Shopping should be an experience and if you really want to grow your online channel focus on building experiences unavailable at stores. For example, Lucy Activewear has a section called ‘favorite looks’ where they pair clothes into various looks (thanks to The Glam Gals for writing about it). This is a good strategy because this experience is unavailable at retail stores.
Another effective approach is creating expert opinion. Your style gurus couldn’t possibly meet every customer at every store but they can make recommendations for your web audience.
And finally, make sure your web-store is authentic. There is a reason why an unpolished format like blogging is so popular. I believe that reason is authenticity. Imagine if the person managing ‘favorite looks’ was allowed to pick best matching accessories even if they weren’t available on lucy.com? This would elevate them to impartial style guru status and make customers like the site even more because they would now remember lucy.com as an authentic shopping destination.
Related article: Recommending products even when they’re not yours