So you find yourself wanting to start an online clothing store - Great! Ecommerce offers an excellent opportunity for businesses to get off the ground without the unnecessary overheads that come with having a traditional business with physical premises.
However, thinking about starting an online store and actually starting one are two very different things. It’s easy to foresee a world where customers flock to your website as soon as it's up and you become a household name overnight - but achieving this will require a fair amount of work to find a strong product to market fit.
Here are the top ten essential factors to keep in mind when starting an online clothing store that continues to bring in steady revenue month to month.
Everyone needs clothes, but everyone has a different preference. Instead of trying to sell clothes to everyone, choose something more specific that is based on your personal interests and business objectives.
There are plenty of online clothing stores around, and if your brand is the same as the very many others out there - the likelihood of getting ahead of any of them is low.
Products and ideas that you are passionate about are more likely to be successful. Think about the kind of clothing items you’d like to see on the market more and what kind of items you’d be excited to share with the public.
You may love women’s high-waisted jeans, but every other store is already selling them - so making a name for yourself will be virtually impossible. Find a place to step in where there is a unique proposition that will allow faster growth and the ability to make money.
In order to build your product or service, you will need to conduct extensive market research.
Your unique background, passion and experience play a big role in the success of your online clothing store. For example, if your background, passion and experience is in extreme sports, consider clothing lines that may relate. If this isn’t relevant, find the holes in the current market in which you can make an impact or add value.
Know your Target Audience
One of the most important things to consider when opening an online clothing store is who you’ll be selling your products to. This is important for what kind of products you sell, how you’ll design your website, your marketing strategy and your shipping requirements.
Create buyer personas to determine exactly who you are targeting to buy from your online clothing store.
Choosing the right domain name for your online business is absolutely crucial. It’s one of the most important initial steps to take to build a brand online which many fail to get right.
Picking an SEO-friendly domain name is essential. It will take time and a lot of consideration. If you choose a domain name not suitable for your business, you may end up losing search traffic, revenue, or even worse - Google marking your website as spam.
Things to consider when choosing your domain name:
Work with expert suppliers/build a strategic supplier partnership
Your website is inevitably the face of your brand. The eCommerce platform on which you build your online clothing store is a massive part of how smoothly you’ll be able to run your business.
Important factors to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform:
Does the platform offer all the tools your need to build a successful online clothing store? Does it have marketing capabilities, inventory management and can you sell on multiple channels? Can you customise your checkout experience and automate sales tax? Simply put, will the eCommerce platform your choose have the ability to grow with your business?
Mobile devices have become an accessory of everyday life for millions of people. In 2021, 4.32 billion unique mobile internet users were recorded, which indicated that over 90% of the world’s internet population use a mobile device to go surf the web. Questions to ask yourself would be - does my website builder optimise for mobile? Will online shoppers be able to browse your store with ease on their phones?
Does the eCommerce platform allow you to create a store that looks amazing, but also functions at an optimal level? How easy is it to customise your storefront’s design in the front and back end? Ensure the website builder has a good CMS. A great CMS allows flexibility and creates opportunities to present content in more unique and interesting ways. A CMS system should be flexible enough to allow your designers and developers to choose the exact look and feel of your site.
When creating your online clothing store, the most important thing is how you’ll get paid. This is the process you’ll have to take to ensure payments come through smoothly and securely when your products are purchased online.
What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway is a merchant service provided by an e-commerce application service provider that authorizes credit card or direct payments processing for e-businesses and online retailers on their websites.
Now is the time to design your online storefront and ensure that your design is optimised to enhance conversions.
You want your website to look great, but you also want to make sure that your customers’ journey is seamless through the purchasing and checkout process.
Unless you’re a top name brand that doesn’t need any explanation, your potential customers will definitely want to know what you have on offer immediately when visiting your site. Make it clear exactly what clothing you sell for your website visitors.
Through every stage of the buying process on your website, your customers must know what they need to do next to ensure a smooth flow to checkout. Make sure your CTAs’ text is instinctive and makes it clear where the customer will end up when they click it.
Add a large and attractive Shop Now button on your website’s homepage that takes your customer to your catalogue. On every product page make sure to include a prominent Buy Now and Add to Cart CTA.
Create a navigation bar in your website header that takes your customers exactly where they want to go. You’re an online clothing store, so ensure you create tabs and categorize for men’s, women’s, kids and any other categories you sell - as well as a tab for what is currently on sale.
Allow your customers to easily track what they have in their carts by adding a shopping cart link in the top right corner of your site that sticks when navigating through your web pages.
Include key links in your site’s footer that include your shipping and returns policies, payment icons, links to your social media pages and general contact info. Be sure that your user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are on top form at all times.
Product photography is an essential aspect to selling successfully online. Your customers want to see what the product they’re buying looks like up close, and they need to feel confident and trust the product before purchasing it online. Use professional photos and videos to showcase your product’s look, feel, size, dimensions, weight, and overall quality.
Ensure your online clothing store is unforgettable with strong branding. Branding includes everything from your business’ name, logo, colours to your tone of voice. Your business’ brand should relate strongly to the type of customer you wish to attract.
Once you decide on a logo and content style, use exactly this when designing anything your business creates for the public, including:
Having an impressive, professional website and a consistent branding strategy is even more impactful than you would have thought. By giving your customers the chance to get to know you on a one-to-one basis, they're much more likely to buy from you.
Online marketing is somewhat overwhelming at first simply because there are so many different ways to go about it. Here are a few tips on driving customers to your online store using free and paid marketing strategies.
Create a business page for your online store on all relevant social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram. Update your business information on your profile page, including website link, location and contact details.
Then, actively post about any promotions, sales and new p[roducts and link them to your online store. Customers can even shop directly from your social media page by integrating your eCommerce website with Facebook Shop or Instagram Shop.
Get an email contacts list together by adding a lightbox to your site that motivates customers to sign up, or by adding a sign-up form to your website. Offer them a discount on their next purchase to encourage them even more to join your mailing list.
Use an email marketing tool to send out newsletters about sales, business updates and more.
Ensure that your site is optimized to rank well on Google’s search results. Make it effortless for your customers to find your online store when they’re looking for the types of clothing that you sell. A few ways to do this is by writing keyword optimized meta titles and descriptions for each of your website pages, posting regular keyword optimised blogs, gaining links and by making sure your technical SEO is in good health.
Target your ideal customers on social media and Google with paid ads. First, determine the campaign’s main objective - Do you want to gain more traffic, customer engagement, enquiries or conversions? Then, determine your ad spend budget and how long you want the ads to run. You’ll need to create your ideal audience to target based on their location, demographics, interests and more.
To find out more about how to select and operate your product delivery and online payment process, check out our ebook, Couriers, Costs, and eCommerce.