Setting Up an Online Clothing Business: a Creative Approach

Published: 07th February 2012
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Anyone with internet access and a local post office can become an entrepreneur these days. If you’re hoping to launch a successful clothing business you’ll face tough competition worldwide so don’t expect miracles from a shop that you decided to set up in the morning and had up and running the next day. Be professional and think about every last detail before unveiling your shop.

Your “shop floor”
You don’t have to buy your own domain or hire an expert to design your website. In fact, e-commerce platforms like Etsy will let you set up shop for free and only charge a token monthly fee and a small one every time you post a new product up for sale.
Whichever option you choose, pay a lot of attention to the usability and design of your website. Imagine it’s a real shop where you expect to find tidy racks of clothes, clear product information and pricing, and big signs to the check-outs.
Make sure your choice of logo epitomises the shop’s ethos and will appeal to your target audience. Spend time on its design. Think of the Starbucks example – would the coffee company be as successful minus its world renowned green logo?
When it comes to showing off your product range, invest time and effort or seek assistance from a friend or hired help who knows good camera work and how to handle Photoshop. The internet is cluttered with amateur enterprises that fail to impress with the poor quality of photos. Online the best way a person can judge whether a piece of clothing is right is by good visuals. Ideally, each item should be featured in at least three photos including a full length frontal, full length back shot and zoomed in shot of the fabric or details such as buttons, belts or folds. Instead of taking a picture of a shirt lying flat on the ground or hanging off a shapeless mannequin, get a friend to model it for you. Be consistent and use the same backdrop in all your photos, or at least stick to the same colour scheme.

Use the right words
An online shop’s success lies in more than good visuals and usability. Never underestimate the importance of written content as structured and persuasive copy can increase sales. Describe each item including every finest detail such as what fabric it’s made of and how it should be washed. To liven up the content, add ideas on how the piece could be styled and what occasion it could be worn to. Or, if you know the exact origins of the garment, describe its story and how you ended up offering it up for grabs. Be sure to include measurements in both inches and centimetres if providing international sales.
Place equal importance on the “About” section of your website, “Terms and Conditions” and any other information you wish to include. Professional wording and detailed descriptions will encourage trust in your potential customers. Once a sale’s been made send out a personal thank you note and request feedback from your customers. A personalised approach encourages people to return to the shop or recommend it to friends.

Getting the word out
Traditional advertising methods are great to get you started. Use word of mouth and homemade flyers to get the ball rolling locally. For places further afield, get to grips with social media and put your creative ideas into practice. Link your website to a blog and entice potential customers with frequent, well written fashion-related updates. If you do have a budget set aside for advertising, it’s definitely worth your while to consider paid search options. Be persistent and watch your business grow.

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