Why you should sell online
Selling online is becoming increasingly popular. 53% of global internet users have made an online purchase in 2016. That is around 1 billion users. Data shows that worldwide e-commerce sales will reach $4.5 trillion in 2021. Most brands have their own online shops today, complementing brick and mortar stores. The traditional way to sell clothes is to work with retailers, distributors or agents. Retailers have their locations and established customer base, and they sell the products for you plus handle returns. But they also take a big chunk of the pie, usually around half of the product price.
Selling online has several advantages:
- The customers can shop 24/7, when and from where they want. There is no need to go to a physical shop. More and more purchases are made from mobile devices.
- The customers can read up about the brand concept, the clothes, and check reviews.
- You can more easily interact with your customers without a filter between.
- You can increase your margins or make higher quality garments to a lower end-customer prize. You don’t have to pay the retailers.
What’s the catch?
If it’s so great why isn’t everyone just selling online, ditching the retailers? Well, just because you have an awesome e-commerce site it doesn’t mean you will sell. Since you don’t have the retailers to do it, YOU have to sell your products.
You will need to put in a lot of effort to make customers find your e- commerce site and buy your awesome products. Most e-commerce businesses pour money into online advertising such as Facebook Ads and Google Adwords. They calculate how much the advertising can cost per placed order on their site. Because you only sell online it doesn’t mean it won’t cost you anything. There are millions of sites out there, and you need to put in the work to let your customers know you exist.
Also you have to handle all the orders yourself, or hire someone to do it for you. How many products do you have to sell to make a profit? Well, you have to pack and send all those orders. The customer service and handling of returns will also fall on your table.
6 important e-commerce components
The look of your e-commerce site needs to reflect your brand identity clearly. Your site is an important interface for who you communicate with your customers. Make sure your message is clear and that it rimes with your design aesthetics.
Take a look at the texts you publish on your site. They should communicate your voice and your way of expressing yourself. Be personal, you don’t have to be stiff in an effort to sound more professional. Be yourself, tell the story and speak clearly of what you have to offer.
Great photos can make wonders for a site, and easily make up for a simple site template. This is part of your branding. Every picture should have a reason for being there. What do you want it to say? Don’t forget to check that you have the right to publish the photos if you have downloaded them form photo sites. You can use your own photos or look for royalty-free photos.
Optimize your site for search engines, so that your customers can find you by searches.
Since so many use their mobile devices, it’s important your site works on phones and tablets. Having a responsive site, which is necessary today, means that it will adapt to the screen size. You probably know how annoying it is to surf a site on your mobile that doesn’t adapt.
6. Email sign-up
Allow your customers to sign up with their email addresses. They can get special deals from you and you can easily communicate with them by newsletters and send outs.
How will the customers find you?
There are 3 ways for your customers to find you:
1. Brand recognition
The first way for them to find you is through brand recognition. The customers already know about your brand and find you directly online, by searching directly for your brand. They ask for, look for, or are told about your e-commerce store. This obviously requires a lot of marketing work from your side.
The second way is through search engine optimization. People search online for topics related to your business and find you that way. If you are really good at SEO the customer will see your page at the top of search results without you paying for it.
3. Paid advertising
The third way to get noticed is by paid advertising. You use for example Facebook Ads or Google Adwords and create an ad to be shown along related search results. The ad links to your site and you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. It is not hard to understand why Google is doing so great.
Running an e-commerce site is a great way of getting closer to your customers and increase your margins. But, don’t underestimate the effort needed to run it and driving traffic to it. Just because you have an online shop doesn’t mean the customers will find it. There are no “rules” and testing different things to see what works best is vital. The most important thing for your website is to keep the customer there as long as possible, and to entertain and “suck “ them into your fantastic world.