Read this before you go for a Minimalistic Website Design for your Online Fashion Store
In the past years of working with many fashion designers & labels, we have seen a surge of minimalism and minimalist art in Fashion. We are often given reference of website designs of established fashion designers because they are so simple and minimalistic.
I have seen fashion designers and start-ups arm-twisting their website design agency to design a minimalist ecommerce design without realizing the impact it can have on their conversion rate (percentage of visitors who buy on your website) and overall business profitability. We hear things such as, “No, no, we don’t want the homepage to scroll, it has to be minimalist” “No, let’s not show shipping info. in the header; we want a simple header” I see the word ‘minimalist’ being slapped on every touch point of fashion, including ecommerce website design. You see, I am not against the idea of minimalism in website design. I support and follow the ideology of ‘less is more’. What I am against though is the idea of compromising function, usability and brand positioning in the name of design minimalism. If you don’t understand the real meaning of minimalism and just apply it on your website’s new design, remember that the seemingly cool, minimalistic ecommerce design of your favorite designer might not work for your brand in the same way.
Firstly because, when established designers launch a collection, there is a mob of people waiting at their doorstep to buy their products. The traffic they receive on their website is extremely qualified and relevant. If you look at their traffic sources, you will see most of the traffic is direct, ie. people typing their domain name in their browser and hitting the enter key because they heard of them once again in a magazine, in a TV Ad, tweet, etc. Or they simply repeat customers. These people already know about the brand and most of them land on the website with a buying intent. They will find their way through the checkout process to purchase their products. Secondly, you don’t know whether that design is actually working out for them or not; maybe the conversion rate of this design is 0.2% (which is terrible).
When you’re a new start-up fashion label, the chances are that no one knows about you, your brand and your products. You have to find your customers and also build a desire for your brand and products. A purely minimalist catalog website, with a cart and checkout might not be enough to make your customers buy. You have to be more strategic than the established designers, and create conversion paths for your customers. Unlike these established & famous designers, most of your website’s traffic will be from sources such as Google, Facebook, Pinterest, etc and might not convert that well into subscribers and first-time buyers. To convert such visitors, you’d have to educate them, position the brand in their mind with crisp text & visuals and conversion funnel. That’s why you need a website design which is not just minimalistic but also allows you to:
- Educate your customers (with the business tagline, brand USPs, differentiation narratives, welcome emails etc)
- Acquire more customers (as subscribers or registered users with email sign-up pop-ups, landing pages, etc)
- Activate the acquired customers with your best converting offers
- And grow the acquired customers for repeat purchases with customer data & personalization tools
So next time, if you get inspired from a minimalist website design of your favorite designer; or stumble upon a minimalist Magento, WordPress or Shopify theme, do remind yourself who you are and what is the objective of your new site. Apart from being minimalistic, your website design and architecture should be able to educate, acquire, activate and grow your customers.
@ILoveFashionRetail we design & develop e-commerce websites & mobile apps for fashion retailers. We also help fashion brands grow their online sales & traffic. Our essays are featured in Forbes, Moz, Fairchild, FIT and more. Contact us.