10 Essentials of Great Fashion Website Design
Fashion Website Design Tips from Top Brands
What’s Special about Fashion Website Design?
If you’re designing a website for your fashion and apparel business, you already know that you’re entering a 3 trillion dollar market. In this market, three things are true:
- Appearances are crucial.
- Competition is extreme.
- And web design is one of the most important success factors.
Fashion is a highly visual industry. Optics is the first thing your customers want to see before they make a decision to buy. The best copywriting is worth nothing unless great imagery surrounds it.
Looks can kill.
As digital marketers and fashion website designers, we think that’s true. Great looks can awe your customers and make your products irresistible. A sloppy appearance, on the other hand, can kill your brand before it even gets off the ground.
Style can conquer.
Other than looks, fashion website design is about style. There are tons of styles in fashion—Bohemian, Street, Chic, Ethnic, Artsy, Sexy. Your website should reflect the predominant styling of your products. Your web design agency should understand your style and should create a design that appeals to your audience.
In the above example, apparel brand Hollister highlights its casual, everyday style.
Levi Strauss & Co emphasizes the brand story and brings out a rugged work-wear style that make Levis so famous.
American Eagle uses plus size models to create a unique, non-body-shaming style for its audience.
The rest is in the textbook.
Big, bold product images, slick videos, fast loading times, and a watery smooth checkout sequence—these are the bare essentials for any fashion e-commerce website.
Let’s look at the websites of some of the top fashion brands and see what they all have in common.
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Fashion Website Design Tips for E-commerce Sales
Here are the common features we found across the websites of the top fashion brands. All of them apply to your website.
Fashion Website Design Tip 1: Use High-Quality Photography
What shows, sells. Nothing could be closer to the truth when it comes to fashion. Big, high-quality product photos attract your visitors and guide their eye through the website. Feature stunning photos of your products and use them to shape and focus your visitors’ visual navigation.
Michael Kors uses attractive full screen-width photos of models wearing the brand. The photo, the menu, and the brand are the only things visible at one particular time. There are no small photos or confusing elements to interfere with the imagery or workflow.
Fashion Website Design Tip 2: Put Lead Generation First
Most of your visitors don’t buy your products when they first come to your website.
They look around, leave, and (maybe) return.
Therefore, it’s a great idea to grab their email addresses the moment they land on your page. It allows you to target them with email marketing, which has the highest ROI among all online marketing channels.
Old Navy offers a big 20% off for subscribing to the mailing list so that the company can send them emails about special offers and new products. Research says you can earn $32 for every $1 you spend on email marketing.
Here’s how Nike does it:
Fashion Website Design Tip 3: Create and Market a Loyalty Program
Selling to your old customers is one of the most effective business strategies because it’s five times cheaper than selling to new customers. Successful fashion brands have fan clubs or loyalty programs that they market through their websites apart from other channels.
Tommy Hilfiger invites people to join their “exclusive” club right after they land on the site. Hilfiger lures people in with a 20% discount on their first purchase as well as ongoing incentives and reward.
Fashion Website Design Tip 4: Create a Clean Layout
Clean and clear web design is a common factor among the websites of famous fashion brands. A clean layout brings out the product and styling while a cluttered design can confuse your visitors and increase the bounce rate. Many famous brands highlight only one product photo above the fold while others present multiple products in a clear layout.
The clothing brand Everlane features a single product above the fold. Scrolling down, you can see the categories arranged in a clean and clear layout.
Fashion Website Design Tip 5: Use the Human Element
Some fashion brands predominantly use product-only photography for their website design. However, adding the human element makes your products more emotionally appealing.
Take the example of Coach, the fashion handbags brand. The company’s marketing strategy is to focus on the product, but the above-the-fold portion of their homepage still uses an inviting human photo to encourage visitors to scroll down to the products section.
Fashion Website Design Tip 6: Highlight Your Brand
There’s no unbranded fashion these days, so it’s crucial to build a strong and famous brand. And there’s no better place for building your fashion brand than your website. Make sure you feature your brand prominently on your website, so it’s visible in the first glance.
The brand and a stunning photo of a model wearing it are two things you can never miss on Guess website. Also, notice the geo-specific marketing and a lifestyle open to adventure that the website depicts.
Tommy Hilfiger places the brand on top against a clean white background. You can’t miss it.
Fashion Website Design Tip 7: Offer a Discount
Fashion is a highly competitive industry. That’s why most high-street fashion websites offer discounts above the fold on their homepage. The aim is to retain visitors and prevent them from clicking away to competitors’ websites.
Michael Kors’ website below offers an occasion-based discount above the fold on its homepage.
Unlike most other fashion websites, Old Navy’s website doesn’t show any products above the fold; only discounts and coupons.
A fashion behemoth like Old Navy can get away with showing no products and only coupons to a first-time visitor because everyone already knows the brand and its products. But such a strategy can dilute the brand’s image and kill conversion for fashion brands that are still establishing themselves.
Fashion Website Design Tip 8: Market Geo-Specific Content
If you’re (or are aspiring to become) a national or global fashion brand, you should target audiences in different geographic areas with customized products and content. Adopting a local appeal makes your brand more relatable. Buying occasions and fashion trends are different at different locations and make localization a necessity.
Nike asks you to select your location the first time you visit their website. If, say, you were in Saudi Arabia, the website would show you content specific to your location.
Fashion Website Design Tip 9: Provide Transparency
The California Transparency Act and UK Modern Slavery Act make it obligatory for fashion and apparel businesses to audit their supply chains and verify that they’re not contributing to human trafficking and slavery. Your fashion website should host a statement of full disclosure that describes how you’re contributing to the eradication of these social evils.
GAP and all other famous fashion brands provide transparency into their socially responsible business practices. Failing to do so may result in legal or social brand damage if a watchdog or group spots your business for non-compliance.
Fashion Website Design Tip 10: Put Heart and Soul into Sales Pages
All of your hard work and investment finally comes down to the sales pages. It’s critical to optimize for conversion if you don’t want to throw away your labor and money. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a science and an art that aims to increase the sales for the same number of visitors. In other words, CRO increases revenue without increasing the cost. So, it has a huge impact on your profits.
Scan the product pages of top fashion websites, and you’ll see that they’ve tried their best to breathe heart and soul into those pages.
The product pages of Teva, the footwear brand, open with full-blown product images. As you scroll down, you can read the description, see photos of the product on a model, read customer reviews, and lots of other product details.
The idea is to leave nothing standing between the visitor and sale.
Fashion is a high-stakes, high-competition industry that depends on appearances. That’s why the visual appeal is the first thing that fashion website design must have. But, it’s not the only thing.
Great fashion website design must also align with branding, style, and marketing strategy.
Most of all, it should generate more leads and deliver more sales for each dollar you spend on getting people to visit your website.
Bonus: Consult Free with Josh
Would you like to create a fashion website that makes your business look like (or even better than) some of the best fashion brands we just discussed? Speak with Josh today (917) 779-8157 or set up a free consult!