If you’re planning to start a business, more specifically an ecommerce venture, why not start an online fashion store? And since you’ve got here, it would help if you got started with my introduction post Start an Online Fashion Store in 7 Simple Steps: Part 1. In the post, we discussed how to choose a niche for your online fashion store, how to select the business model on which you’ll be operating and what all should be considered while strategizing.
Looking ahead, let’s actually execute your business plan. For this, you’ll need to establish a website where you’ll take orders and communicate with your customers, you will need a payment platform and lots of marketing ideas to attract customers and make them choose you over other options.
So let’s get started with bringing your online fashion store to life. First things first:
Step 4: Set up the Online Fashion Store
When I set say set up the online fashion store, the main question to be answered is:
Who’s building your website?
Ecommerce Platforms like Shopify, Wix or WordPress can help you build a beautiful and professional ecommerce site using simple tools that are easy to use. This is great news for people who can’t develop a website on their own, because the site builder takes up all the hard technical work, leaving plenty of time for the entrepreneur to focus on actual sales.
When you choose a site builder, there are some questions you need to ask yourself:
- How big is your online fashion store? (The ecommerce platform can be chosen based on the number of products you have)
- What is your budget? (So that you can choose a plan that best fits your need)
- Is the UI comfortable?
- Does the UX impress you?
- Does the platform have a good client support mechanism in place?
Some elements that are important:
Once you’ve decided what to call your online fashion store, you can buy a creative domain name separately from one of the many vendors like domain.com or Namecheap. Or, you could buy them directly through your ecommerce platform as well. One advantage of using your own domain name from a third party vendor is that you get to keep it even when you migrate from the platform.
The theme is the first impresson that your customers have when they visit you. Choose a theme for your website that’s appealing to your customers and suitable for your product. The appearance and user-friendliness of the website are things that should be decided over some time.
Also, you need to customize your theme, adding or deleting elements reflecting your business. You can add more product pages or a page for your company blog, try out different images and positions for elements on the page or integrate social media feeds.
Pointers to choose the perfect theme for your online fashion store:
- Age group of the target market
- Availability of themes in the ecommerce platform
- Level of customizability
It’s important to give your customers the right number of choices on your website. If given too many they will keep scrolling for more without making a purchase. On the other hand, nobody likes a store without a fair number of products to choose from.
Secondly, navigation is very important. Customers should have a hassle-free experience shopping for what they want. A good design always makes locating and finding things in the store easy-peasy.
To stay on top of your competitors, you need to know how well they have organised their products. Don’t shy away fom visiting your competition often and learning from them.
Important pointers for products:
- Product categories – with filtering and sorting
- Number of products per page
- Format in which products are placed
Now comes the money part! To accept payments from customers, you need to connect payment processors to your website. These are usually integrated by the ecommerce platform that you’re using.
If you want to experience how your customers feel when they’re making a payment via your website, try out a test for the checkout stage. Payment processing must be as simple and hassle-free as possible because that’s where your sales and revenue come in.
Step 5: Launch (Social profiles, promotions, marketing)
Once you’re sure that you’ve got all the steps done – business idea, strategy, website, it’s time to launch. This part covers creating social media accounts, and putting markting and analytics techniques in place. Let’s get started:
How are you launching?
Launch is like birth, in the digital space. To get the attention that a business needs, we need to be ready with all the resources we can muster. A launch strategy is of utmost importance. So, how do you launch?
Here are some of our ideas:
- Run a social media campaign
- Publish a series of blogs leading up to your launch
- Send targeted ads and offers to your mailing list (Launch offers, make sure you don’t spam them)
- Offer discounts and incentives for first purchase and referral
How Social is your Online Fashion Store?
We just talked about running social media campaigns to create a buzz about the launch. Your social account pages must be created, active and thriving with content well before the D-day.
However, you can get an influencer to get the word of the big out through their page as well. Supplement this with your social media posts, ads and keep those followers coming!
You may also like: How Web Scraping Social Media helps Ecommerce Owners
Web scraping is a great way to analyse your competition w.r.t picing as well as to collect data from social media sites to find out what’s trending and what’s not. Read more at Datahut.
Have you got mail?
Try to answer questions like:
What is your email marketing strategy like? How do you collect addresses? Do you prepare and schedule mails in advance? How often do you send them?
It is best to have an email marketing strategy planned out for your first three months.
Step 6: Drive Traffic to your Store
The most important task after you launch your website is bringing traffic to your brand new online fashion store. So, what drives traffic?
To list a few:
- Email marketing
- Referral marketing
- Instagram and Facebook marketing
- Guest posts on popular blogs
- Influencer marketing.
As a fresh entrant into the market without a mailing list or particulars to start with, it is good to actively employ Google ads. Social media marketing is extremely effective, especially as seen in the case of Instagram.
Here are our tips on how to drive your first ten customers to the website:
Step 7: Continuous Review of Business: Marketing and Analytics
Setting up Google analytics lets you keep track of the traffic to your store in real-time. At all times, analytics is necessary to determine which of your marketing techniques work and which don’t.
Here’s a guide on setting up Google Analytics: How to Set Up Google Analytics in 5 Simple Steps
After the noise around the launch, it is more important to sustain the momentum by regularly engaging your cusomers via social media ads and relevant content as blog posts or videos by influencers. More importantly, reward them through Giveaway Campaigns on Instagram and get them and their friends to sign up for exclusive discounts and other incentives.
Keep connected with your customers, and update your strategy to stay with the times. Happy sales!