Launching a new online store is an exciting adventure, but it can also be hard to make the first step. What do you need to know to get going? Are there certain resources you should have lined up? How can you get to the top of Google results in the least time possible? There are a number of opportunities ahead of you, but there are also plenty of questions to be asked first. Here are some tips to keep in mind when getting your retail store up and going:
- Figure out who your market is: Are you selling styles you’re passionate about, or looking to make the most return on your ecommerce investment? Either way, it’s important to do plenty of market research before stocking your store. Examine hard numbers and see what people are consuming, but also get creative with mood boards and more abstract brainstorming.
It’s also important to have cohesion to your brand, so pick a path you think customers will like, and stick to it. You may be passionate about retro style, but if you’ve decided to sell businesswear you should probably forego creating a shop section of cute polka dot dresses. (But if you’re that passionate about it, maybe you should rethink your business direction!)
- Get organized: Keep a detailed calendar, and stick to it. Time management doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people, but that’s no excuse; if you’re missing meetings and deadlines, your business is going to fail before you’ve even launched. Additionally, create a seamless method of organizing stock, to help avoid order mishaps. Assign each item a number, and create a bin for each number. Create a detailed Excel doc to log your items, or invest in inventory management software that will do the job for you.
- Get good photos: Taking good photos means you have to make a bit of an investment, but it will pay off quickly. People are much more likely to buy a product that was professionally (or even semi-professionally!) shot over one that comes from your smartphone. Take a class, buy some mid-level equipment or hire someone to take shots for you. Additionally, find folks to model the clothes you’re selling! People are more likely to buy a product if they can see how it looks when being worn.
- Stay on top of social networking: These days, building your brand isn’t just about having eye-catching items: it’s just as much about how you present them to the world. Social networking is a mandatory (and perhaps the most important) part of promoting your brand. Join Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and whatever new and even kooky new platform people are using these days. Remember those lovely photos you took in step three? Those will come in handy here! Even if you aren’t a social media maven in your personal life, it’s important to keep your business feeds looking fresh, intriguing and aesthetically pleasing.
- Learn some tech basics: SEO. PPC. GA. These may sound like alien terms if you’ve never done online marketing before, but they’re crucial elements to get your site ranking on Google. Get a Google Analytics account set up, and devour all the info you can about keyword tracking, ranking and link building. This is another spot where investing a little money can go a long way: take a class on online marketing basics, or hire a freelancer to help with your site. High Google rankings require a strong digital foundation, and you want to start building yours ASAP.
While there are plenty of other factors that go into building your store, these are a few that can really help you edge out the competition. In fact, the team at Material.com has crafted an entire ebook about to help you do just that; it’s called Fashioning Your Retail Empire Online, and it’s a step-by-step guide to creating your dream business. With some effort, investment and learning, you can be running a fashion retail powerhouse in no time
Author bio: Andrea Kinnison is the Content Strategist at Material.
@ILoveFashionRetail we design & develop e-commerce websites & mobile apps for fashion retailers. We also help fashion brands grow their online sales & traffic. Our essays are featured in Forbes, Moz, Fairchild, FIT and more. Contact us.