently, the rules of luxury sometimes blatantly violate usability. They want customers to “work” to “earn” the product.

Although luxury marketing has evolved, these excerpts provide clues as to why luxury brands have resisted and struggled with digital strategy. Within these companies, there is a strong distrust of e-commerce as inherently anti-luxury.

In summary, it could be said that since e-commerce makes a product easily accessible, e-commerce in the luxury sector is a factor of inclusivity, while some brands want to remain exclusive. Think, for example, of Chanel, which has not yet activated its own e-commerce.

However, making a brand or product exclusive does not justify a poor User Experience. A good User Experience or Usability is what allows fashion and luxury companies to collect user, customer, or potential customer data. Think, for example, of registration forms for newsletters.

Finally, we must also consider the expectations of a luxury product buyer or luxury brand. If a luxury brand customer goes to the brand’s site to buy a product, they probably want to achieve their goal in a reasonable time and without effort. As a brand owner or brand designer, we cannot impose a complicated user journey because we want to force the user to experience the brand. But we must offer the customer/user the opportunity to follow an emotional purchasing path if they are in the mood.

How can CRO Analytics improve brand positioning while respecting the ideas of the creative department?

First, one must know how to communicate with the creative department, and the approach must be more decisive and less problematic.

A useful way to allow CRO experts and creative directors to work together is to respect these parameters:

  • Exclusivity and Rarity
  • Distinctive
  • Identity and Style
  • Deep Personal Connections

    If we focus on discussing these parameters, it may be that a CRO specialist gains favor with the creative department, whereas logical proposals are rejected.

Some mistakes on fashion sites are:

  • Missing sizes
  • Unexplainable jargon
  • No suggestions on how to match or wear the product
  • Not enough product photos from different angles

    Some examples of usability and CRO optimizations that could be done but are justified by the designers’ taste:

On a MultiBrand online marketplace, I tried to find shoes I had seen someone wearing. I was thinking of buying them from a boutique near my home but wanted more information before visiting the store. I found the product page for a similar shoe. However, although the page included five photos of the shoe from different angles, none of those photos showed the product in context, so as a user, I couldn’t get a precise idea of the color of the shoe.

On the marketplace, even though the color seemed the same as the ones I wanted and had seen (which often happens on many sites’ photos), I assumed it was the same shoe…

Instead, the brand’s site had a well-prepared product page; the color was written exactly after the price positioned before the variant. This allowed me to understand that there was a specific coloration.

Or the mistake LV made a long time ago by inserting bag names into the filter options without providing explanations or illustrations. Those who spend a lot know two terms (Neverfull, Speedy) but not the others… In fact, after years, they have modified it.

Other competitors, such as Balenciaga, didn’t fall for it and categorized the models with photos since they focused on shoes.

Empty Categories!

An example is Tiffany for categories dedicated to wedding rings; it has empty pages without products and without any warning message, making it an example of lost conversion. If there was a need to keep

the category visible, it would have been interesting to include an email field with the possibility of notifying the customer when the products are available again.

Pay attention to surveys: In a famous boutique in Florence, one day, I heard a young customer reacting negatively to a discussion about the survey that sites usually request for feedback.

“The site wanted to get my feedback on my shopping experience; you know it’s in bad taste.
I was looking at a €4,000 bag; obviously, you can’t ask for feedback in the same way as Ryanair…”

Here we are not saying not to ask for feedback or not to include surveys on the site, but to trigger them at the right time and especially with quality questions. Feedback is crucial, but there are very measured ways to ask for feedback that can make sense for the brand and align with its values.

Luxury brands are doing their best to become more digital, but they struggle to implement a digital strategy that makes sense for today’s luxury consumer needs.”

Is CRO different for each category type?

Katherine Sousa, a well-known consultant at the Luxury Institute, a consulting firm for luxury brands, has emphasized a serious discrepancy between the luxury customer experience and the digital. Luxury brands rely on external digital experts who have led success in other sectors but do not understand luxury or luxury consumers. They think they can use the same strategy and tactics but tend to fail.

Indeed, the answer is yes. As mentioned earlier, within the fashion sector, CRO is different from any other optimization system. I thought of dividing the types of CRO for various fashion markets:

  • Brand
  • Multibrand
  • Marketplace (very similar to multibrand)

Continuing to answer the question: One must find a way to adopt a digital strategy that offers a positive experience without compromising luxury values; the keyword is balance between technical and industry experts and designers.

The future of CRO?

WEB3, NFT, METAVERSE make us understand how digital experiences are expanding. What remains is that luxury brands will continue to prioritize their in-store experiences – and they should. But to thrive in an increasingly digital retail landscape, they must also improve their digital experiences, even if most sales continue to take place in person. From recent activities, we note that fashion brands have immediately embraced these innovations, starting from 3D, which they use for in-house projects, making purchases gamified directly on their sites or apps. Some of these are creating worlds or collectives to buy. But the beauty is that they will always pass through the digital experience or landing pages to make the launch of their new products faster. They are aiming for reserved and exclusive purchases; a brand today, to grow, must focus on the target or, if it can approach digital correctly.

Many brands had to hurry to succeed, but now digital is finally considered a priority and taken seriously.

Antonio Moschetta

Linkedin Profile: Antonio Moschetta

My name is Antonio Moschetta, born in 1994. After graduating, I became passionate about the world of e-commerce in 2009. I started exploring it as a merchant when I began selling my line of sunglasses on some Facebook groups. Those were the years when e-commerce was the furthest thing from every entrepreneur’s mind. After the first sale, I realized it would be the future.

Over the years, I have led the online growth of some companies in the region with excellent results. Thanks to my willingness to take risks, I put myself out there as a speaker at various digital conferences.
At the same time as my professional experience, I opened 2 e-commerce businesses (one for sunglasses and one for women’s necklaces). I also completed a master’s degree in E-commerce Management, which led to opportunities to collaborate as a Project Manager in various projects at the E-commerce School in various sectors. In addition to this, I am an investor in two other companies in the content creation sector and one in the SAAS sector. The master’s program at Radar Academy allowed me to refine my knowledge in the Luxury and Fashion world.
As of today, I have resumed working as a temporary e-commerce manager and am in the process of creating a performance marketing agency in the e-commerce field. We have very ambitious goals that are allowing us to collaborate with the companies in the Italian and European territories.

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