Launching an Online Clothing Store? Advice from Successful Shopify Sellers
- October 10, 2015 | Katherine Gustafson
Setting up an online store to sell clothes and accessories has its own special challenges. Shoppers like to touch and try on clothes. But while their hesitation to buy remotely might be a challenge for your business, you can still succeed in this field by making sure to put their needs first and convey clearly who you are and what your brand means.
Here’s some advice from some online clothing sellers who have used Shopify to launch successful businesses. If you plan to do the same, listen up.
Get Your Web Presence Right
Ben Cardwell, founder of Deal Man, a menswear e-retailer based in Australia, emphasizes that the aesthetics and utility of your online presence is the key to making customers feel comfortable buying clothes online.
“First and foremost, create a functional and aesthetically pleasing store,” he says. “I've personally mentored some other businesses who have yet to add a domain name to their store, creating major trust issues amongst their [potential customers].”
Karen Bowers, who opened the UK-based lingerie site Katy's Boutique after 30 years running the brick-and-mortar store Secrets Boutique, also emphasizes the importance of your web presence: “My top recommendation would be to invest as much as possible in the look. Get it right, with a site that is easy to use and flows well, and the customers will come!”
Put Your Customers First
The point of creating a top-notch website to make sure your prospective buyers trust and like your company and your brand. This is paramount in success in this business.
“Have as close of a relationship you can get with your customers,” advises Ali Von Paris, Founder & CEO of Maryland’s Route One Apparel, seller of University of Maryland-themed clothes and accessories. “Encourage feedback and recommendations at all times and reward them for doing so. As a community brand, we make sure to treat our customers like family.”
The co-founders of UK-based outdoor clothing retailer dewerstone put it as succinctly as possible: “Customers are everything.” He also points out that your brand is a very important asset to your growing business: “Protect your brand,” he says.
Build Your Brand
Jennifer Doob, founder of Wild Dill, a California-based e-retailer of organic, fair-trade baby clothes, notes that building a strong brand is vitally important.
“Have a clearly defined vision for your store and brand,” she says. “What differentiates you and why should shoppers chose your store over others? Once you figure this out, tell the story and stick to it across all touch-points, from your site design to social media and packaging.”
All this brand-building comes back to seducing and retaining customers: “The right customers will find you and stay loyal if you have an authentic story and vision that is clearly communicated from all angles,” she says.
Your strong branding should extend across social media, advise the owners of Colorado-based Mountain Standard, seller of outdoor gear and apparel. “Establish a presence on social media that connects with a similar look on your site. This way, customers who are coming from social can recognize the brand and imagery right when they enter the site.”
Hewing close to this advice will help you overcome your customers’ initial reserve. Hook them into who you are and what you’re offering and you’ll have loyal followers to help you thrive.