It’s an unsurprising sign of the times that our beloved Marks & Spencer has announced plans to close 100 stores in its ‘radical transformation plan’ designed to tackle recent declines in sales and profits.
According to Criteo’s Global Commerce Review, smartphone sales now account for a whopping 54% of the UK’s retail sales, which means any brand that isn’t placing considered emphasis on their ecommerce store is missing a critical trick.
It’s all in the spin
Following the issues faced by Debenhams and House of Fraser, we can’t help thinking it’s a pretty canny move to present these store closures as a preemptive measure. M&S hasn’t buried the fact that their high street stores are ‘failing to perform’, but their narrative surrounding the closures shows that they know full well the future of shopping is online.
While M&S will forever remain a hero of the high street in our generation’s eyes, we reckon this decision will stand them in good stead for transitioning deftly into this new shopping era.
When we consider that a single mistake can slash sales by up to 50%, nothing less than flawless will do.
So, what’s next?
Of course, the success of taking ‘at least a third’ of sales online depends entirely on how well the ecommerce store is managed, particularly within their apparel departments.
So, informed by our flawless approach to fashion product copy, here are Siblinc’s four top tips for making sure M&S continues to appease loyal customers while tempting in a whole new band of fashion shoppers with great product descriptions.
Keep up the good work
While reviewing the UK’s biggest department stores in terms of how they manage their product copy, we identified M&S as doing pretty darn well when it comes to ticking off the essential elements of good product descriptions. Their copy has a balanced mix of creative styling suggestions, extremely detailed fit information and transparent composition details.
All in all, a customer would be hard pushed to submit a legitimate return based on lack of information.
But be consistent
While many of the brand’s latest items have a creative element to their description, others simply list bullet points and recycled content with a very copied-and-pasted feel.
While the bulleted information is certainly useful, these items are missing that all-important tickle that acts as an online shopping buddy, making trend-aware styling suggestions and even cross-selling complementary bits and bobs across the rest of the site.
Details make the difference
Without wishing to pigeonhole too much, we see the classic M&S fashion shopper as a sophisticated individual who appreciates detail, who has a decent amount of disposable income and who likes to dabble in the finer things in life.
With that in mind, take a look at this summer dress. This dress is brimming with saleable details. Check out the deep (but not too deep) V neckline, that vibrant print in a patriotic palette of red, white and blue, and that juxtapositioned boho touch courtesy of a tassel-tipped rope belt. We are guessing this is a case of the hard-working copy team just not having enough time to wax lyrical, because plenty of tricks are being missed here. Tricks which could’ve secured a whole pile of sales.
Check, check and double check
Granted, we had to dig pretty deep for this one. It seems the M&S copy team does a superb job of proofing and quality checking. But when we consider that a single mistake can slash sales by up to 50%, nothing less than flawless will do. Can you spot the error in this description?
As far as we can tell, it looks like the Marks & Sparks copy team is doing a great job, but they’re lacking the necessary support to achieve consistency across the board.
For any retailer, the product copywriting process is a cumbersome task, we know that all too well. That’s precisely why we established our specialist agency five years ago. By offering dextrous external support to international fashion brands and online retailers of all shapes and sizes, we’re able to help their fashion product descriptions stay consistent, efficient and, above all, flawless.