Starting a business is a challenging but exciting time for any entrepreneur. There are several important things to consider when taking those first steps into the world of e-commerce, from choosing where to sell your products through to marketing your brand.
E-commerce can be a difficult nut to crack. If you already have a brick and mortar shop front, transitioning to a virtual store allows you to extend the shopping experience to your loyal customers. However, for a startup fashion brand, this isn’t quite so simple.
Competition is fierce in the e-commerce market, but there is a range of things a new business can do to stand out in the crowd.
Identify your niche
Firstly, you need to establish a niche. Identifying opportunities before you decide on the brand detailing will set you up with a sellable product to build your business around.
To do this, you need to look for your unique selling point. What is it about your brand that makes it worth looking at? Why should people buy it? You need to play to your strengths, and no one else’s.
Furthermore, you need to make sure that when you market your brand and push it out into the world, it delivers a clear message and identity. Look at any business, and ask yourself. ‘What is this company about? What is their identity’? For well-established companies, it’s obvious what they stand for as a company. You want to reach a point where it’s just as obvious, even at a glance, what your company provides and what your business is all about.
Creating a user-friendly website
Hiring the help of a professional web designer to start your e-commerce journey can be a costly option, which may take several months to complete. For businesses looking for a low cost and faster route, there is a range of versatile platforms on offer. These platforms can be customised and have the added bonus of full support and backend functions from payments to order fulfilment. These online e-commerce platforms also have a range of options depending on your business needs from product listing templates, SSL website certificate inclusion and reporting for a monthly fee.
Popular places to start selling products include:
- Big Cartel
Networking within the fashion industry
Networking is another core element that you need to consider for your business. Thankfully, networking can be quite straightforward.
One of the first things that you can do is to go to an event and make some connections. Meaningful interactions with other fashion businesses allow you to promote yourself and get into the thick of things.
Talk to people – find out what they’re doing with their companies and what they think of the event. When you get back from the event, make sure that you follow up that connection with a conversation. Perhaps you tell them how much you admired their latest collection. The point is, you’re making yourself known, and you’re establishing those connections.
Another option is to use helpful resources such as Sewport: Clothing Manufacturers for Your Fashion Brand. This platform not only connects fashion brands with suitable manufacturers, but it also opens communication with a range of industry experts. Even if you have limited contacts in the fashion world, Sewport enables you to get a foot in the door easily.
Create a buzz
Marketing a new fashion business is an exciting and essential step in reaching a target audience. Once the audience has been identified and branding is complete, there are several options to reach out to potential customers.
One of the most popular and cost-effective ways for new businesses to achieve sales growth is by advertising on social media. With many people buying products on mobile devices, putting your brand in front of this audience is key.
Not only can social media help convert customers to increase sales, but social platforms can also encourage brand recognition and lead generation while providing specific targeting metrics.
To effectively utilise this affordable marketing tool, there are some key points to consider when planning a social strategy including:
- Think outside the box – showcase what makes the brand different and experiment with new content and sales ideas. Don’t follow the crowd, as your business will get lost in the social void.
- Listen to your customers – some companies make the same mistakes time and time again by not listening to their customers. Social platforms are a great way to utilise feedback and change the brand for the better.
- Create an experience – don’t just sell the product to an audience, sell an experience. Social media is the perfect opportunity to inspire people and create awareness by sharing user-generated content.
Starting a business doesn’t have to be complicated. However, if you’re looking to create a sustainable and successful fashion brand, meticulous planning at all stages is essential.