How to setup an online clothing store
Everywhere you go online you always see someone trying to sell you something. From a chai cup to beautifully laced home décor to even furniture, you can shop anything and everything with just a single click. Setting it up is much more easy than you think, but the trick is in doing it right. So, this little (but powerful) write-up is going to use simple language to explain the basics of setting up your own online clothing store. You don’t need corporate experience to get started or to understand how to get started.
- Choosing a name
The name of the website or your business should be easy to remember and non-exclusive to a particular garment or style. It should also strike a chord with your customers so that they know what to expect out of your website or your brand.
Also make sure that your brand name is available as a domain.
- Know your product and people
What are you going to sell? Do you have the sellers or are you going to sell your own creations?
Do you know your target and its demographics? Have you tested your product or do you want to sell it because you like it?
Product testing is highly crucial, as it not only allows you to understand if your concept works, but helps in gaining more insights about your target.
- Logistics and payment options
Now that your product is sorted, have you thought how you’re going to send your product to customers? Have you thought about payment options, or if you’d be offering ‘cash on delivery’ (COD) (highly recommended in India)?
There are a lot of companies that can help you in this process like Aramex, Delhivery or DTDC. These companies not only help with delivery, but also aid in collecting COD.
- Get a shopping cart
The fastest way to get your clothing store online is to get an online shopping cart. It’s easier than self-hosting, as the website is up and ready in 30 minutes. You don’t need to worry about trust certificates and getting someone to design your page thanks to tonnes of themes and designs available on these shopping cart softwares.
Changing the logo, adding or removing products, changing information or choosing payment gateway is quite easy. This is a quicker way and useful if you’re thinking of starting out with just a Facebook page. It’s cool and quicker. Check out Shopify, Zepo or BuildaBazaar, and you can thank us later!
- Get a domain
If you’ve expanded or are keen on a more sophisticated route to getting your business up and running, then get a domain. You can integrate your domain easily with your shopping cart.
- Put products and site information
And now that you have a website or a Facebook page, start updating the products online. Firstly, you’d obviously require good quality pictures with descriptions (size, colour, and pricing), which you can get from your sellers or by hiring a photographer, because all this is important for SEO.
Then add in this basic information on your website/page:
Returns & Shipping
All this work may take lot of time initially, but it will save a lot of time later, and even spare you from unhappy customers or underachieved goals!
- Inventory management
The biggest issue that companies have while selling online is managing their inventory. If you have your business selling on Snapdeal, Flipkart, eBay, Homeshop18 or Amazon, and you’re getting orders but something or the other always becomes an issue while getting things right, then you need a management system. Technology could be your friend here and you can use websites like Browntape, Unicommerce or Eyeandbuy to get all your orders sorted from one place and just a couple of clicks.
This system helps in speeding up the process of receiving and fulfilling the orders and reducing mistakes. Be smart and sell on multiple channels!
Furthermore, also think about what you’ll do if you end up with excess stock. Will you opt for sales with deep discounts or will you have contracts with your sellers to have unsold goods returned?
- Setup social media accounts
This part is easy, but one has to be smart. Although it is important that being a clothing store you jump onto all social media networks, make sure that all portals are active and managed properly. Or, just choose a few when starting and then reach out to more gradually.
Of course, your target would be guiding you to choose, but for initial set-up, you must use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Make it personalised, engaging and socially communicative.
- Promotional strategy
Now this is where you decide how you’ll blow your own trumpet!
Social media strategy:
After getting yourself onto the social media, you need to think about a strategy that targets your market demographic. What hashtags will you use? What type of content will you create? Will you be running online competitions? Will you build an online community?
Make a plan for things that you want to achieve through social media– just more customers or more money is not good enough. Break this plan into monthly tasks and, gradually, daily tasks. Don’t just sell, but also tell: tell about your product, your office, your team, your opinion on the latest news and more. Be creative. Be quirky. Be a business that talks to people, and not just sells all the time. Nobody likes a pushy salesman!
And most importantly, build a relationship with your followers. Get them to want to receive your updates in their social media newsfeeds.
Enquire about paid online advertising on specific websites; use GoogleAdwords; and get featured in e-newsletters to reach more people. Advertising with bloggers and vloggers can be expensive, but better than building banners. So figure out where your target would like to see you.
Because not everyone is a fan of online marketing, learn about offline marketing like TV commercials, radio ads, road banners, press releases orpop-up stall at local markets. When they see you with your clothes, they try it themselves and buy them if they like it.So they’ll probably be more keen to buy online from you, as well. Get into the local community and build relationships,thendirect them online and keep them engaged to strengthenyour online relationships.
- The launch
Have you thought about how will you instantly get maximum people to know that you exist? Would you be holding an offline event or create hype with a YouTube video?
A strong launch would definitely create a lot of hype and bring more traffic to your digital store.
About Kamya Aggarwal: "Kamya founded Meraki Consulting when she needed to partner her business acumen with her passion for doing work with creativity and leaving an "essence of herself" into the work done. She helps businesses reach their optimum potential and generate revenue by helping them with avant-garde Business, Marketing & Branding Solutions.She’s also a major foodie and a travel junkie. Tweet to her at @kamya26"