2020 has been a challenging and interesting year for businesses and individuals globally. Many have found themselves in a position to either pivot their business operations or, in the case of people, having to start their own thing. Launching a new business is an incredibly brave step to take, but naturally, can come with its challenges.
Start-ups are inherently prone to more risk than more established companies due to lack of funding and customer base. In fact, statistics show that only 10% of all start-ups actually go on to make it. The main hindrance to their success is actually generating new business, with 14% of all new start-ups failing due to not paying attention to their customers’ needs.
Don’t let all of this scare you off though. There are incredible opportunities in the eCommerce environment. 2020 has seen some of the most drastic growth in the online space of all time due to lockdown and global restrictions. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of shopping and making purchases forever, and it is only expected to grow from here.
So, if you are looking to launch your own online fashion retailer, we thought we would give you some helpful hints to get your business off on the right foot.
Automate As Much As Possible
Launching an online business means that most of your customers are online and engage with you digitally. But it also means that most of your operations and processes will also be digital. Technology has evolved so rapidly, especially over the last decade, that there are solutions and tools online that will help you with almost every aspect of your business.
You can automate processes like your social media posts, for example, which usually take a great deal of time to get right. There are various tools that allow you to schedule posts and auto generated ads to reach your social audiences for example. You can also find great CRM tools that will automatically engage and take care of your customers with the use of a bot.
There are also a number of fashion and apparel-specific platforms to streamline your ordering, warehousing, supply chain, and sales floor management processes. We highly recommend that you do some research into the capabilities of the various tools open to you. This Apparel Management guide by Apparel Magic, for example, can help you ensure that your operations run smoothly and efficiently behind the scenes.
Start Getting Your SEO Right From the Get-Go
SEO can be one of the most time and resource-intensive parts of digital marketing if you don’t know what you are doing. The fact is that SEO evolves constantly and the criteria that Google sets out change daily. In fact, Google updates their search criteria about 500 to 600 times a year, so there is a lot to keep up with.
But it is possible! If you start getting the basics right from the beginning, you will only need to keep up to date with new trends and with your keyword research.
So what should you start with?
Keyword research: Before you start anything on your site, and write content, get that keyword research done. Once again, there are online tools to help you out here, so make use of them. You’ll find that most of them are either free or very affordable. You will need to know which keywords you need to be packing onto your landing pages and product pages to get your traffic in. Find out what your competitors are doing and make sure you don’t duplicate or stuff pages with keywords because Google will penalize you.
Images: Images play a large role in your SEO. Page loading speed is an important factor in rankings and will also scare off potential visitors if your page takes too long to load. Make sure your images are of high quality but are compressed for quick loading. It is also important to have good descriptions and alt tags on the images for Google to know where to place them in the search.
Blog Posts: We will go into this in the next section, but blogs are vital for every website’s SEO. Remember, Google scrapes your site regularly to know where to place you in the search results, how to categorize you and where you should rank. They do this by picking up the keywords and the value of your links and backlinks. Your pages, including your blog posts, will need to have optimized headers, simple, keyword-rich URLs, simple, descriptive meta descriptions, and consistent HTML code. If this all seems like a lot to remember, platforms like WordPress have integrated tools that make the process super simple for you!
Concentrate on Educational and Informative Content
We touched on content, and why it is so important for SEO. But, let’s move onto how it can actually attract traffic to your site. The modern customer is not only looking for convenience and instant gratification, they are also looking to be informed, educated, and entertained.
This is where your content comes in. Having a blog means that you can tackle some of the most important questions and topics that your customer will be interested in. For your fashion store, try articles like 8 Different Outfit Ideas to Wear to a Christmas Party or The Absolute Staple Items Any Woman Needs in Her Wardrobe. These are the kinds of things people want to know. If you are looking for topic ideas, find out what people are currently searching using keyword research, and go from there.
Plan your blogs around products in your store. If there is something new, or something going on a special sale, include a CTA in the article linking to the product page of the item that just happens to relate to the article.
The next step is to share it far and wide. Send it out to your mailing list as part of your weekly newsletter. Post it on your socials, and if you see the article getting some traction, boost it by advertising it and get it seen by a wider audience. Lastly, share it with other (reputable and domain authoritative) sites. Not only will it get seen by their audience too, but Google will pick up the link building efforts and rank you for it. Quality over quantity is important here, so be selective!
From creating and launching your website, to ensuring that every aspect of the customer journey is optimized, starting a new business can be daunting, yet exciting and educational. Don’t be afraid to try out new things, and test various processes. A/B testing will be one of your most valuable exercises to do when starting a new business. No matter what you roll out, or add to your site, monitor and test versions of it to ascertain what converts higher for your site. Once you know what your customer wants, you can mold your business around that, and hopefully, be one of the 10% of start-ups that make it!