What Are Product Attributes And Why Do They Matter For Fashion Brands
“Red suit,” “black jeans,” “gold bikini,” “white t-shirt,” “brown shirt,” and “black leather skirt” were among the most searched clothing items in 2020, according to Semrush. However, even if your store stocked all of the above, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you saw an influx of customers last year or that you sold a notable volume of these items.
As demonstrated by Semrush, unless they’re just casually browsing, customers shopping for clothes typically look for items that meet their specific requirements at a particular moment in time. This finding means two things. Firstly, to find items that meet their needs, customers tend to search for certain features, or attributes, within particular categories of clothing. Secondly, and critically, brands that use product attributes sell their stock and grow their business.
On the other hand, brands that fail to implement product attributes are inevitably left behind. Your brand could sell twenty different types of red suits, but if customers can’t find them, they won’t buy them. As a result, understanding that product attributes drive this status quo is vital.
What Are Product Attributes?
Every product you stock has a unique set of features and characteristics, which can be described as “product attributes.” Also known as metadata or product tags, product attributes help you and your customers distinguish one product from another.
For example, a blouse can be differentiated from another blouse by its brand, material, and colour, among other things. No two blouses are the same (unless, of course, they’re the exact same product). Even two blouses that look very similar can differ in their cut, length, hemline, and similar.
In fashion, product attributes commonly fall under the following attribute groups:
Groups can be further refined into attributes. For example, fit can be sorted into categories such as fitted, chunky, oversized, skinny-fit, slim-fit, regular-fit, bandage, bodycon, boxy, loose, slouchy, maternity, and so on.
Why Do Product Attributes Matter?
The importance of product attributes for fashion retailers cannot be understated. Product attributes are the building block for all customer-facing/user experience and internal/operational efficiency technology solutions. Having a robust foundation of product attributes and accurate metadata allows brands to easily adopt additional revenue-boosting solutions.
Below are just some of the reasons why some of the most successful retailers value product attributes.
Improved product discovery
Imagine this scenario: Patricia, a potential customer, goes onto your brand’s site and searches for a “polka dot summer dress.” Patricia is in the right place: your brand has a dress that meets the customer’s description exactly.
However, your brand’s products are not tagged correctly, forcing a potential customer to wade through multiple pages of irrelevant results before they finally find a dress that resembles what they’re looking for. What are the chances that Patricia will sift through your product catalogue looking for what she wants? Honestly, extremely low — it’s more likely that Patricia will get frustrated, go back to Google, and visit a competitor’s site instead.
This sort of scenario ultimately has one result for your brand: site abandonment. The vast majority of site abandonment happens during the discovery phase when visitors can’t find what they are looking for quickly and easily. That’s because customers — especially customers that shop online — are impatient. Research shows that less than a third of customers will put up with more than two inconveniences before they leave an e-commerce store. Furthermore, almost two-thirds of consumers say that if a shopping experience is poor, they are unlikely to shop with the same brand ever again.
On the other hand, if a brand’s stock is tagged with correct and detailed attributes, visitors can find exactly what they are looking for. Better search results inevitably lead to improved product discovery and, most importantly, a frictionless customer experience.
The usefulness of product attributes also extends beyond just digital storefronts. For shop floor assistants, properly tagged products make it easier to locate items in-store customers are looking for. Rather than spending valuable time attempting to hunt down that skirt a customer may be interested in, shop assistants can instead spend that extra time delivering personalised and attentive experiences.
Persuasive product pages
When customers find the item they’re looking for, product attributes can provide them with additional information on top of what may be apparent from the product title, description, and photo.
Seeing how cart abandonment often happens due to concerns about the quality or fit of clothing — in one study, 20% of purchase failures were the result of incomplete or unclear product information — having extra information can influence a customer’s purchase decision and is especially important when shoppers can’t see or touch the product physically.
To further boost conversions, brands can combine product attributes with insights into customer behaviour, like their geographic location and past purchases. As a result, you can make better, more relevant recommendations to both new and returning customers.
Online, this personalisation can take the form of “Complete the Look” outfit recommendations and relevant, customer-specific promotional campaigns. In store, understanding each customer’s style based on the types of product attributes they go for can help store assistants offer VIP experiences to more customers through personalised styling recommendations.
Predictive and stock performance analysis
Product attributes are also invaluable when it comes to understanding more general customer preferences. Retailers who have implemented product attributes can see what type of products are selling versus the types that are not. For example, if you can see that “bishop sleeves” are continuously selling out; you know it makes sense to stock more blouses, dresses, and jumpers that feature that specific sleeve type. Conversely, if you notice that “puff sleeves” are constantly getting discounted, you gain valuable insight into what your customers don’t like.
Product attributes also help brands draw on and understand seasonal trends and how they impact their customers’ purchasing decisions. If the vast majority of a brand’s customers search for relaxed-fit, floral, maxi dresses with cowboy boots, then they know that their customers have adopted the “Boho Chic” trend. Brands can then push this trend more in their store, for example, by automatically creating an occasion/trend shop by pulling the products that have those attributes, as well as use this trend on other touchpoints.
With so many use cases, leveraging attributes is increasingly vital for growth-oriented fashion businesses. However, in addition to understanding the value of product attributes, you also need to know how best to implement them. To learn about the best practices for product attributes, check out part two of our blog post series on product attributes, where we outline the four steps each brand should take if they want to increase sales with product attributes.
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