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Using social proof to drive online fashion sales

Alison Wiltshire

17 Nov 2023

Fashion is one of the most important sectors for social proof, and it’s evident in the way shoppers buy their clothes. While for some, buying clothes is a functional, necessary purchase, for the majority, it’s driven by what others think and what others are wearing – and that’s the very essence of social proof. 

Fashion retailing is about what’s popular and what’s on trend – whether that’s driven by a fashion retailer or designer’s latest collection or an Instagram influencer  – or both. It’s literally what’s in fashion. 

But of course, not every fashion trend or fashion item suits everybody, and so consumers also care about what others think of the things they wear. ‘Does it look good on? Is it well made? How is the fit?’ Social proof is about harnessing the wisdom of the crowd and what others think by answering these questions quickly and easily.

The challenges fashion retailers face today 

Fashion retailers in today’s market have a tough challenge to differentiate themselves from competitors, especially as more of the fashion spend has moved online. Where once stores were the place to impress, physical store numbers are diminishing.

As the barriers to entry around building large store networks to establish brand awareness have disappeared, competition has also intensified. 

Retailers are investing hard in technology to differentiate the customer experience and to replicate in-store shopping with features like virtual try-on. Yet new tech can be expensive and unproven, which is yet another challenge when new market entrants to the UK and US market, such as Temu and Shein are hammering the competition on price and stealing market share.

The need for differentiation as competition increases

To compete, fashion retailers must focus on their brand differentiators and create an online experience that their customers will love – at a ROI that works for them. 

At Taggstar, we have several fashion retailers within our customer base who use social proof messaging to provide this differentiated customer experience to their shoppers.  These range from accessible luxury brands to fast fashion. 

All of these retailers leverage social proof messaging across the shopping journey to create more dynamic and relevant shopping experiences that increase conversion rates and grow sales. But more importantly, in a time of stretched investment budgets, it’s done cost-effectively with impressive return on investments, such as a 501% ROI for Charles Tyrwhitt.

How social proof messaging helps fashion retailers sell more 

For these fashion retailers, real-time social proof messaging has become a key part of their business, not only boosting conversion rates and sales but also increasing customer loyalty and decreasing the likelihood of returns. While the power of social proof messaging is in its ability to show others what is popular quickly, it plays an even greater role in fashion, where it can also answer questions about fit and quality. Below are some of the key ways in which social proof messaging can help: 

  1. Showing what is in fashion, literally

Social proof literally shows what is trending – i.e., what’s in fashion at a particular moment in time. It highlights what is selling fast by connecting with a retailer’s real-time data to determine best sellers in a specified period, such as the last 24 hours. That can help encourage customers to buy if they aren’t to miss a trend, something that is extremely important in the fast-moving world of fashion retail.

  1. Highlighting unique and popular features 

As well as highlighting popular products, social proof messaging can also highlight unique and popular features such as quality and organic fabrics, like those sold by fashion retailer and Taggstar customer Nobody’s Child, where more than 90% of its collection was made from responsible fabrics in 2022.

Although such detail can be displayed in brand copy, it is more powerful when other customers are extolling its value. This was proved with an 8% uplift in conversion for Nobody’s Child when it implemented social proof messaging from Taggstar.

  1. Promoting reviews and ratings  

Highlighting features such as quality and customer sentiment through ratings and reviews, is another key use of social proof messaging. Taggstar partners with review providers such as Bazaarvoice to add aggregated review messaging into its social proof messaging offering. 

At FatFace, for example, the retailer added quality rating messages to its social proof messaging armoury with the addition of “Highly Rated! x% of people recommended” and “Top Pick! X people rated 5 stars.” The changes helped to generate an additional conversion rate uplift of 1.71% in only ten days.

  1. Elevating key information such as fit

Another key feature that social proof messaging can highlight is fit by incorporating review messaging around fit into the offer. This can enable you to display messages to customers such as ‘Fit Advice! 94% of customers say this runs large’. Without this certainty around fit and sizing fashion retailers risk cart abandonment and high returns rates. 

  1. Reduce cart abandonment 

Cart abandonment is amongst the highest for fashion retail, running at 88% in 2023. It’s another key reason fashion retailers turn to Taggstar to help. This is because the buying decision is so subjective in fashion retail. Any help that the customer can get, particularly at the cart and checkout stage, where social proof messages can also be implemented, can help to increase conversion and reduce cart abandonment rates. 

  1. Reduce returns

While social proof messaging can help reduce cart abandonment at the final stage of the shopper journey, it can also help to ensure that those purchases stick – i.e., that the customer doesn’t end up returning them because the items aren’t as they expected or don’t fit. This is key in fashion, especially when you consider that 72% of online fashion returns are driven by style, fit and size issues. Social proof messaging helps to lower return rates by helping shoppers make more informed decisions in the first place.

The ROI of social proof in fashion 

Implementing social proof messaging in fashion can have a profound impact on your business. Our fashion customers have witnessed conversion rate uplift and ROIs that still amaze and exceed expectations, despite our assurances pre-testing that we will deliver the results we promise and more.  

In addition, they see results fast – implementation can take just a few days, and statistically significant results can be seen in a matter of days, too. Social proof messaging is easy to implement and flexible, allowing you to change your messaging according to trends or market themes, such as with seasonal messaging to tie in with the latest season or trend. Meanwhile, continual optimization ensures you are constantly pushing new boundaries with your social proof messaging strategy, helping you to always stay in fashion. 

Get in touch to learn more.

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