Whether you’re an old hand or fairly new to selling on the web, we’re here to help with ways to make your online clothes shop a success.
According to research from Mintel, online fashion sales in the UK increased by a staggering 152% in the five years to 2011 and the sector continues to grow as more and more people get used to the idea of buying things they can’t touch or try on, and as retailers get better at showcasing their products online.
Not confined to the UK, this is a trend reflected around the world, with clothing topping the list of items purchased online globally.
It’s no wonder then, that so many are setting up or already have an online clothing shop.
And if you do decide to start your own online shop with us, our guide tells you all you need to know: How to create an online shop
1. Decide on your USP and shout about it
Why should people buy a piece of jewellery from you and not from another site? What is it that makes your clothing different? Whatever it is that makes you and your products special, be sure to let people know about it.
2. Make your shop name relevant and unforgettable
This point speaks for itself really. But don’t complicate things with an overly complex or long name, as people may struggle to remember it. When someone asks a customer where their super cute shirt/bag/ring is from, you want them to be able to name your site.
3. Study your competitors’ pricing (and make yours more appealing)
You want people to choose you over your competitors, of course, so check out who they are, what they sell, and what they charge. Think about rewarding customers with special offers and sales too.
4. Tidy your shop and categorise
Make viewing your products as easy as possible for visitors. If it’s a chore to find something they’re after, the chances are they’re not going to stick around, so make sure you divide your products into sensible categories so visitors know where they’re going.
5. Make your products sing with your descriptions
Think about your target audience for each product and write the description as if it’s a sales pitch to them. Explain what it is, how it fits, and how it will benefit the buyer. Include plenty of specifics, from the materials used to features and specifications. And if they’ve been featured in the press, make sure you shout about that too – it really can seal the deal. Most of all, write with passion – these are your products after all!
6. Dazzle with your product photography
So you’ve got your product description down, but it won’t do much good if your product photography isn’t brilliant to match. It’s up to you whether you choose to display clothes on a model or as they are, but make sure you include three or four images showing different aspects of your product, from different angles and zoom levels, including close-ups of the material and patterns. Visitors like to see as much detail as possible before parting with their cash. Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than receiving something you’re planning to wear the next night only to find that it doesn’t fit. Cue anguish and wailing. So, to avoid such scruples, make sure you provide exact measurements. If you’re selling to an international audience this is even more important, so be sure to include the details in different formats too.
8. Don’t go overboard with shipping prices
Your product prices may be spot on, but if you have extortionate shipping costs it’ll really put people off buying from you. Once you’ve worked out what it will cost you to send items, work back from that, including any packaging costs. Alternatively, factor shipping costs into your overall costs and you can offer ‘free shipping’.
9. Make returning items a doddle
Hopefully you won’t get too many returned items thanks to your spot-on product descriptions and sizing info, but having a fuss-free returns policy should make you stand out as the shop to buy from.
10. Get social
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years you’ll know that social media is taking off in big and numerous ways. So, it’s kind of expected that you’ll be using social platforms already – whether to advertise special offers and new products or simply to connect with customers who want to chat. But it goes further than that – by 2015 it’s predicted that 50% of web sales are set to occur via social media channels. If you want to get in on the action, you can sell on Facebook by creating your own Facebook shop that links to your website, see our ‘how to’ guide for step-by-step instructions here.
So that’s that. Do let us know how you get on with the advice, and we’d love to hear any more from our veteran clothes shops out there – share in the comments below if you have any wisdom to spread.
And to those of you starting out, it’s worth bearing in mind that it may take a little time before the orders come flooding in – the web’s a big place and you’ll need to work hard to make your name known and build your customer base.
Oh, and remember, if you do decide to start your own online shop with us, our guide tells you all you need to know: How to create an online shop Happy selling!
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