33 STEPS TO BUILD A GREAT ONLINE STORE

…FOR YOUR APPAREL BRAND

Selling online means you need to have an online shop. Whether it is your main selling channel or not, you want to create the best customer experience possible, that maximizes your online sales. How can you make your apparel online store as great as possible? We have put together 33 points that will dramatically increase your chances of creating returning, happy, and buying customers.

 

1. Make a good first impression

The human attention span is very short. You only have about 7 seconds to present your offer and to answer the visitors’ typical questions; what is the site about, is it interesting to me, and what am I supposed to do? Make your website clear, avoid clutter, and present your information in a way so that your visitor stays longer than 7 seconds.

 

2. Great photos

Have great photos, both product images of your clothes and lifestyle photos that enforce your brand story. People typically remember more of what they see than what they read, so the images are very important. The photos should be high quality, to make a good impression. Remember that you need the right to publish all your photos. Agree with your photographer what you can do with the images.

Webshop Great Photo

Mind your photos.

Photo: aloyoga.com

 

3. Simple navigation

It should be easy for the visitors to find what they are looking for. Help them navigate your site and be clear about what you want them to do. If you don’t know how to build up your navigation, you can take a look at a big range of modern web shops and see how they have solved the navigation. If you then set up your navigation in a similar way, it is a big chance the user finds it intuitive, since it works like most other online stores in 2018.

 

4. Easily find what they are looking for

Make your offer easy to find. If you are selling jackets, make it easy for the user to find your jackets and the information about them. Preferably with as few clicks as possible.

 

5.  Show frequent customers what’s new

Display what garments are new and recently added to the online store. Your frequent visitors will appreciate this function. They can directly check what’s new without browsing your entire site. In general, update the site frequently to make it more interesting. You want to show that things are happening and moving forward with your apparel brand.

Apparel Entrepreneurship Book

Learn about Apparel Entrepreneurship from idea to market launch, and beyond.

6. Stand out

Make your e-commerce site interesting for your customers. Show them why you are different and what’s so good about your apparel brand. It’s not clear to the users why they should choose your online store, if it looks like all the other ones. Bring forward your unique selling points and integrate them in your content.

 

7. A great ”about” page

Around 70 % of visitor take a look at the ”about” page. People don’t just buy products. They buy you, your story, and your brand. Make a great about you page and honestly tell who you are, and what your clothing brand is about.

 

8. Recommended products

Depending on the product the user is watching, you can display recommended products. Take a look at your data and see what garments and accessories usually are bought together. Based on this information you can easily recommend your customers other garments interesting to them. A great way to up-sell.

Webshop Recommended Products

Show recommended products.

Photo: backcountry.com

 

9. Show your top sellers

It’s a phycological phenomena that people typically want what other people want. For this reason it is a good idea to display your top-selling garments. This adds a layer of trust, telling the user the clothes must be great if other people are buying it. Just as the functionality to display recommended product, this one usually comes with the e-commerce system.

 

10. Easy checkout

The checkout process should be as quick and efficient as possible. Users don’t want to go through extra checkout steps that are unnecessary. You need to find the perfect balance here, making the checkout as smooth as possible. At the same time the user agrees to everything and doesn’t buy something by mistake.

 

11. Shipping alternatives

Offer different shipping alternatives to meet all customer demands. Can you offer same-day delivery or pick-up of your garments? If you are a small business and don’t have any large account discount with a courier, you can use this to your advantage. You are not bound to only offer one courier, but can offer many options.

 

12. Ask for feedback

One advantage of selling online direct to customer is that you can communicate directly to them without a middle player. Take the opportunity to ask your customers for feedback so that you can improve your online store, your offer, and your apparel brand.

 

13. Customer service

When your customers have questions about your clothes, products, delivery, returns, etc, see to that you have great support in place to answer them. You can have an FAQ section, live chat, phone support, and email support. This part is extremely important if you want to be in business for the long run, and have customers that trust you. Superfans will be loyal and spread the word about your brand.

Webshop Customer Service

Photo: gymshark.com

14. Secure payment options

Integrate secure and trustworthy payment options. What payment system would you feel comfortable using? Can your payment system accept all the major and popular cards for your target markets? Your website will need an SSL certificate to make the payments secure.

 

15. Localization

People prefer to use sites that are customized to their region. Can the user get your website in their own language? Can they shop in their currency? Localizing your website makes the user experience better and clearer. Can you offer a local phone number for support? There are solutions, with e.g. Skype, giving the option to have local phone numbers even though you don’t have a physical presence there. Remember that even two different English speaking regions can need localization. In one place they may call it zip code, and in another postcode. Make your customers feel at home.

 

16. Detail photos

1 picture says more than 1000 words. Present photos of details and solutions of your garments. Show more than just the front and back. Show close-ups of your pockets, hem, inside, etc. Make sure the colors are displayed accurately on the screen.

 

17. Speed

Your site needs to load quickly. No one wants to wait for a slow site. You’ll lose your customers interest if the page is to slow. Upgrade your web host package and make adjustments so it loads quickly.

 

18. Sizing charts

One disadvantage of an online store compared to a physical store, is that you can’t try the clothes on. To mitigate this, you should present easy-to-read sizing charts showing all relevant measurements depending on size, and how to measure them yourself. To further help your customer, clearly state how tall the model in the picture is, and the garment size he/she is wearing.

Webshop Sizing Chart

Add sizing chart.

Photo: backcountry.com

 

19. Mobile device friendly

You will be left behind if you have an online store that isn’t mobile-friendly in 2018. A large part of all online sales are made on mobile devices, so make sure your site is working well on a mobile device. Both smartphones and tablets.

 

20. Description

Provide descriptive information for all your garments. Tell the customer about the materials, design, and special features. Educate the user about your choices. Tell them why the garment is fantastic and about the solutions allowing it to be. Don’t just state DWR treatment. Also tell them what it is and why they need it. Don’t assume they understand the design, people can’t read your mind. Tell them why your material choice is favorably. You may advantageously have a whole section in your online store only talking about your materials.

Webshop Detailed Description

Write a detailed product description.

Photo: backcountry.com

 

21. Return policy

Build trust by having a great return policy. Present it clearly on the site so the customers know how it works. Think about offering free return shipping of your garments. The advantages with this are that the customers will love it and it can boost your conversion rates. A lot of customers are used to free returns shipping and will expect it. If you don’t offer it, they will consider it negative. The disadvantage of offering free return shipping is that it will cost you a lot, since you have to pay the courier for it. It can also promote a shopping behavior where  the customer orders products they don’t really need and intend to keep. Do the calculations and test what works for you.

 

22. Packaging

When it comes to packaging, there are a few things you need to consider. First of all, is it secure and will your product be untouched when it reaches the customer? You also need to look at it from a sustainability perspective. Consider the environmental impact of all your wrapping, bags, and cartons will have. Your packaging should of course look good and represent your brand values and profile. How would it look if someone made an unboxing video with your product? Would you be proud of it? Add something extra in the package to give an unexpected positive first impression that they will talk about. How does your package look if someone puts it on Instagram?

 

23. Terms & Conditions

Your terms and conditions should be easy to find on your site and they should clearly tell the customer what rights they have. Don’t hide in complicated legal language. Look at other brands for inspiration if you don’t know where to start.

 

24. Care instructions

You need to have a section on your site telling the customer how they best can take care of their clothes. You know the materials you have chosen, and the construction for the garments. Describe how the customer can wash, iron, and handle the clothes to last as long as possible while having minimal environmental impact.

 

25. Branding

Your online store needs to represent your apparel brand in the best possible way. The look should make the customer associate to your brand values. It is not only the look you should think about, but also your story. Your website is the place where you can enforce your brand’s story and what it is all about.

 

26. Privacy policy

Today, with laws like GDPR, you need to be on top of how you are handling personal information. Explain how and why you are using personal information and how you do this with cookies. Put your privacy policy where the user can find it easily, and give them the option to agree with your terms as soon as they enter your site.

 

27. User-friendly

Create the online store with the user in mind. Create a logical structure, and avoid cluttering the site with unnecessary information. Neat and clean helps the user to navigate. Try to create actions that require as few clicks as possible.

 

28. SEO strategy

Before you even start with your online store, you need to read up on search engine optimization (SEO) or consult with an expert. To have the best effect and to be found in search engines you need to have an SEO strategy and implement it from the start. Don’t leave it all to change. SEO takes time, so don’t waste your time by not implementing it.

 

29. Have a great blog

A blog is a fantastic way to communicate to your target audience and to show them you are an expert in your area of apparel. Create a schedule, and post new content relevant to your clothing brand, on a regular basis. Make it interesting and show them who you really are. Honesty goes a long way. This is your chance to educate your customer. E.g. tell them what choices are important from a sustainability aspect. And you will of course offer clothes making it easier to make those choices:)

 

30. Test, track & iterate

Strive to continuously improve your online store experience. Test different solutions. Track the user behavior and analyze. See what the best options are and adjust accordingly.

 

31. Email

Ask for the permission to email your visitors, and then regularly uptake them about new arrivals and other relevant information. Email marketing is a great way for you to interact with your audience while promoting your brand and increase your sales.

 

32. Technical platform

Choose an e-commerce platform that suits your needs. Start by listing all you requirement for your online store, and start looking around for one that corresponds to those. The need differs if you are a one-person clothing brand packaging your garments yourself, or if you are larger brand, split in different locations with external stock handling. Online stores may appear quite similar when visiting online, but there are tremendous differences on the backside. If you want a quick and easy solution, where you can focus on other things than running a website, we recommend you take a look at Shopify. Click the button below to get a 14-day free trial Shopify.

33. Make an awesome product

This is your foundation. Make an awesome product that speaks for itself. Your garments need to be outstanding if you want all of the points above to matter at all. Put your products first. Focus on getting your collection right, meeting your high standards. After the sale is made, this is what will keep your brand alive and moving forward.