Running an online clothing business can be exciting. Just a few months into this fast-paced environment will have sales coming in, your profits going up, and you thinking you are in the running to win the annual Stevie Awards.
Whether your aim is just to add to your existing income, or you plan to sack off your regular job, here is a great guide which will help you market your business.
A Catchy Domain Name
One of the first things to sort out, is your domain name.
Remember, this is the first thing potential customers see when they find your business. It should be catchy and relate well to what you are doing. Grab a pen and a piece of paper; then brainstorm some ideas.
Avoid using longer phrases. Sticking to a maximum of three words will be easier on your customer’s memory. Don’t choose something which is difficult to spell, or could be spelt a number of ways. Very often this will mean people cannot actually reach your site, often ending up at your competitors instead.
Try to include your business name or main product within the domain name. This can help you to rank higher in the search engines. Always choose a .Com for the Top Level Domain (TLD), again this has SEO advantages.
Make sure you have plenty of ideas to work around, as you might find some of the ones you want are already taken.
The best domain names are always short and memorable. This makes life much easier for the person typing them into the search engine. Word of mouth plays a part, ideally a user should be able to hear it once and know the correct spelling.
Having specific products to sell means you should consider an E-commerce platform.
Never make the mistake of thinking you could get by with a standard WordPress blog arrangement. These aren’t geared up as fully-fledged sales sites. While, some might come close, they will need a lot of customization before you or your customers can use them.
There are a number of considerations when it comes to choosing the best platform. Here are three of the most important ones:
- Ease of viewing your products
- Checkout facility
- Back-end administration
To be successful you must make it easy for your customers to find products they want. Moreover, you should lead them to the checkout facility in a few short minutes.
Unless you can lead them to buying something quickly, there is a good chance they will lose interest. Additionally, if you make it hard for them to complete the transaction they will choose another supplier.
There are lots of different platforms you could choose. Some of the more popular ones include:
- Big Commerce
People who buy clothes like to see reviews of different items, therefore selecting a platform which incorporates a blog facility is a great idea.
Writing posts or publishing reviews can be a brilliant way to build up a customer base, not to mention making finding your site on Google easier.
Shop around to find the E-commerce platform which suits your needs. Many of them will offer a trial period, allowing you to put it through its paces. However, you won’t truly know how it performs until it’s been up and running for a while.
Choose carefully, changing your E-commerce platform is like changing your hairstyle half-way through a cut.
For further information on how to select an e-commerce platform, I recommend taking a look at Which E-Commerce Platform Is Right for me? an Infographic on the Daily Infographic website.
Money Handling Facilities
You will need to set up a merchant account, otherwise you won’t be able to accept credit cards online.
At the start you might not make very many sales. Remember this when choosing a merchant account. You can expect to pay a set-up fee, along with a monthly service fee, plus there will be a percentage deduction for each transaction. If you only have a few customers ,you will still need to cover the monthly fee.
As an alternative to a bank facility, you could look at setting up an account with PayPal. Although they will still have transaction fees, these tend to be lower than some of the banks.
Social Media Channels
Having a great E-commerce site is a start; however, there is more you can do.
Social media will play a helping role in getting your products in front of potential buyers. If you have a busy Facebook or Twitter account then this can be a plus. But, don’t just leave it there.
One of the best channels comes in the shape of Pinterest. This fast growing network lends itself particularly well to clothing and fashion. It’s huge following of customers will visit as they seek inspiration from images. Used properly, this can tie-in very nicely with your new business.
Remember, as with any other form of social media marketing there is a degree of etiquette to follow. Don’t use these platforms to continually send out your own message. This is a sure-fire way for others to alienate you from the discussion. Instead, try to find ways you can help people.
For further information on Pinterest marketing, I recommend you read 5 Classic Mistakes the Pinterest Marketer Must Avoid, an article by Glenn Cowan on the Social Media Sun website.
Sufficient Stock Levels
Assuming everything is in place, you should be able to make some sales.
If you decide to carry stock, as soon as the transaction has been completed you can organise shipping the items. Don’t keep customers waiting as this will negatively affect the chances of repeat business and or referrals.
However, if you are going to order from a supplier for each sale, make sure you have more than one wholesale source.
Also, think about the lead times. Are you going to order a finished item or take care of the production? An example of this could be stretch lace underwear, where there are options to either buy the material or the end product. Factoring these times into delivery quotations will help to avoid disappointment.
Certain items can fluctuate in price, due to seasonal demands. Don’t fall into the trap of forgetting this, only to be without a profit once the sale has been finalised.
Another issue, albeit a nicer one, is when you get larger volumes of orders. Could you handle things if you suddenly got an order for 200 pieces? Make sure your supply line is robust enough to cope with this.
Conclusion: Marketing Your Online Clothing Business
We are not saying these tips will guarantee you to be the next holder of the coveted Stevie Award. But, by following them, they can really help you make the most from your online business.
If you want happier customers and more profit, get yourself a dedicated E-commerce platform and make sure you carry sufficient stock.
Having thought about it for a long time, your author (Karen Stammers) finally took the plunge to set up her own online lingerie business. Although it is early days, Karen is delighted by the way that her E-commerce site has been able to handle the orders.