Picture this; a customer enters a lingerie boutique. They are on the hunt for something unique that makes them feel confident and empowered. Upon entering the store, they are greeted by masses and masses of different colours, styles, and fabrics. And that's just the bras. Then there's the knickers, thongs, baby dolls, garters belts, and various other body coverings to consider. The customer starts to feel uncomfortable. Where do they start? How do they put this on? What is the sizing like?
The boutique staff are nowhere to be seen. Panicking, the customer attempts to make their presence known, but no help appears. They continue to browse for a moment or two, before becoming overwhelmed. It's all too much. Hurriedly, they make their way to the exit, without making a single purchase.
The scene above is what shopping online for lingerie can sometimes feel like. For years, brick-and-mortar boutiques have been at the core of lingerie retail. Considered to be essential resources for fit knowledge and guidance, customers have had little choice but to travel to their closest store for all their underwear needs. However, thanks to the rise of lingerie blogs and forums (such as Bratabase, A Bra That Fits and The Lingerie Addict) in conjunction with modern busy lives, shopping online for intimates has become much more common. As a result, brands and boutiques alike have struggled to balance their online presence with their physical stores. This has lead to many lingerie focussed ecommerce sites being overwhelming and challenging to use.
"If a website is poorly constructed and hard to navigate, I'll just leave," says Cora Harrington, Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict, the world's largest lingerie blog in an interview with Yotpo. This sentiment is echoed by both knicker novices and aficionados alike. Many will choose to leave and take their business elsewhere if websites do not have clear categories, easy to access size charts or direct points of contact.
"Information like size charts, shipping fees, and return policies should be easily accessible from almost any page of the site" adds Harrington when talking to Yotpo. So how can emotional ecommerce be utilised to improve the user experience, boost online sales, and help retain customers for your lingerie retail site? Based on our experience, we've come up with some examples below:
1. Creating the right first impression
Nowadays it's common for customers to browse ecommerce sites to gain a sense of the brand and their products before visiting the physical store.
Therefore it is essential that potential customers get a strong sense of who you are and what your brand is about as soon as they visit your site. This will allow customers to feel more inclined to trust you as a retailer and ultimately explore your products further. As lingerie is one of the most intimate pieces of clothing a customer can buy, gaining their trust is especially essential.
Take for example our project with lala Berlin. As an urban cool fashion line, it was important for their site to be visually arresting and reflect the lala Berlin brand aesthetic. To create this brand recognition, we utilised full-screen images for lifestyle content and collections on the home page, instantly bringing together the creative and commercial sides of lala Berlin. This enabled the brand to push its personality to the forefront, building a deeper connection between their business and their customers.
As a lingerie retailer, showcasing who you are and what you can offer a potential customer will help gain their trust and loyalty, resulting in higher rates of conversion.
2. Reduce friction for smoother navigation; easy to find, easy to buy.
As Cora Harrington mentions above, when sizing and fit information isn't readily available, it reduces the number of customers willing to make a purchase.
"Most customers won't email you for clarification, they'll just go to a competitor,” says Harrington, in an interview with Entrepreneur. However, when a boutique sells multiple brands and lingerie styles, it can be a challenge to provide all the necessary size charts and information for each item in a visually pleasing way.
We encountered a similar problem when working with backpack specialist, Eastpak. The variety of products on the Eastpak website varies greatly - one product page template was never going to provide all the necessary information to allow customers to make a quick and easy purchase. We overcame this through the implementation of variable product page templates, with easy and flexible content management per product. This allowed the eCommerce team to include all the necessary product education for customers, enabling the brand to bring the existing lifestyle content directly into the product page, rather than housing it in a less accessible area of the website.
Potential customers no longer need to search through the site or go elsewhere when looking for product information, which has lead to a higher rate of customer conversion. Using this method, it would allow lingerie retailers to include product information, fit variability and individual brand size charts directly onto each product page. This method reduces the likelihood of potential customers leaving the website to seek out that information elsewhere, ultimately resulting in abandoned shopping baskets.
3. Integrating social media channels that show reviews, testimonials, and photos of happy customers
In a Yotpo survey of 1,000 eCommerce shoppers, 77% of participants said that authentic photos from customers affected their purchasing decisions more than professional photos from the brands themselves.
As many lingerie brands advertise their products with similar-looking models - who often don't reflect how most customers look - it is essential to showcase real customers wearing your products. So if you really want to connect with the customer, you have to go beyond the confines of your own website. Using integrated social media channels will allow brands and boutiques to easily provide potential customers with images of many other happy customers who have a range of different body types
When working with fitness-wear brand Varley, we realised that customers needed to see the products in action; who's wearing them, how they're being worn and where they're being used. Flat product cut-outs just don't deliver the emotional impact needed for the customer to imagine the product on themselves.
Instagram is an increasingly important channel for Varley, both for connecting to customers and increasing sales. We used this as an opportunity to implement a shoppable Instagram platform, a key growth strategy that aligned with their focus on innovation. To further increase their connection with customers, the images used aren't just from their own photoshoots, but also from brand ambassadors and customers. As a result, potential customers can find others who have a similar appearance to themselves and use said images to imagine how they would look wearing Varley products. Social proofing your lingerie eCommerce site while tapping into the power of imagination is a sure-fire way to increase sales conversion and create customer retention.
Want to learn more about how emotional eCommerce could help grow your brand? Do you have a project you'd like to work with us on? Contact us here and let us help you create your best website yet.