Are you a young designer looking for an easy way to connect with consumers? Or a retailer willing to broaden your perspectives? If so, opening an online fashion shop may very well be the next step in your business’s growth plan. At fashionTrade, we believe you have the potential to create a successful webshop – you just need a little help to kick things off! Here’s our 6-step guide to launching an online fashion shop.
1. Choose a clear domain name
First things first, your website needs a simple, easy-to-remember and trustworthy domain name – this is the name that consumers will type on their browsers to access your shop. Most brands just use their own name followed by .com (like we did at fashionTrade.com) or .country locale (like .nl for the Netherlands).
A domain name can only be used by one company. Thus, we advise you to do a quick online research to make sure your dream name is available. How to actually register your domain name depends on the country where you operate. Some quick online research will help you out here.
2. Create a unique style and brand experience
There are hundreds of online fashion shops out there. Obviously, you want yours to stand out and feel unique. But how can you make sure consumers enjoy themselves on your platform? What will make them stay and want to come back? Before starting, take the time to define:
- The overall look and feel of your website,
- The colors and tone of voice you would like to use,
- Your photography style.
There is no perfect recipe to create a great online experience. The good news is, you can have a look at thousands of fashion shops online to get inspiration. Don’t know where to start? Have a look at the brands we are currently working with.
And don’t worry, you can always adjust your webshop after it’s launched. That’s the great thing about working online!
3. Set-up your online platform
An e-commerce platform requires some complex features like a complete check-out process and a product-database, to name but a few. Depending on your budget and objectives, you can:
The 1st option allows you to go live quickly without building anything from scratch. All functionalities are ready to run and you just have to customise the platform with your own logo, content and product data-base. Don’t worry, your website will be customised enough so it perfectly represents your brand image. But you won’t be able to have any features that are not currently offered by the platform. However, this remains a fair option if you cannot afford to spend too much of your time on this project or if you are just in a testing phase.
The 2ndoption, building your own website from scratch, requires more time and resources but will give you a tailor-made webshop. You will need to partner with:
- A web designer to create a good-looking and easy-to-use interface,
- A web developer to build the website.
Of course, this gives you more freedom: you can develop your website exactly as you fancy it. It is definitely worth the investment if going online is one of your top priority and if you can afford to spend a lot of time on the project.
And don’t forget mobile! More and more shopping is made on smartphone: you will need a solid mobile site in order not to upset your customers.
4. Get great product photography and product descriptions
The main difference between a physical and an online shop is that customers cannot touch the products nor ask for help to a sale assistant. This is why you need to anticipate as much as possible their questions. Customers need to feel confident about buying your products online – and this is done through high-quality product photography and descriptions.
Product photography and descriptions must:
- Inspire consumers,
- Give them a realistic picture of the product (fit, colors, size, fabrics),
- Show and explain as many details as possible.
Depending on your budget and brand identity, you can resort to still photography or use models.
5. Start spreading the news
Good product photography and description will result in higher sell-through and lower returns, so don’t rush this step.
Your site is ready: now you need to get some traffic! There are multiple way to attract consumers:
- Post about your shop on social channels. Need some help on Instagram? Read our article about Instagram for fashion brands,
- Send a newsletter to all your contacts,
- Create a digital or print press-kit for journalists so they can spread the word for you,
- Connect with influencers that could share the news with their network.
Getting traffic to your site will take time and energy. It’s completely normal to have a low number of visits at the beginning. You need to promote your webshop consistently through time to get a positive impact.
The best thing about the web is that you can test and change things quite easily. In order to do so, you need to be able to track what is happening on your site via an analytic tool. E-commerce platforms will automatically come with this kind of tools and you can easily connect your own website with Google Analytics. Once it’s live, take the time to review its performance and ask yourself the right questions:
- How many products did you sell?
- Did you have a lot of returns?
- On which pages do consumers spend more time?
- From which pages do they leave your website?
Questions are endless and there are no easy answers. Start focusing on the most important ones for you and take one step at a time. This is how you will move your shop to the right direction.
Key takeaways on how to jumpstart your online fashion shop:
- Create a brand experience.
- Inspire and assist your consumers with great product photography and descriptions.
- Don’t create your own website from scratch, unless you have the appropriate resources.
- Think about mobile experience!
- Promote your website consistently through time.
- Review your webshop performance via analytics.
Have you already launched your B2C online shop? Are you trying to optimise your B2B processes? Create your profile on fashionTrade and start selling online.