Are you an aspiring entrepreneur, looking to start your very own online clothing venture? Feeling a little unnerved by how you don’t have any idea how to start? Or maybe you’re feeling intimidated by the enormity of the whole task, wondering how you’ll ever go about achieving it?
Fashion e-Commerce: 5 Steps to Starting an Online Clothing Store
We know that starting out, it’s easy to get a little scared when you are starting something new. And with so much at stake, it’s okay to feel that way. But fret not, because we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together a list of steps that will guide you in creating an amazing website.
Read on to find out more.
Step 1: Finding Your Clothing Store’s Niche
The foremost thing you need to decide is the niche of your store. The effectiveness of your future steps greatly depends on this, so be sure not to make a rushed decision.
You need to decide what market segment you’re going to specifically target. Once you’ve decided on that, you can conduct thorough, preliminary research on the decided target audience. The better you understand your target customers’ needs, the better you’ll be able to effectively cater to them.
Also remember, you’re going to put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this entire thing. So try to choose a profitable niche you’re passionate about
Note: We highly recommend against trying to cater to more than a single niche. Remember the expression, Jack of all trades, master of none? That holds true here too. Start out small. It is crucial that you direct all your efforts (at least initially) onto a specific niche and try to establish a stronghold in it first.
Step 2: Deciding What Products You’ll Be Selling
When it comes to the market for clothing and apparel, the options are almost endless. From skirts and dresses to waistcoats and bow ties, it’s easy to become confused among possible options. Once again, our advice would be to start out small and conquer one mountain at a time.
If you focus on too many products, you’ll never be able to improve any of them to perfection. On the other hand, if you direct all your designing, producing, and marketing efforts at only a few selected items, you’re more likely to produce good quality output.
Once you have steady profits rolling in from the sale of your main product, you can expand to other garments as well. As an established business, the launch of new products is more likely to be a success.
Keep an Eye on the Latest Fashion Trends
Fashion trends are forever changing, and as someone who’s going to be directly affected by them, you should remain abreast of all the latest happenings in the fashion sphere. Beginning out, you should make it a point to stick to products with stable demand (like t-shirts, for instance) and whose designs can be easily altered to better suit changing trends.
Step 3: Learn From Your Competition
If you’re new to this whole thing, the best way to learn is by observing how your competition runs their operations. You can do this by going to the websites of different competitors and seeing how they’ve designed their websites. How are different categories organized? Is there an online support staff? How do they deal with customer queries?
Moreover, you can order stuff from these websites. This will give you insight into the entire checkout process. Once the products arrive, you can try returning them to see how they handle that process.
You can even try to email them and ask questions about behind the scenes operations, like how they source raw materials for their products and how much staff they hire. If you’re lucky (and maybe, annoyingly persistent enough), you may get all the answers.
Step 4: Setting Up A Website
Now that you’ve worked out your business plan, you can finally start on the fun part: creating and setting up a website.
First things first, you need to acquire a domain. A convenient way to do this is to buy through eCommerce platforms like Shopify or WordPress. The former is a good option for novices who aren’t particularly skilled at designing and don’t have the budget to hire a professional designer.
The next task is to design the website. Remember that the design and general layout of your website will go a long way in determining its popularity with users. You need to come up with something easy on the eyes, while simultaneously being user-friendly so that your customers can easily navigate their way around it.
Also remember that since you’re an online store, the only way for your customers to gauge the quality of your products is through the pictures you put up on your website. If your budget allows, consider hiring a professional photographer to get the best possible results.
Step 5: Promote the Heck Out Of Your Online Store
Now that your online store is up and running, the next step is to promote your newly set up business to attract customers and help you grow. Here are a few great options:
Social media has become so deeply ingrained in most individuals’ lifestyles, that it has become a major tool for marketing. Marketing across popular social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook is highly cost-effective, and can significantly increase traffic and sales on your website.
Creating a pleasing aesthetic for your social media brand page is definitely a must that will help you win followers. Keep in mind that social media is teeming with pages similar to yours. What’s the added incentive that your particular page brings to the table? Think out of the box, and find a way to differentiate yourself from the rest.
Another great way to increase your brand awareness is by collaborating with social media influencers. Target influencers who have a considerable social media fan following in the same niche. If people see their favorite influencer wearing your designs, your social reach will increase massively. You won’t believe how the right word by the right person can make all the difference.
A great way to increase your page’s reach is by putting out paid ads across different social platforms. Google AdWords and Facebook Advertising are two of the most effective ways to garner more likes and followers.
These ads target potential customers, who otherwise would not have come across your page. If you have the budget for them, we would definitely recommend investing.
Right now you’re probably bursting with motivation and enthusiasm. That’s great. But be mindful that running an online store is no easy task; it is bound to be taxing at times.
You’ll face setbacks, no doubt. All great businesses do. However, you shouldn’t be discouraged. Instead, build on those setbacks, and keep on improving. Because with the right attitude, there’s nothing you can’t do.