Mar 24, 2011
Clothing is a big business online. If you are in fashion business (or you know where to source for clothing to sell online), but you don’t know how to get started – you are at the right place.
Where to sell your clothing?
You can always start with a blog, or marketplace like eBay, Lelong etc. if you have never experienced selling online before.
However, bear in mind that a blog is well, meant for blogging and not a webstore. It’s not convenient for you and your customers if you want to run your business professionally. You have got to handle your customer data, manage your order and inventory manually, you get what I mean.
Marketplace is not bad a choice considering the ready traffic (potential customers) it already has. You need to establish yourself from other sellers though.
Since you need to pay fees on marketplace, setting up your own webstore like webShaper could be a better option. You can have your own branded store (own domain like http://www.myfashionstore.com) plus sophisticated product catalog , marketing tools, customer and order management.
Furthermore, you don’t need to worry about the web design as many beautifully designed, fashion-oriented templates are readily provided by webShaper Stores. Those are ready-to-go-live store templates, all you need to do is pick one, put up your stunning logo and get started!
Writing your business profile and policies
One of the first things to do after you have decided on where to sell is to put up your logo. If you don’t already have one, get one from only USD 39 at sites like http://www.logodesigncreation.com.
Next, you need to write your business profile like the background of your business, or your business philosophy (your vision, what’s should people care?). Also, you have to make your shipping, return and exchange policies clear cut.
Set the expectation right with your customers, like in how many days they can expect to receive the product, do you accept return or exchange (you better do) etc.
How to photograph clothing?
Product photography is ultimately important if you are selling online, since the customers won’t be able to touch or feel your product. Basically there are three ways of photographing apparels.
Shoot your clothing flat or folded
This is the easiest way if you don’t know much about photography. You just need a decent compact camera, a board as background and sufficient lighting source (probably you need to invest in two lightings) to get going. You can refer here or here for more how-tos.
Shoot your clothing on mannequin
It will be better to photograph clothing on mannequin or real model for items like ladies’ dress. Customers would be able to view the clothing in 3D rather than laid flat. Just make sure you have a tripod, clean wall as background and of course a mannequin.
Shooting your clothing on real model
Arguably the best way is to photograph apparels on real person. All you need is a sweet decent friend or yourself to pose like a model. In this case, shooting your photo outdoor is less challenging than indoor’s.
As the rule of thumb, just make sure you have sufficient lighting no matter which technique you choose. If you are not really confident, ask for your friend’s help or hire a professional photographer.
Publishing your product photos
Depending on the type of clothing you are selling, you might need to photograph the clothing in multiple angles and / or in detail. This is because your customer won’t be able to touch, feel or try your product and all they rely on are product photos. You want to provide as detailed info as possible to help them on the purchasing decision (or impulse buying!)
eStore solution like webShaper , has a special gallery features designed just for online fashion sellers. It allows you to upload multiple photos for each product (and smartly auto resize it) so that they can be viewed conveniently via a sliding photo gallery – see it in live demo!
Not only that, webShaper also allows you to configure the zooming settings in your webstore, so that your customer can view your clothing in detail.
You can also easily label your products like hot, pre-order, new, best selling etc on top of the product photos.
Write a good product description
You have got your photos, now it’s time to describe product. Help the customer to make a buying decision by providing sufficient information.
Imagine you are in your customer’s shoes, what kind of details is vital before you click the “Add to cart” or “Buy” button?
Two main things come into mind, material and size chart. Let your customers know what kind of material your clothing is made of as they can’t touch or feel it. Also, provide a size chart with precise measurements as the customers won’t be able to try it themselves.
Easily put up and maintain Size Chart via the size chart Feature in webShaper Stores
However, that’s not all, a solid merchants will always throw in additional guarantee or solid return policy to ensure peace of mind by taking away the risk of your customers?
Managing sizes and stock
This is one of the advantages if you are selling via webstore powered by webShaper, you are able to manage the sizes and let your customers order the size they want.
Besides, you are able to manage the stock level for each product. Stock count will be automated deducted after each orders therefore you are able to track and manage your inventory efficiently via the webstore admin console.
It is important that customer won’t be able to order a particular item if it’s out of stock. With a webstore system in place, you don’t need to keep track of your inventory in a spreadsheet.
Selling gift vouchers
A lot of people like to shop online for gifts, but they don’t know what item to buy so they will buy a gift voucher / card instead. This is especially true with clothing business.
You can use webShaper stores to sell gift vouchers, for example RM 50, RM 100, RM 200 etc. Customers can easily purchase and redeem it via your webstore.
Accepting payments and managing orders
Accepting payments via blogshop especially is not a straight forward process. Customers need to make an order with you and then make an effort to do a bank transfer to you or paying via PayPal.
webShaper supports many payment gateways so that your customers can pay you in an easy and secure way while they are placing an order with you. In this case, customers can choose to pay you via credit cards, PayPal, online / offline bank transfer etc.
Managing orders is an ease with webstore as you will be able to see all orders at a glance. Again, no manual spreadsheet is required.
You will be able to confirm the order once payment is made, ship the product and update the webstore system so that your customer will receive an email knowing that the item has been shipped.
Shipping your clothing
Talking about shipping, you are able to configure the shipping rate in webShaper either by order quantity, order weight or order amount. This extra cost can be automatically calculated into the total order amount based on the shipping location.
Use a registered or preferably express shipping services so that your item can reach your customer securely and on timely manner.
Remember to fold and pack your clothing in a neat way to leave a good impression. It will be a bonus if you can ship your clothing in your own branded packaging, since that will be the first physical contact point between you and your customers.
Market your business
One of the most critical aspects for an online business to make or break is on how well you market your business.
webShaper is a search engine optimized webstore. Therefore, all you need to do is stuff in the right content and you will get found via search engines over the time.
Following are some of the marketing tips on how to market your online business:
- Promote your business via Facebook page and Twitter.
- Blog about content relevant to your business.
- Be an active and contributing member in relevant forums.
- Consider advertising on Google and Facebook.
Customers always come first
It has to be as hassle-free as possible for your customers to place order. With more than 500 million active users globally, it make sense to allow your customers to login with their Facebook account.
Ultimately, it is important to provide a good customer service like respond to enquiries, make sure the item is in good condition before shipping, and ship out the item the soonest possible.
Customers are braving themselves to place an order from you without seeing you and your products. Therefore, make sure they are fulfilled with the best service possible!
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