Nothing sounds more appealing than leaving the corporate world to start your own fashion business online. Thousands of entrepreneurs set out on their own to achieve a level of freedom that seemed impossible when working for other people. There’s nothing better than setting your own hours, making executive decisions, and taking vacation time when needed. However, not everything is sunshine and rainbows in the entrepreneurial world. In fact, many people fail to start their own fashion business because of a general naivety that everything will be easier than having a normal job.
The Small Business Administration of the United States estimates that one in twelve small businesses decide to close each year. The reasons for closing range from a lack of sales to personal choices. Starting a fashion brand and e-commerce store will always carry some inherent risk. With the right strategy and dedication, this risk will yield sufficient reward to justify the decision. If you have a dream of starting your own online fashion store, don’t give up on that aspiration. Sometimes, it is just as helpful to know what to avoid on the road to success. Here are five of the most common mistakes you should avoid when building your first fashion e-commerce store.
Mistake 1: Not performing market research
Market research is one of the more fundamental steps in starting a fashion e-commerce store that many entrepreneurs simply avoid. As a business owner, you have to know your target audience. Are you selling clothes to men, women, children, or everyone? Do you sell to members of all backgrounds or only certain groups? Will you have many different sizes or target specific body types?
Before you can design clothes, build advertisements, or design your site, you have to learn more about your target audience. After determining your select demographic, you should perform some market research to learn more about this group. As an entrepreneur in the niche, you should understand their needs, desires, questions, and problems. This knowledge will inform every decision you’ll make in this business.
Mistake 2: Choosing the website platform
Hosting is a foreign concept to many designers who enter into the e-commerce space. Whether you’re starting a website that sells leather gloves for bikers or slippers for elderly women, hosting will be an integral component of your business. All fashion e-commerce sites rely on hosting to store their data on servers. The quality of the hosting provider will determine many aspects of your site including speed and accuracy. This is the difference you’ll commonly see as self hosted vs managed hosting, you definitely want the latter.
When choosing a hosting provider many people make the mistake of choosing an option at random. Some people will randomly click on an advertisement or be tricked into buying the most expensive option. In reality, there are too many hosting options to determine the best overall. Each fashion e-commerce store will need a hosting provider that best fits its needs.
One of the most common traps people signing up for new hosting fall into is paying too much for features. If you shop around, you can find hosting companies that offer 2-3X the features for the same price. It’s important to compare the features of each host to find which one offers the best. This list by Aussie Hosting sorts hosts based on free upgrades like SSL, backups, and security. Considering free upgrades provided by your platform/host is a great way to bootstrap your site’s startup costs.
Mistake 3: Underpricing of merchandise
When you build your first fashion e-commerce site, it can be difficult to choose prices for each product. One one hand, you have a desire to offer your customers with quality products. However, you also want and need to make money in order to make the venture worthwhile. Many people end up underpricing their products and lose money in the long-run. Even with steady sales, low prices can put any e-commerce site on the losing end.
Most entrepreneurs underprice their clothes and other merchandise for fear of scaring customers off with higher costs. You have to perform some calculations and decide on a price that will generate sales without putting you under financially. It’s always a good idea to start a little more expensive when you first start out. You can always adjust the pricing later.
Mistake 4: No concrete marketing strategy
A solid marketing strategy is the only method through which your fashion brand will be seen by potential customers. When you first publish your site online, you’ll be lucky to have even one visitor. As with any business model, the generation of sales only comes with awareness. Too many people make the mistake of starting a fashion e-commerce store without a concrete marketing strategy.
While starting a blog, posting on social media, and paying for ads are all great methods of marketing, they still need to be designed to fit your company’s needs in order to be effective. You have to sit down and devise a tangible and concrete marketing strategy that comes with goals and a budget. As marketing is all about constant growth, you shouldn’t be afraid to start out small. You can always invest more in marketing as your company grows.
Mistake 5: Not monitoring online stats
Through complex algorithms and analytics, e-commerce owners can gain detailed data and statistics regarding their site’s activity. As this information takes some time to understand and manipulate, many entrepreneurs simply shrug it off without a second thought. In reality, this information is one of the biggest advantages that fashion e-commerce stores have over brick-and-mortar shops.
With these detailed analytics, you can make a lot of effective changes to your store. You can determine which marketing method is yielding the most results and capitalize on this success. You can see which sources generate the most traffic for your website and work to improve others. You can even determine how long each visitor stays on your site. With all of this information, you’ll be able to make changes and tweaks that will only improve your site’s success. If you’re wondering how to do this effectively, take a look at Shopify’s analytics.
Starting a fashion e-commerce store is an exciting and challenging process. In addition to all of the perks that come with being an entrepreneur, you’ll also be faced with some challenges. Avoiding these five common mistakes can make sure you have a smooth start.