Stand out. Be original. Let your design aesthetic reflect who you are. All these things are imperative to your success but what do they really mean and how do these concepts equate to sales in this ever changing fashion landscape? As you begin planning out your fashion E-commerce startup these ideas have to be your guiding principles. Very few designers these days feel like they can live with just having their brand in someone else's store without also having their own website. I for one am a strong advocate that every designer needs their own E-commerce home. Here is my advice for startups on how to create a successful e-commerce fashion label.
When your clothes are displayed in someone else's retail outlet that is great but part of the magic revolves around a consumer coming into your house and being mesmerized by your vision. Before they look at one article of clothing they want to see how your store looks. They want to walk into the imaginary doors of your URL and say, "I love this site!" If that happens they are more likely to look at your offerings favorably. Their impression of your label will carry over in their minds so that whenever they come in contact with your brand again, they will know what type of designer you are. When a potential customer understands your vision and they can relate to it, they are more likely to support you.
Setting up the aesthetic of your E-commerce store or platform is as crucial as the designs you want to feature. You have to not only know yourself but also your target market. Who do you want to target? A one size fits all model may not work for you. Each demographic may respond to different stimuli. To set up an effective E-commerce site means not only knowing yourself but also knowing your target. The two must fit together. Putting your fashion home on quick set up sites that give you a generic storefront just to sell your merchandise on their platform is not a great presentation for your brand. You want to be able to have your store feel like home not like a pop up store. Consumers will not take your brand serious if they see that you are not willing to invest in your own webstore. Your own dedicated webstore is a key component to you being able to stand out. You could look into hosting it on E-commerce Platforms such as 3dcart.com or shopify.com. You could also look into website design services if you need a custom solution. Either way, you need your own site. Don't settle!
Vogue did a recent interview on tips for launching an e-commerce startup with founder of website LaDoubleJ and label LaDoubleJ Editions, editor J.J. Martin. When J.J. Martin was asked by Julie Frank of Vogue, "What are your tips for getting an online business off the ground?" J.J. Martin replied, "The two most important things are to have a strong, unique idea and pull together the right team." I could not agree with J.J. Martin more. Not only do you have to stand out with your own unique aesthetic, you want to have the right team working with you. Also by the way may sure you check out LadoubleJ. The website is awesome!
Your team is as important as the fashions you will produce. No one can do it all so it is important to have team members that can work on various aspects of your startup. Each member needs to be responsible for holding their share of the weight. A weakness in the link can be felt across all divisions. Everyone needs to be on the same page and passionate about the brand. In fact, each member should be trying to see who can out passion and out work the other members. It is that type of comradery that successful brands are built upon.
I recently did a post on our blog that you can look up on how to set up your website in order to ensure it is responsive for your mobile visitors. I remember when we first started StartingAClothingLine.com in 2004 there was no mobile traffic. Fast forward to 2010 and each year since, there has been dramatic increases year after year in our mobile visitor traffic. So far in 2015, iPhone and Android Mobile Traffic alone have combined to makes up 30% of our web traffic vs. total mobile traffic in 2010 was 3%. This is why Google released a mobile algorithm this year to reward sites that were mobile friendly. Creating a e-commerce platform that embraces mobile is beyond a luxury at this point, it is a necessity for every brand. Statista reports, “In 2014, global mobile data traffic amounted to 2.5 exabytes per month. In 2019, mobile data traffic worldwide is expected to reach 24.3 exabytes per month at a compound annual growth rate of 57 percent." Take mobile serious!
Another key to making your e-commerce brand stand out is shipping. Fashion now has a global presence more so than any other time in history. Brands are finding success within their country and even doing well on the other side of the world. As long as your clients are willing to pay a few extra dollars for shipping and a little longer wait then you should be more than willing to accommodate them. Shipping internationally is an ultimate sign of success that people around the world are in love with your brand.
Last but not least, your brand has to be focused on giving online consumers accurate information on what they are buying and what they will be receiving in terms of quality, sizing and fabrication. You want your customers to be happy with their purchases to decrease the chances that they will return the merchandise. Let's face it, as merchants, we aren't exactly fond of returns. Returns can drain your business of funds needed to keep your business cash flow flowing smoothly. According to Racked.com, who quoted from a report published by The Retail Equation in conjunction with the National Retail Federation, stated that merchandise returns accounted for nearly $270 billion in lost sales in 2013. In one of my upcoming post I will talk about how to minimize returns. Utilizing this advice can help you create a great platform to showcase your fashion label.
Until next time, good luck with creating your soon to be successful e-commerce startup.
- Article by Michael Harper, Co-Founder of StartingAClothingLine.com
Disclaimer: We are a 3dcart.com affiliate. However, our recommendations for E-commerce platforms is not based on that affiliation.