Clothing is big business. Clothes are practical items everybody needs, but they are also much more than that. Clothing is one of the primary ways people define their sense of style and individuality. This being true, there is room for many brands and styles of clothing and also plenty of clothing shops, both brick-and-mortar stores and online stores. If you want to start an ecommerce store, clothing is one area where you can start, especially if you love clothes and have a strong personal style to work from. Here are some ideas you need to work toward online clothing retail success.
Define Your Brand
This doesn’t mean you have to start your own line of clothing under your own brand. It means your store needs an individual style, a look and feel of its own, that will attract customers and get their interest in your clothing products. Start with the clothing lines you plan to sell. Ask yourself who the ideal customer is and what kind of store environment would appeal to them. Identify examples of both brick-and-mortar and online stores where your ideal customer shops, and use their design aesthetics as a jumping off point to develop your own. Don’t be a copycat, though. Make notes about designs that you like, but add in your own ideas, too. You need to make a store that is uniquely your own.
Build a Unique Store
One big mistake that other online store owners make is to use generic templates to set up their stores. This is an especially serious mistake for apparel stores, which need to have a strong sense of individuality and style. It’s fine to use pre-made shopping cart software, and it’s even okay to start with a basic apparel website template from a large online store hosting service. The key is, don’t stop with your design there. Instead of using the generic template, customize it. Use your own graphics and text. Do everything you can to make your store look like your own individual design. You can read my article on things to consider When Choosing the Right Ecommerce Website Template.
Don’t Forget Functionality
An online store can’t just look good. It has to function well, too. If customers are frustrated by the experience of browsing your products, they’ll go somewhere else. Develop a clear navigation system based on sensible product categories. Give your customers useful ways to browse your items, such as letting them browse categories based on brands, sizes or types of apparel. Make sure there is a search feature included on every single page, so your customers can always start a brand new search without navigating back to the home page.
When customers browse your products, remember that they want to see good clear pictures with lots of detail. Many customers try on clothes when they shop in person, so you have to give them information to make up for the inability to try on your products before they buy. Include detailed product descriptions for each item. Take lots of photos and make sure you have close-up shots of important details. Make sure your photos are color-corrected so that the online picture is as close as you can make it to the real colors of your items.
Finally, include links to your store policies, especially including shipping and return information. Your customers will want to know if they can return or exchange your products, as they can in many retail stores. This is especially important because your customers can’t try your clothes on before they buy them. To avoid disappointed customers, make your policies about returns and shipping as clear as possible and make them easy to find on your website. This will give customers confidence that you are a reputable seller who they can trust.