Fashion & Lifestyle industry is extremely competitive, making the task of establishing your brand in people’s mind highly challenging. But brands like Zulily, MyHabit, iDeel, etc. seem to have found the perfect solution to this problem by focusing on delivering its consumers special finds each day at jaw-dropping prices. These sites feature an always-fresh curated collection of products for the whole family, including clothing, home decor, toys, gifts and more.
It is less about retail distribution and more about consumer discovery and merchandising, which is a big reason of low prices. While this results in longer delivery timeframe, it hasn’t stopped websites’ popularity from going through the roof. Looking at the same, FATbit did an in-depth analysis of this business model and website functionality to help entrepreneurs launch a similar clone.
But before anything, let’s take a look at its business model and how it makes money to get a better understanding of the market.
These platforms market the products via limited-time merchandising technique known as flash sales. Most of these e-commerce websites, do not rely on reviews as they have loyal customer base due to which products get sold quite easily. Few companies do not carry any inventory and all the orders when completed are sent directly to the merchant for shipping. It can take weeks to complete orders, which is totally opposite of the traditional e-commerce industry’s push towards on-demand instant deliveries. Moreover, the company also does not furnish returns or exchanges. They negotiate with their partner brands before the sale for the purchasing price of the items. Money is earned by charging a commission on every sale from the merchants.
Websites that host flash sales are traditional e-commerce websites. This is why they follow a completely different approach when it comes to their homepage. In order to have a more accurate picture of the website functionality of such businesses, let’s take a look at all the features one by one.
As soon as you land on homepage, you get the idea what the website is all about. Most of the flash sales websites make it apparent that the user needs to create an account in order to access them. The homepage showcases a popup which asks users to either sign-in or to create an account to get daily deals/discounts. This is where flash sales websites differ from traditional e-commerce lifestyle platforms.
Take a look at these 9 Homepage Design Practices to Improve Usability and UX
One of the biggest challenges in front of websites like Zulily and iDeel is to entice users into creating an account. While few e-commerce websites leverage upon various functionality across their website, the others do not have any engagement channels other than the popup banner. Moreover, Account creation form has always been a tough nut to crack for most e-commerce websites. But the successful ones manage to outperform all expectations with one of the most minimal account creation forms. Users only need to add an email address and password to start shopping. According to them it is as simple as logging into the account. FATbit analysts recommend you to follow similar approach (quick signup) while making a discounted eCommerce website clone.
The login process is similar to “create account”, which requires users to input their email and password into the popup window. Additionally, users can also login via Facebook.
The homepage of deals based eCommerce website must be designed to give it a distinctive look. As you focus on flash sales, the product catalog changes more often than traditional e-commerce platforms. The homepage showcases latest products on sale in a nice grid-like pattern, which is highly user engaging. It includes top picks from various categories like Women, Men, girl, Boy etc. This type of approach gives the homepage new dynamics, where users would get to see new items each day.
Keep the footer highly minimal with links to all important content pages, social networking profiles, and mobile application. This is essential to keep the focus on the main aspect of the webpage.
The business model revolves around a flash sale platform, where an item is available for sale for two/three/four/seven days. Each and every day new items are available for purchase which are displayed in the “New Today” section. Each website ensures that its users do not miss any chance of buying an item they desire. This is why they put a “Last Chance” section, which displays all the items on sale slated to end on that particular day. FATbit analysts found this feature to be highly user-friendly and recommend as must-have in a fashion and flash sales clone script.
Item discovery is vital for any e-commerce platform. Most websites incorporate various channels which make it easy for users to find products. You can have a dedicated section where users can find items via category. User engagement should be the top priority of your designers in order to keep the overall UI identical across all the webpages. From categories to events and items, everything is presented in a grid along with engaging images. In addition to it, number of events in a particular category are also mentioned alongside.
Businesses based on a flash sale model, give a tiered approach to their website. Each and every category houses different events which depict sales depending upon the items. These events last for 2-3 days. This approach comes in handy when a particular item in a flash sale is not completely sold. It can then be clubbed with other items in another event. This is a seamless way to enhance the efficiency of the website and increasing sales.
As discussed earlier you can follow a tiered approach on your website for item discovery. A single event houses different items on sale from various categories. The overall design of the webpage should be highly intuitive and must include filters to simplify item search. Additionally, users can mark the event as well as a particular item as favourite by clicking on the heart button. They can also share the items on social networking websites.
When it comes to the items page, FATbit analysts believe that only few of flash sales platforms have hit the bull’s eye with their user engaging design. presence of relevant product details at appropriate places without cluttering the overall webpage is the USP of top-selling websites like iDeel, Zulily, MyHabit, etc. The ‘items’ webpage is divided into three sections. Top most section displays the information about the item. It includes:
The other two sections may contain “You may also like” and “more items from that event”. When the user clicks on “Add to basket” link, he is not taken to the shopping cart. This approach is essential to encourage users to continue shopping rather than ending purchase process. FATbit researchers are of the view that a similar strategy is essential to increase the sales of a clone website.
Most websites do not focus heavily on the design of the shopping cart as it is the last step before the overall process of buying culminates. But in reality, it is one of the most crucial stages as a user can drop the idea of buying an item if the checkout process is cumbersome. The left panel shows all items in the shopping cart while the right panel displays the order summary. Users have the option to remove the item from the cart, edit/change the quantity of a particular item or save the item for later. The website also showcases others sections like “You May Also Like” and “Recently Viewed” items. We believe that all sections are pitch perfect and do not require any further improvements. A similar feature is highly recommended if you are looking forward to build a clone website.
The best eCommerce websites offering flash sales have incorporated various measures in order to ensure that users do not have to take additional steps while buying items. Their checkout process is divided into two different steps which include:
A vital feature added to this process is that users can save both the details which can shorten the checkout process during next purchase. If you plan to cater to various countries across the globe, make sure about the evaluation of shipping charges and displaying it. Show clearly whether not users have to bear the Duty and VAT charges additionally. You can also give two options (like many websites) when it comes to shipping and users can select either of the two depending upon their preference.
Rather than relying on filters, few websites put in various sections that make the process of item discovery easy. Trending section displays all popular items currently on sale. These are further categorized into:
The recommendation engine is one of the biggest reasons behind the success of popular websites. We recommend a similar feature for your clone scripts meant to create websites like iDeel and Zulily.
Most of the businesses do not keep the item in a warehouse. Instead, they work in conjunction with all the brands to deliver the items to them once the order has been placed. This helps them keep their prices low and manage a more diverse range of items. But one drawback of such approach is that the delivery time of items becomes very long. In most of the cases, it can range from 2-4 weeks. However, the ones trying hard to preserve user interest have a dedicated section on their website, which displays all the items that are ready to ship. These items are shipped out of the warehouse in 1-2 days as compared to standard shipping of 2-4 weeks. However, during our analysis, we found various inconsistencies, which have been discussed later in the improvements section.
Another prominent feature of fashion and flash sales platforms is that they allow users to shop items based on their size. This is essential in cases where a user likes an item but it is not available in their respective size. In order to diminish that problem, you can allow users to directly shop for items based on their preferred size.
Most e-commerce platforms rely heavily on search for product discovery. having features like autocomplete or advanced filters is a must but in case your website lacks them, make sure you at least allow users to find relevant products easily. Users should be able to streamline the results by selecting the appropriate size/age/other. However, we still feel there is room for improvement in this section. Find more on this in the improvements section of this post.
The internet boom has led to a wide array of e-commerce platforms that work on unique business models. This can sometimes be confusing for novice users. This is why most websites provide FAQ and Help section to take care of user queries. Do not forget “How it Works” section, even though you have a dedicated FAQ corner. Just make it user-friendly with all the relevant information and describe all the vital points related to website functionality for the benefits of the end users.
Websites that work in collaboration with hundreds of brands make it easy for users to shop adding a dedicated section which lists all the brands associated with the platform. Users can easily browse and find their preferred brand from the list and continue shopping.
As discussed earlier, creating an account should be as simple as logging into the account. On most of the platforms, users only have to input their email and desired password to activate their account. But in order to give a more personal touch to the overall user experience, few websites allow users to edit personal information under account information section. Moreover, users can also connect their account with Facebook to shop socially with their friends.
Here, users can find all their orders under one section making it easy for them to get all the information related to shipping and tracking of orders. Users can even find a detailed history of their order in the past 60 days, 6 months or a year.
For any new e-commerce platform, referrals are one of the most efficient ways to increase user base. For this, you can allow your users to invite their friends, and earn some credits (monetary) per friend when their order ships. Each and every user has a unique invitation link which they can share via email, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Many of them do not offer credit when a friend joins the platform but when the friend makes the first purchase. This diminishes bogus referral just to earn credit.
Since the websites are based on a flash sale model, items get quickly vanished from the website when the sale ends. So in order to ensure that a user does not miss any item, the website must offer notification service. Users can set a notification for individual items, which are triggered once the sale on the items is going to end or just last piece is left. However, we felt that this feature can be enhanced further. More on this has been discussed in the Improvements section.
Most e-commerce platforms incorporate features that will result in a connected community. One such innovative social sharing feature is a gift card. With this feature, user can gift vouchers as well as gift cards to their friends that can be redeemed by entering the gift card code in the corresponding section.
“My Favourites” is one of the most used features on any e-commerce platform. It is highly beneficial in marking items and viewing them later. Users can mark events, brands, and items as favorites by clicking on the heart shaped button to the corresponding page.
If you are thinking to cater to a global audience, keep your interest upfront, and make the website more localized. Give users the option to change the shipping location and preferred currency, which makes the platform localized. FATbit analysts highly recommend a similar feature in a clone website if you want to cater global audience.
A common issue faced by the users of flash sale websites is when an item is sold out even though the sale has not ended. In that case, users can put the item in their waitlist. This way when the next contingency of that particular item goes on sale, it is automatically added to the cart of the user. Search for a flash sale clone script that brings this feature.
These are open marketplaces where any brand which makes or supplies merchandise can sell products. A merchant has to fill a contact form and get approved before becoming an associate brand. The form requires following information:
It is vital to note that the vendor can only select a single category. In order to select multiple categories, they have to click on multiple category check boxes.
While we have covered all the features that need to be part of every flash sale based website, there are some areas that need improvements to further enhance the user experience.
Intuitive web design and robust functionality have been the reason behind its massive user base of successful brands. But there still are many gray areas on popular websites too which needs due attention. A clone with the above-mentioned improvements will surely have the capability to capture the market share.
If you are one those entrepreneurs looking forward to enter this industry, then, make sure you keep all the above-mentioned features and improvements in mind. If you have something unique in mind that you want to incorporate in your clone, then, contact the expert team of designers and developers at FATbit.
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