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7 major problems faced by ecommerce fashion brands and how to solve them
Sell Online

7 major problems faced by ecommerce fashion brands and how to solve them

Versha Kamwal
April 14, 2022
mins read

The Indian masses are choosing the internet to satiate their fashion needs, while the ecommerce fashion industry is trying its best to adjust to the changing consumer needs.

According to Statista, the revenue in the ecommerce fashion segment is projected to reach US$19.69 billion by 2022 in India. The study also projects that the growth will continue for years to come.

However, the ecommerce fashion industry also has a dark side.

The recent record-breaking growth didn’t eradicate the problems that already existed in the online fashion industry. If not handled properly, such issues can drain the fashion brands of their finances, ruin their reputation, and even result in failure. But with a sturdy plan in place, fashion brands can reclaim their business and head toward success.

In this blog, you will learn what are the significant problems faced by ecommerce fashion brands and how to rise above them.

What are the major challenges faced by ecommerce fashion brands and how to solve them?

1. A high return rate

According to Forrester Research, the return rate of the fashion category in India is  “around 25-35%, and this number can go up to 40% during sales.  Well, it is surprisingly very high, and most of this has to do with the wrong size ordered by the customers. Moreover, customers often complain that the product doesn’t match the product description or they simply changed their mind about the purchase.

The solution: Your customers must know what exactly they are buying. For that, you can do the following:

  • Display multiple high-quality product images from all the angles
  • Curate brief and informative product descriptions to explain your product and set the right expectations
  • Provide easy-to-read size charts to prevent any confusion regarding size
  • Give a customer review section so that your customers can have a look at the testimonials as social proof

Charles and Keith display multiple product images
Charles and Keith display multiple product images

2. Pressure to provide free and fast shipping

In today's digital space, 1 out of 3 shoppers will choose one ecommerce brand over the other due to better shipping options. Moreover, customers tend to abandon their carts if the shipping isn’t free or fast.

The solution: Free shipping doesn’t always suit an online fashion brand. In some cases, ‘flat-rate shipping’ or ‘free shipping over a minimum threshold’ makes more sense. But if you still want to give it a go, here’s what you can do to offer free shipping:

  • The best way to reduce shipping costs is to distribute your inventory across India
  • Create the illusion of free shipping by including the shipping price into the product MRP (Maximum Retail Price).
  • Offer product bundles or set a minimum spend threshold to increase average order value (AOV)
  • Introduce loyalty programs and subscriptions to induce more purchases to improve customer lifetime value (CLTV)
  • Get shipping quotes from multiple courier companies and choose the best service at a reasonable price

To speed up shipping, here’s what you can do:

  • Split your inventory in multiple fulfilment centres across India to expedite shipping drastically
  • Ensure fast order processing by leveraging powerful technology to automate order fulfilment and eliminate human errors
  • Stick to SLA-driven shipping if you’re selling on marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart and more
  • Mark orders 'ready to ship' quickly with incredible order accuracy
  • Use expedited courier services and optimise delivery routes
Mango offers free shipping over a minimum threshold
Mango offers free shipping over a minimum threshold

3. Fierce competition

As more and more brands are entering the fashion industry, it’s becoming harder to make a name for yourself. In such a saturated ecommerce space, it's easy to get lost in the crowd without getting any customer attention.

The solution: You need to increase the overall brand visibility to boost your sales. For that, you can do the following:

  • Leverage SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and include keywords in your product listings
  • Run paid marketing campaigns
  • Use Facebook, Google and Instagram for shopping ads
  • Generate external traffic from email marketing
  • Build a strong online presence via social media platforms
  • Collaborate with influencers and celebrities

Aldo runs shopping ads
Aldo runs shopping ads

4. Changing attitudes towards fashion

A significant change in the fashion world is the change in customers' attitudes toward sustainability. It’s not enough for online fashion brands to churn out fast fashion items and ignore the actual cost to the planet or the people working on them; now, their customers are demanding some accountability. 81% of the global respondents state that businesses are responsible for the environment.

The solution: Take a step further into sustainability. Here’s what you can do:

  • Invest in areas such as material innovation and improved industrial processes and manufacturing techniques
  • Check if your product is safe for the planet
  • Focus on reducing carbon emissions and environmental impact
  • Use eco-friendly packaging material
  • Introduce recycling and upcycling of your products
  • Utilise greener materials from the get-go

H&M has introduced sustainable clothing
H&M has introduced sustainable clothing

5. Lack of real-time assistance

Customers are most likely to have questions about their purchases, especially regarding apparel, footwear, accessories, and more. If they aren’t answered right away, they can abandon their carts. However, if a customer is having an issue with your product, it doesn't mean you have to lose a customer. Instead, you can use such situations to assist your customers if they face any difficulty.

The solution: You can provide real-time assistance to your customers and ensure they are well informed on their buying journey to prevent confusion.

  • Provide dedicated customer service
  • Leverage chatbots for live support
  • Set right expectations with a clear estimated date of order delivery
  • Provide real-time order tracking
  • Keep customers updated by notifying them with order updates via texts and e-mails

6. Frequent stockouts

It’s highly common in the fashion industry that one or more products create a massive buzz among the masses. So on one hand, it increases ecommerce sales but on the other hand, it causes frequent stockouts. Product stock-outs are a significant concern for fashion brands as well as prospective buyers—fashion brands can lose out on sales. At the same time, customers will be unhappy and turn to other fashion brands.

The solution: The most important thing to prevent product stock-outs is maintaining sufficient inventory according to the customer demand. For that, you can do the following:

  • Predict demand with demand forecasting by analysing your historical data
  • Maintain optimum inventory levels
  • Establish re-order points for ordering inventory when inventory levels are diminishing
  • Ensure timely inventory replenishment
  • During festive sales or flash sales, it is essential to predict order volume or surge in advance and maintain the required inventory levels

7. Different device screens showing different colours

Well, “colour” plays a vital role in the fashion industry. Most of the time, customers complain that the product they received is different from what they ordered. The major problem with colour is that it depends on the screen your customer is looking at it and the background colour combination.

The solution: You can’t do much about your customer's device's screen and brightness settings. But here’s what you can do:

  • Display high-resolution images of the product from all angles on a plain background, such as white
  • Display high-resolution images of the products in-situ, like a lifestyle photography option—allowing customers to see them in different lighting setups to see what colour they think it is

Loom displays product images in different environment
Loom displays product images in different environment

Bottom line

Running an online fashion brand entirely by yourself is undoubtedly tempting. It can make you feel that your sales are constantly increasing, and the profits are pouring in. However, there’s another side of running an online fashion brand—increasing returns and pressure to provide fast delivery that can ruin your lucrative business plan. So, you need to understand how to rise above the major struggles of an ecommerce fashion brand with the right strategies and proper management. This way, you can successfully alleviate all pain points, retain more customers, and enjoy repeat purchases.

Connect with our fulfilment expert today.

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