The pandemic has inarguably done significant damage to the fashion industry this year alone and no one is more at risk than small business owners during this time. While the global fashion industry has suffered tragic losses, the circumstances do present a unique opportunity for brands and shops as well as industry newcomers to reinvent themselves as Ecommerce businesses, effectively reaching new customers and demographics worldwide. For those just starting out, here are some best practices and methods for running your ecommerce business.
Before you begin selling your products online, you need to be aware of the various platforms and hosting sites that you can use for your business. For retail, Shopify is well-known to be the industry standard for Ecommerce. Other options include Squarespace, Wix, Zyro, and Volusion. Be sure to do your research and compare your choices before committing to one. Many of these platforms also offer a free trial so definitely take advantage of that to see if it’s a good fit for your business’ needs. Most of these sites are relatively easy to navigate, but If you’re having confusion setting up your shop or working around the backend, ask your web-savvy friends, relatives, Google or Reddit for answers. Perhaps consider outsourcing larger tasks to a third party site like upwork to help you get your site to where you need it.
Making Your Product Pop:
Once you’ve secured your platform, now begins the task of getting your product up on your site. Again, this process is pretty straightforward if you’re using an Ecommerce platform hosting site. Do make sure you showcase your products in the best way possible. It is up to you to ensure your products are photographed to look immaculate in order to catch the eye of anyone scrolling by. Ask a friend or family member to model garments and accessories for your site. This often looks far more professional than simply photographing your item on a hanger. Some other tips for Ecommerce photography include: ensuring everything is steamed, properly lit, and that your photos look cohesive and are all sized in the same dimensions. Do your customers a favour and shoot on a blank backdrop or simple area — it makes a big difference to those scrolling by.
The next step in your Ecommerce journey involves creating a marketing strategy around your newfound digital presence. The components of a simple but effective digital marketing plan include a regular email newsletter, an effective social media strategy, and any other types of digital content. All of these should align with your businesses’ overall goals. By no means do these need to be updated on a daily or even weekly basis. It’s more important to have a schedule and to focus on maintaining regular content. Remember: consistency over frequency. Pro tip: many Ecommerce platforms offer an email newsletter feature built in to their platform. You can give your shoppers the option to subscribe in exchange for a small discount code to put towards their first purchase, this generally leads to more sales and allows you to form a relationship with your new customer.
Shipping and storing
Shipping can be extremely frustrating as a retailer, be sure to do your research to determine which shipping company is best for you. You may require different shipping companies based on where you plan on shipping to. Use a comparison calculator like secureship to ensure your customers can get the best rates and wait times on and relay that information to your customers before they purchase from you. Make sure that you have adequate space and a location with the right conditions for whatever you plan on selling. For example, if you’re selling skincare products that need to be kept cold, make sure you have the necessary equipment to keep the product at optimal temperature. Alternatively, many wholesalers offer dropshipping as an option. While dropshipping can be an effective way to handle demanding inventory needs or even test the success of new products, it should rarely be used as a primary function of your business. This guide from Big Commerce explains more on the benefits and drawbacks of adopting dropshipping into your business model.
While starting an Ecommerce business is no easy feat, it has proven to be an essential channel for retail businesses to stay afloat during this time. While it may be frustrating at first, as long as it works efficiently, having even the simplest of Ecommerce websites can be the saving factor that keeps your business afloat.
Lucie Mink is a digital marketing, branding strategist, and freelance writer. She currently works with a number of fashion brands and has more than six years of professional experience in the industry. She is deeply passionate about sustainable fashion and creating environmental change within the industry. You can find her dancing, cooking, and singing (usually at the same time) or follow her here, on Instagram.