For those that have a passion for fashion and want to turn this into a profitable day job, why not delve into the fast-paced world of ecommerce? Selling clothes online has the potential to yield great results, depending on your specific niche. A successful ecommerce store isn’t just about the products you sell; it’s about building a brand that embodies your style. There is no secret formula to follow for a booming business, but there are things you can do to ensure you give it your best shot.
Step 1: Plan, budget and motivate
Before you launch head-first into your online business venture, you will need to make a comprehensive plan and budgeting strategy to ensure success. Budgets will help you clarify how much money you will need to spend on products, and how much you can spare on marketing and promotion. You may mind that you need to launch your fashion brand in stages.
Jot down your ideas whenever you can, and try to capture what your store is all about. Soon you will begin to build a bigger picture of your ecommerce fashion store and create the perfect brand.
Display your goals and plan somewhere visible: preferably where you will see it often. Visualizing your end goal and what you want to achieve through your online store will help you remain focused and ensure you stay motivated.
Compile a comprehensive to-do list to stay on track. Break down big tasks into smaller tasks that are achievable to boost motivation.
Avoid: over-planning. Planning is essential – but too much planning will be unproductive. You need to find a method that works for you, without distracting your focus away from your store. Moodboards work really well to help visualize your goals.
Step 2: Select your sales weapon
Selecting the right platform is essential to creating a successful online store. A poorly designed website that’s difficult to navigate will lose you valuable sales, not to mention hinder your SEO rankings. For fashion brands, a store’s visual appeal is paramount, and you want plenty of ways to attractively display products and merchandize.
Focus on your customer experience to create an easy-to-use website with good user experience (UX). A frumpy, difficult-to-use website is sure to send users running for the hills – or to your competitors.
Save time and money by creating your own ecommerce store with an online store builder. This keeps you independent, because you have 100% access to your site and can make changes and tweaks as you please. Online store builders have lots of themes to pick from to make your site look clean and professional, whatever your level of design experience (and loads of the themes are already geared towards the fashion industry).
Use a popular CMS system that connects you with a large community and crucial support system. This way, if you run into any problems, you can ask the experts and get immediate help.
Avoid: using solutions that operate using open-source code if you are a beginner and don’t have access to web experts. These options sometimes require lots of hard work and coding know-how to make your site look perfect. They may eventually work out cheaper than other options, but cutting costs now could leave you spending more in the long run. If you go with custom coded, enlist the help of a trusted web designer and developer and get clued up yourself using online courses on Udemy.
Step 3: Study the competition
Find out what other businesses in your niche are doing – what’s working well and what could be better? Maybe they have incredible products and a beautifully crafted site, but they don’t offer free returns. You can use this information to make your store even better than the others in your niche.
Lots of companies use their competition to guide their own products and decisions, and it means that you know what you are up against. Monitor their marketing strategies and see what you can learn from them. Do they have high engagement on social media, or perhaps they are targeting customers via email? Which products sell well on their site, and which one don’t? What products are in demand right now?
Ultimately, you have to think about what sets your company apart from the competition to be in with a chance of competing with them.
Avoid: thinking too broadly when it comes to looking at your competition. This is especially true if you are new to online selling – there are always things that companies could improve, even if they are doing lots of the right things. Take a look at a range of different sites more generally, then hone it down to your specific niche. This will give you the nitty-gritty information you need to grow and succeed.
Step 4: Build your social presence
Because you are selling online, you will need to build a strong online presence. And the best way to do this is through your social media channels. Social is huge for fashion brands, and one of the top referers of relevant traffic for this niche. Invest heavily in your social strategy with highly visual and engaging posts, and get local social media influencers to endorse your brand if you can.
It’s a well-known fact that customers prefer a multi-channel approach to shopping and that means, as a seller, you need to offer them this opportunity. People will want to reach you through different channels for support or information about your products when they need it — be ready with a social media support and service strategy.
Create more convincing engagement through social channels by prompting customers to spread the word themselves:
- Place a call to action at the end of your confirmation emails to encourage user generated content on social media. Make this post about your customer, and make them look good!
- People trust other customers’ reviews more than anything else — make online reviews front and center on product pages. For fashion, information on garment fit and quality will be paramount — you may need a separate ranking system.
Social media can actually be pretty good for SEO, and can potentially boost your rankings if you have links heading back to your own site. Just make sure you strike a balance between links to your site and user-focused social media posts.
Avoid: only use social media channels that work well for your store. There’s no point in signing up for lots of channels and barely using them. It’s better to have only a couple that you update regularly than leaving several unpopulated and unused.
Getting yourself set up online is the easy part; the hard work begins when you’re establishing your brand. Focus on your store’s style and tone to ensure you set yourself apart from the competition. Be dedicated, patient and soon you will reap the rewards. How will you get your online store up and running?