Running an online store can be pretty exciting, but it also takes a lot of hard work to get everything right. If you’re in the fashion industry, the challenges you face are even more significant because customers have high demands for what they wear. However, just because making your online fashion store profitable is challenging doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
We’ve compiled a list of the top tips to make your digital storefront shine, both for fashion products and everything else. Here’s what you need to know.
Step One: Do Your Research
Research is an essential part of any new business, as it can help you focus on the right elements when starting. In the fashion industry, your homework should consist of the following:
Know Your Audience – Who do you want to buy your products the most? Even if you know the broad demographic (i.e., children’s clothing), you have to be a little more specific. For example, are you selling cheap clothes for kids ages two and up or baby-centric clothing and accessories? Once you’ve determined your product line, you have to determine what your audience values the most. If you are selling kid’s clothes, you have to appeal to the parents, meaning you need to know what they’re looking for the most.
Know Your Competition – One advantage of selling fashion items is that consumer tastes vary greatly, so there’s always a high demand for new and exciting clothing and accessories. That said, you need to know what to expect from your competitors, both big and small. Realistically, you won’t be able to compete with the big box stores, so you should look at other small online retailers to see what they’re doing right (and wrong). Look at other fashion stores and see which positive elements you can transfer to your business.
Know the Industry – Fashion trends change regularly, so you have to be on top of these shifts to stay successful. Pay attention to trends for your target demographic and try to adapt your product offerings accordingly. If possible, you want your items to become trendy themselves, so show off any original pieces that might catch on. Fortunately, it’s easy to market fashion products through various marketing channels.
Step Two: Focus on a Niche
As we mentioned, it’s virtually impossible to compete with big-name retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, and Amazon. Fortunately, since these brands focus on affordable fashion, you can differentiate your store by offering unique items that customers can’t find anywhere else.
That said, until you can expand your product line, you should focus your attention on a specific niche. For example, let’s say you’re selling children’s clothes and accessories. Instead of selling to all kids of all ages, you can narrow your selection to fit infants and toddlers. Then, you can refine your niche a bit further by selling handcrafted items or sustainably-sourced clothes. Maybe your clothing is designed to adapt to kids as they grow, so parents don’t have to keep buying new ones every year.
Overall, it’s best to start with a targeted niche and build up from there. This way, it’s much easier to develop marketing materials and find an audience. Then, once your brand gets some recognition, you can expand your product line accordingly.
Step Three: Create Killer Marketing Materials
Thankfully, fashion stores can create marketing material much more easily than other online retailers. Whether you design your own pieces or buy them from a distributor, all you need is a model or two and a few hours with a camera. Then, you can have the model show off different outfits and individual items. You can take tons of photos in a single day, which you can then use for product descriptions and marketing campaigns.
In addition to photos, you should also make a compelling logo for your online storefront.
When developing a fashion logo, you want the font to match your store’s style. For example, if your clothes appeal to wealthier clients, you may choose a script font that looks classy and elegant. If you’re focused on affordability, your logo may use a simple and clean font instead. You can also create abstract elements for a more unique look. Before you start the design process it’s a good idea to get some inspo from other fashion logo designs this can help you determine the best style of logo for your niche.
Once you get your logo dialed in, you can use it on your website, social media profiles, and email blasts.
Step Four: Build an Optimized Website
While it can be relatively easy to make your fashion store stand out, this advantage does come with a pretty significant catch – it takes much longer to build a high-quality website.
With other e-commerce stores, you can resell items from drop shippers and other manufacturers, meaning you can use their images and product descriptions to make your job easier. However, with a fashion store, you need to create everything from scratch, which takes a lot of time. Here are some tips on how to streamline the process:
Optimize as You Go – Search engine traffic will be your primary source of new customers, so you have to use targeted keywords throughout all of your pages. Again, focusing on a niche is better because you can capture more searches. So, instead of trying to rank for “children’s clothing,” you can optimize for something like “Affordable casual toddler’s clothing.” This way, you’re more likely to appeal to your target customers. Incorporating these keywords as you build your pages will save you a lot of time later.
Use Model Images Whenever Possible – Depending on the size of your product catalog, you may not be able to do a photoshoot for everything. In some cases, you’ll have to use static product images against a backdrop. While these pictures can work as placeholders at first, you should try to get model shots for everything as soon as possible. With fashion, customers need to see how the item looks in real life since they can’t try it on digitally.
Start With Big Sellers and Build From There – If you have tons of products, it may be impossible to list everything as soon as you launch. While it’s tempting to post products you only have limited photos or descriptions for, it’s better to wait and post them later. Instead, start with a core product line and slowly add more items after you launch. This way, you can begin selling pieces immediately without bogging yourself down with too much back-end work.
Don’t Forget Shipping and Returns – Realistically, customers will return items regularly for various reasons (i.e., wrong size). So, you have to figure out your logistics for handling both shipping and returns. Also, post your rules front and center, so customers know what to expect.
Step Five: Analyze Your Sales
As a new fashion store, you likely don’t have any sales data to determine which items sell the most. However, once you start getting customers, you need to analyze your sales numbers regularly. This way, you know which pieces are the most popular, and you can adjust your marketing materials accordingly.
Also, look at abandoned carts to see what items customers leave behind. Unfortunately, users can be pretty picky with fashion products, so abandoned carts are part of the shopping experience. However, if some items are getting dropped consistently, that might tell you to remove them or change them, so they’re more appealing.
Overall, running a successful fashion e-commerce site can take time and effort, but with patience and vigilance, you can make a name for yourself. Now that you have these tips, go forth and be fashionable!