Despite the “fit problem” that holds back online clothes shopping, fashion stores still have a lot to benefit from the eCommerce marketplace.
In an industry steeped in reputation and exclusivity, high-end luxury brands had a tendency to turn their noses up at eCommerce… at first. All this did, however, was open up the floor for lesser-known but equally ambitious fashion houses to make a name for themselves the modern way. Today, even the top-notch luxury brands admit eCommerce’s power, making the competition in fashion eCommerce fierce, but rewarding.
In addition to all the sales difficulties other eCommerce brands face, fashion has an array of problems unique to it. The industry doesn’t just sell commodities, it’s an art form, which makes the style, atmosphere, and design of a site more significant than your run-of-the-mill online department stores.
Fashion eCommerce stores not only need to look like the style they sell, they also need to enhance the shopping experience: clever copy, easy navigation, anticipating user problems, not to mention the traditional sales methods like marketing campaigns.
It’s a lot to consider. That’s why we compiled a list of some of the best women fashion eCommerce websites that do it right. Browse the sites below to learn a thing or two about selling women’s fashion online, and maybe take away a little inspiration as well.
We’ll start off with a solid site all around: Reformation. Right from the start, their gorgeous, full-screen hero image background draws the user in. These stellar photographs set the tone of the site and get the shopper excited about the experience, not to mention showcase whatever products they choose. Even using their own logo as the loading icon before the front page is a smart microinteraction that sets the tone.
The personality of the brand is one of their main driving forces, and you can see it in the tone of their copy along with the visuals. Reformation has a hip, witty voice in all their writing that makes the site more enjoyable — especially important for sites oriented towards women, who prefer the shopping experience over merely researching and buying. In the study Men Buy, Women Shop, Wharton marketing professor Stephen J. Hoch describes it like this:
“Women think of shopping in an interpersonal, human fashion, and men treat it as more instrumental. It’s a job to get done.”
This humorous brand identity is extra effective in their content marketing, such as their video comedy series Drink Sustainably. While not directly related to fashion, it still provides entertainment about a topic popular to their audience: wine.The personality of the @reformationx brand is one of their main driving forces. Click To Tweet
Reformation gives extra help by organizing their content in specific “Stories” categories. Each “story” is a thematic collection of clothing, for example, “Hey shorty” is a collection of short skirts and dresses. The format works by anticipating shopper needs and showcasing related products they might not have discovered on their own. The stories change periodically, allowing the site to offer seasonal or trending suggestions.
Last, the site has a unique and worthwhile approach to its call-to-action, one of the the product page’s most important elements. The CTA on Reformation is a sticky horizontal footer, with a bold black button standing out against the white background. Scroll up or down and the CTA remains fixed. This even translates responsively to their mobile site, keeping only the button without the other menu items.
Another fashion eCommerce site that seems to do everything right is Beth Ditto. Their clever design choices create a unified and thematic shopping experience that casually displays their personality and strengthens the brand’s identity.
Their perfect circle logo, the “O” in the “Beth Ditto” title, is a consistent presence. Namely, it marks which elements are clickable; animations of the O expanding heighten the navigational tool, adding a fun energy to the site. You also see the trademark shape in circular pictures in the Story page and the loading animation. The logo itself is a smart choice to echo their “plus-sized & proud” identity.
Aside from the visuals, the site’s navigation also stands out. Adhering to “less is more,” the site’s information architecture is fitted into only three main categories, with no subsections. Not all sites can get away with this, but Beth Ditto’s small product range (updated every season) allows everything she offers to fit on a single page. It’s a good example of taking advantage of your brand’s individuality, in this case a limited product range.
The Lookbook acts similarly to the Shop page, but with more stylized photos for inspirational browsing.
Unfortunately, at times the navigation errors are too simple. Their login icon is an ambiguous smiley face, which could lead to confusion and a UX snag. Even though it’s cute and within the site’s theme, it’s always better to sacrifice personality for clarity.
Luckily for them, they implemented this lesson for the checkout page.
Despite the outspoken personality on the rest of the site, at the checkout there’s no nonsense. This distraction-free page is clear and to-the-point, and even the coloring turns mostly monochrome. Creative and formal sites alike know not to overcomplicate this crucial step in the sales process.
@NastyGal product pages are exceptionally well-designed! Click To Tweet
Nasty Gal is pretty much by-the-book with the rest of their website, but their product pages are exceptionally well-designed. The page has everything the shopper could want: necessary information, gorgeous product photos, easily accessible reviews, in-page conversion charts, related items, return policy, social sharing menu, and a Live Chat option.
What Nasty Gal does well that a lot of other sites overlook is prominently displaying the customer reviews and other social proof. Customer reviews are one of the most powerful influencers in eCommerce, and Nasty Gal puts them right at the top, below the product name and price. You don’t need to take up too much screen real estate here. They list only the star rating here, but when you click it, it takes you to the bottom of the screen for the full written reviews.
As an extra measure, the site gives the option to “crush” items, represented by the heart icon directly above the product name (another prominent display of social proof). The “crush” system works on multiple levels:
- wishlisting items for later
- socially sharing items (useful for hinting to friends and family about gift ideas)
- extra incentive to register & log in
- social proof to items by displaying their total “crushes” on the product page
Finally, the page also has a “The Look” section, which goes above and beyond regular Related Items. The Look links to the product pages for the other clothing in the product photos — essentially allowing the shoppers to recreate the professionally styled outfit the model is wearing.
LOQ’s quirky visuals along with its customer-oriented design earned it a place on our list. The elongated lines interrupting the words in their main navigation menu may not work for other industries, but for fashion this splash of creativity is appreciated, especially when coupled with the floating animation on hover.
One design choice any women fashion eCommerce website can benefit from is the conversion chart on each product page. This directly addresses the “fit problem” discussed in our introduction, one of the worst obstacles for clothing-based online stores. Having the chart on each product page saves the user the trouble of having to find a separate page once they’ve found a shoe they want to buy.
If there’s one thing Mansur Gavriel does well, it’s photography. The actual artistry of their photos translates well to an eCommerce website: for example, in the image above, the drab colors and cut-off heads draw attention to the colorful handbags and shoes, the two products the site sells. A hero image background accents the strengths of the site’s photography.If there's one thing @MANSURGAVRIEL does well, it’s photography! Click To Tweet
The shopping page further emphasizes their visuals. The minimalist design and pure white background push focus on the brightly colored product cards. Notice how the cards are completely borderless, and don’t even have text descriptions (unless the screen is resized too small to fit the side navigation menu).
Not all their visuals are on-point, however. If we had to criticize something, it’d be the faded color of the Checkout CTA. The button visuals make it look inactive, which is especially damaging considering the button’s necessity. An oversight like this could cost them some sales.
Did someone say “quirky”? UNIF has made a name for itself with its products’ quirky and offbeat style — a style that’s matched by its site design.
Their crazy animations, goofy image choices, and jokey copy appeal to the same type of shopper that prefers the eccentric style of their clothes.Did someone say quirky? @UNIFCLOTHING has made a name for itself with its products’ quirky style. Click To Tweet
Another nice choice is the customer service chat box. Considering that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for better customer service, this option puts the shoppers at ease, even if the reps are offline. The icon is still goofy in the style of the site, but the option to leave a message for later is a deft decision.
Founded in 2013, Rebson shows how to make a luxury-level site from scratch. Rebson takes the most useful industry design trends, like the hero images and transparent typography, and combines them with traditional sales tactics like timely sales and discounts.
Their lookbook is a perfect example. As we explained earlier, lookbooks are a terrific strategy for fashion since they allow brands to showcase products not just artistically, but in context of actual usage. Even their single-location photoshoot gives them a visually stunning lookbook.
One more trend Rebson does well is the hover animations on their cards. The line-by-line zoom in isn’t necessary per-se, but it does add a little magic to shopping and makes something as simple as moving the mouse fun.
Having a successful eCommerce site is more than just flashy visuals. It’s also about applying the fundamentals, as Missguided’s homepage shows. Rather than a powerful photography like their competitors, Missguided chooses instead a plain color background to that the focus goes squarely to their deals. On the home screen above — the first screen shoppers likely see — four separate deals are advertised: free next day delivery, a current sale, a student discount, and the main feature, 2 for £20.
Not that they neglect their site design; Missguided’s information architecture is one of the best. The standard categories are all there, including extra calls-to-actions for necessary actions like signing in. In addition there’s featured sections, such as the various Missguided collaborations with other brands. This isn’t just IA but also promotion, showcasing some collaborations the shopper may not have known about. There’s also unconventional but equally useful options like “shop our insta” and “shop by trend.”@Missguided information architecture is one of the best in the #fashion #eCommerce field. Click To Tweet
Last, Missguided has a complete content marketing strategy in place. We’ve explained the finer points of content marketing already, but here we’ll point out how Missguided doesn’t just have a single blog, but a multi-faceted blog with subsections of different content, collaborations with other influencers, and a rich presence on all social media, including multiple hashtags.
Before we complete the list, we’ll showcase a site that breaks the rules, but in the right way. Bill Blass takes a unique approach to eCommerce, but only calculated and inconsequential risks.
The Home page is the Hot section, featuring all their best products. This on its own isn’t so strange… the organization, however, is anything but conventional: borderless, disorganized cards free-floating over a red background with no text.@billblass takes a unique approach to #eCommerce, but only calculated and inconsequential risks Click To Tweet
If you look closely, you’ll notice the fried egg thrown in for fun. If you click on it…
… it takes you to a joke product page that waxes intellectual about eggs, with quotes like “Life is unexpected and no one has really been able to isolate its meaning,” and, “Life is mysterious and magical, just like fashion. So why not put an egg on it?”
These little surprise easter eggs (no pun intended) delight shoppers and add to the shopping experience as a whole. For a site like Bill Blass, they’re the perfect touch to cement their eccentric identity.
Their navigation system is creative, but it doesn’t sacrifice usability. The four main points are scattered out to the corners: shop, account/bag, menu, and subscribe. The user can still find everywhere they need to go, but with a fun twist that differentiates the site from others.
The product pages are a little more traditional, since the further along the sales funnel the shopper goes, the more consequential the risks. They still demonstrate their individuality with the distinctive format of the product images, cutouts that stretch the length of the screen. But they still give the shoppers three different angles to see the product, so their creativity doesn’t hurt sales.
Last is a site that brings everything together: Acne Studios. Right away, their home page takes the most reliable tactics for fashion: hero background, product-focused imagery, and artistic photography.
The product pages are neatly organized, and contain all the essentials, including a detailed description of the sizing, and links to the other products in the pictures. A single click on the photos zooms in or out.
Despite the amount of information on each page, the site is organized in such a way that it appears clean and comprehensible. The navigation list is long with a lot of entries, but the white background, crisp typography, and lack of distractions make it easy to find where you’re going — and more importantly, make it appear easy. The site also makes good use of grid layouts, leaning more towards the classy elegance side of the fashion industry instead of its in-your-face edginess.Despite the amount of info on each page, the site is organized in a way that it appears so clean @acnestudios Click To Tweet
Which fashion sites do you look at for eCommerce inspiration? Add your favorites in the comments below and explain why you like them.