What do you need to start an online clothing store? In fact, getting started with an online fashion shop isn’t very difficult if you have a clear business development strategy in mind and are aware of the possible pitfalls. That’s why in this guide, we will tell you how to open a clothing store online, paying attention to the mistakes you should avoid on the way and the best practices to keep your fashion shop competitive.
4 Crucial Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up an Online Closing Store
Before discovering how to start an online clothing store, let’s dwell on the crucial mistakes you should avoid since each of them can play a difference between your future project’s success and failure.
- Being inaccurate with item size. Sizing issues are the top reasons why the customers return the items bought. The difficulties with choosing the right size gave rise to the bracketing trend which means that the customers buy several identical items of the different sizes to have a better chance of choosing the perfect-fit one. The unsuitable items are usually returned which artificially increases the return rate and promises an overhead cost for the retailer.
What’s more, being able to choose the right size on the first attempt is one of the pillars of a great customer experience. That’s why you have to measure the items carefully and support your customers with choosing the right size by providing detailed descriptions and measurements, especially when the item is smaller or larger than it should be.
- Being silent about sustainability. 67% of modern customers are concerned about sustainability when choosing fashion brands. So, don’t ignore this trend and never be silent about the eco-aware practices you follow. What’s more, you can use the sustainable approach to production and shipping as one of the competitive advantages of your brand when promoting your store.
- Ignoring SEO opportunities. SEO and local SEO are still important for attracting prospective leads and promoting your store in organic search. Despite there being many advanced digital marketing practices, don’t ignore SEO and keep it in mind when choosing the platform to build your fashion store.
- Skipping mobile optimization. 66% of online fashion sales come from mobile devices. That’s why your clothing store website should be well optimized for mobile. Mobile optimization is important for both customer experience and SEO, so don’t miss this point when creating a fashion shop as well.
Do you want to learn more about the development of an online clothing store?
How to Start an Online Clothing Business – Step by Step Guide
In one of our recent articles, we have discussed how to start an eCommerce business from scratch. You are welcome to take a look at it and grab some of the best and reusable practices for starting a clothing business online. And we, in the meanwhile, will tell you how to start a successful online clothing store step by step.
Decide on a Niche
One of the most amazing opportunities about starting an online clothing business is that there are dozens of niches to choose from. You are welcome to sell business suits for men, special clothing for pregnant women, winter clothes for ski lovers, and even clothing for pets. But make sure to research the market in advance, and identify the niches with the highest demand.
In 2022, the following niches are on the rise:
- Vintage clothing stores
- Athleisure clothing lines
- Gender-neutral fashion
Create a Detailed Buyer Persona
Depending on the niche you choose, proceed with creating a detailed buyer persona, (even if you have chosen genderless fashion). So, imagine your perfect customer and specify their following characteristics which, by the way, would be pretty helpful when running targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram (more on that a little later).
Here is what you have to discover about your perfect customer:
- Age, gender, location, level of education
- Occupation, income, interests, family situation
- Psychological traits (for example, the desire to stand out), values, and buying triggers
- Communication channels and tools (for example, social media via mobile devices).
Find a Reliable Supplier
If you aren’t going to produce clothing on your own, the next step is to find reliable suppliers who don’t necessarily have to be of Chinese origin. Paradoxically and by the way, Chinese customers themselves prefer international brands to domestic ones, and it is a fact that speaks for itself.
So, get started by looking for the local suppliers since partnering with them will allow you to decrease the shipment costs. Also, pay attention to the list of the countries with the highest volume of clothing production. Each of them can offer a lot of reliable and trusted manufacturers producing well-designed clothes of high quality.
Proceed with Creating an Online Clothing Store Website
Building an eCommerce website is the main step in starting an online clothing business. Below are some of the best practices to do it right.
Decide on the Platform
There are several platforms to start a clothing store online but each of them comes with a different set of features, design solutions, integrations, and promotion opportunities. For example:
- WordPress is the most intuitive platform to choose, especially if you have some tech skills. It comes with multiple eCommerce templates and highly customizable functionality.
- Shopify is the easiest eCommerce development platform ever. You can create an online store with its help even being just a confident PC user but the customization opportunities are pretty limited.
- Magento, in turn, is a more advanced eCommerce development platform suitable for the retail companies serious about their business growth and scaling. Magento comes with very extensive eCommerce functionality that can be customized in a way the business needs. There are tons of experience-boosting integrations, plus tools for marketing, customer relationship management, and data analysis.
Still, handling Magento and creating an online fashion store with its help requires practical experience and strong tech skills. Our Magento development team would be happy to share our expertise and best practices to create a conversion-boosting clothing store!
Decide on the Design
The design of your online fashion store is just the tool that will make the first impression on the prospective leads. That’s why it should be branded, attractive, well-balanced, stylish, modern, and easy to perceive at once. Take a look at the best-designed clothing stores to grab some creative ideas and reuse them for your store.
Shortlist the Necessary Features
Recently, we have dwelled on the great eCommerce website design features that modern customers expect, so the next task is to shortlist and embed them into your design solution.
Below are the features you should have on your eCommerce store front- and back-end.
- Product search
- Product descriptions
- Customers’ reviews
- Product recommendations
- Deals and shipping integrations
- Product recommendations
- Shopping cart and checkout
- Social media buttons
- Content management
- Order and shipping management
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration
- Analytics and reporting
- Payment security features
Ready to get started with building an online fashion store? Get in touch with us for a free estimate and personalized software development strategy!
Run Omnichannel Marketing Strategies
And now, let marketing creativity begin! The great news is that the creative and technical opportunities for promoting an online clothing business are almost unlimited, so below are some life-proven digital marketing tactics to grab on the go.
How to start selling clothes? The first step is to attract prospective shoppers to your website, and search engine optimization is the top tactic to do it. Despite creating SEO-optimised content for your store will take time and effort, this is the strategy that drives ROI in the long run at no extra cost for you.
So, consider running a blog as a part of your online fashion store. The scope of topics you can cover is almost unlimited – getting started with current fashion trends and ending with tips and tricks to choose the best-suited item in your store. Regardless of the topic, pay attention to the keywords you use.
Prioritize the long-tailed ones – they are more specific but less competitive, allowing you to quickly increase your search ranking. Also, don’t skip local SEO optimization since more than half of online searches are searches for local businesses.
Pro tip! If you have a physical store, in addition to your website, get registered in Google My Business for better discoverability.
While SEO is effective for the long run, Pay-Per-Click advertising is a tactic that can drive results here and now. The essence of the approach is simple – when your PPC campaign is running, the users will discover your store on the top search position in response to a specific query (for example, buy sports clothes).
With the help of Google Adwords, you can set up a customized PPC campaign, choosing a custom target audience and location, setting the budget limits, and the necessary keywords.
Promoting your store via Google Shopping is another great tactic you are welcome to consider. You can set up such a campaign via Merchant Center, and your ads will be randomly showcased in response to the user queries while you will be charged only when the user clicks on the ad.
After attracting the prospective shoppers with the help of SEO, PPC, and Google Shopping, it’s time to capture them with attractive offers, and make them place their first order, or at least leave their emails in exchange for a discount. Here is what a lead-capturing pop-up may look like.
Hint! Use OptinMonster to design and set up the customized popups, tailoring each of them to the user behavior.
Social Media Marketing
One of the best things about promoting an online store is that social media and an online fashion store are just a match made in heaven. What’s more, each social platform can be perfectly tailored to promote a clothing store.
For example, Facebook allows for setting up highly customized and budget-friendly advertising campaigns, which can also be expanded to Instagram. The visual nature of Instagram allows for making a great first impression and makes the user subscribe to enjoy colorful feeds and quickly order the liked items. There is also an Instagram shopping feature that allows for buying apparel right from social media.
How to Keep Your Online Clothing Store Competitive – The Checklist
In addition to starting and running your online store, you should keep it competitive. The share of total US apparel retail sales is 38% so the competition is pretty fierce. Below are some practical tips to run your online fashion shop effectively.
- Support and maintain your website. The work on your website doesn’t end with its launch. You have to support and maintain it ongoingly, making sure there are no security gaps, customer journey stumbling blocks, and technical bugs. The Idea in You tech team is here to support you with your fashion store maintenance – drop us a line now to make your store work better.
- Unlock the behavior patterns of your customers. eCommerce marketing is impossible without data analysis and extracting customer-centric insights. Discovering how the users behave on your website can help you suggest more winning UI and UX solutions, develop a more seamless customer journey and remove the stumbling blocks. HotJar, for example, is a great tool to unlock customer behavior patterns.
- Make sure to have detailed product descriptions and high-quality visuals. Your product description is one of the most important elements directly responsible for the conversion rate. Make sure to keep it detailed and SEO-optimized, plus create the detailed visuals of high-quality. Adding video reviews will also be a great idea so that the customer can get a better impression of an item.
- Improve the shipping and return experiences. In the perfect picture of the world, shipping and return should be free for a customer. So, think about delivery optimization to cut the related cost and support the customers with choosing the right size to avoid returns.
- Keep your customers engaged. And lastly, make sure to engage your customers via multiple marketing channels, including but not limited to social media, email communication, and instant messengers. Create and share personalized discounts, offer hot deals and bonuses, ask the customers to leave their feedback in exchange for a perk, and upscale additional items depending on their previous purchase.
Starting and running an online fashion store is as fascinating as challenging. Creating a well-designed and conversion-boosting eCommerce website is one of the most important tasks you will face along the way. Our tech team is here to help you build a great clothing shop website, using up-to-date technologies and following the best design practices.