How to run successful online fashion business
There are four critical components in every successful online fashion business:
1. GOOD PRODUCT
The first one is pretty obvious and self-explanatory. I’ll just assume that you wouldn’t try to sell it if you did not believe that you have a great product and fair pricing.
2. VISUAL IMPACT
Did you know that, according to the latest research, it takes only 4 seconds for a potential buyer landing on your website to decide whether to stay or leave and visit the competition? 4 SECONDS!!! Now be honest with yourself. Does your website with its current visual content have enough impact to attract and convince someone in 4 seconds? If the answer is NO then this could be the reason you not getting results you’d hope for. Just look at few top fashion retail websites and you quickly notice that they have this one thing in common. Their home page will be graced with high quality, colourful and engaging campaign images. Not a lot, just a few as this part is all about quality, not numbers (examples below).
3. PRODUCT PRESENTATION
Seating in front of the screen, clients are unable to touch and feel the garment, assess the quality of the fabric or ask friendly shop assistant any question they may have. In this new reality product presentation is mission-critical for any online retail venture! Make sure your ecommerce images are all about garments. The background should be plain and simple with no distractions. The image should be nicely lit in a manner that highlights the garment’s style, fabric and features. Colours have to be faithfully represented. Model’s posing should be complementing the garment rather than fighting for attention. The same style should be carried across all e-commerce images on your website so it looks clean, professional and elegant. I see so many online retailers asking high street prices while their website looks like a village market at best. That’s hardly effective strategy so don’t be one of them! Below you will find a few examples of good quality ecommerce images.
There is really no point having the most beautiful website full of amazing products if no one knows about it. On the other hand, there is also very little point in spending your hard-earned money on marketing and driving thousands of people to your website if this website is anything less than impressive (4 seconds, remember?!?). So, by all means, employ your marketing strategies (Google, Facebook, social media influencers etc) just remember to time it wisely. Do not get ahead of yourself. Make sure that everything else is on point before you invite the world to come and see it. You only get one chance for the first impression and that’s very powerful and lasting feeling that can make or break your business.
5. IS IT ALL NECESSARY?
That depends… Of course, there are a lot of e-commerce websites with low quality cellphone images that still manage to push through some sales. And that’s perfectly fine. Just like in the real world, not all clothes are sold in shopping centres or fancy stores. Some are also sold on Sunday markets and car booth sales. It’s all about which one you aspire to be. If you want to just sell few items here and there as your side gig, then you probably not too keen on investing much in your business. No doubt this will also be reflected in your results. However, if you see it as your future and would like to grow your business year by year to eventually challenge bigger players, you just have to play the same game they’re playing.
Imagine for a minute that two fashion boutiques opened on the same street. One invested in an elegant shop front, hired interior designer, bought great looking furniture. It looks professional, elegant, inviting and trustworthy. Owner of the second boutique had a different idea. He did everything himself at very low cost. If you were a customer, which one would you rather visit? Which one do you think has a better chance to be successful? You see, it is in our human nature to trust those brands that seem to make an effort to please their clients. That’s the reason why physical stores are nice, tidy and professionally designed. Some even smell great! If it looks trustworthy on the surface, we subconsciously assume that it will carry over to the quality of the product, service and after-sales assistance. As a result we are happy to trust them with our hard-earned money. To the contrary, if we see a business that does not invest in their client’s experience, where everything seems cheap and low budget, we tend not to trust it and simply move to the one we do.
We keep hearing stories about high street fashion brands going bust pretty much on a weekly basis. At the same time, both UK and global fashion market keep growing year by year. So it’s great news that this pie is getting larger! If you are reading this it is also great news for you that more and more of it is moving from physical stores to online retailers like yourself. In fact, the UK online retail market has doubled in less than 6 years! However, as it is obvious how lucrative this business can be, it attracts large numbers of investors and entrepreneurs. Competition gets stronger and standards get higher. “That will do” attitude and mediocre quality are no longer sufficient. Remember that the visual presentation of your products is THE ONLY thing that stands between you and your client. For most businesses, this will be the deciding factor. Competition is getting smarter and stronger every day. Only the strongest will survive and thrive in this new online economy. Be one of them!