This is for all of you out there who, very much like me, fancy the online space and want to venture into the e-commerce category. So how do you make that precious first sale? You've got a product you want to sell, primped your company logo and set up a fancy website. How do you get the customers pouring in and actually start selling?
When anyone asks me this question with reference to Style Fiesta, my answer is usually "I've been a fashion blogger for 4 years+ and I converted my readers into customers". While this is partially true, blogging being the primary reason I got drawn into the world of e-commerce, my journey hasn't been satiable with just my blog readers. There have been tons of ups-and-downs and sleepless nights of brainstorming to work up a trunk of loyal customers and constant daily sales. But what if you're not a blogger, hate writing and would make for a fabulous online retailer?
Then I hope this helps you and tons of other aspiring fashion-businesswomen like me. Here's how to start an online fashion business!
Use Your Social Networks
...and by social networks I mean friends and family. They will always be your strongest medium of word-of-mouth marketing and there's no better marketing than that. Make use of platforms that you use to stay connected with friends and family - it could be getting them to share links on their social media platforms or hosting a preview trunk show.
Let Customers Test Your Product
In a country like India, where e-commerce is at a nascent stage, the obstacle is not only convincing your customer to buy a product, but also to buy your product online. At least in the beginning, it is necessary to give your customers a touch-and-feel of your product to allow them to trust your brand and in turn shop online the next time as well as recommend to their peers.
Send Samples to Influencers
Bloggers, vloggers, social personalities, journalists, entrepreneurs - find out who the influencers in your industry are. Influencers can make or break a brand, and for a startup, they could make it in a big way. Send them samples and freebies with a personal touch. There are chances of a possible shout-out and if not, they could genuinely like your product and are sure to mention it to 10 potential customers. Being a blogger, I have recorded the traffic I've driven to brands websites that I have collaborated with and its been pretty fantastic, so take it from the horse's mouth itself.
Invent a Unique Crowd-Puller
Why should someone come to your website and not another? Have something unique to offer them. If you don't have it, create it, invent it, make it up if you have to, but make sure you're giving your customer something just a little more than what everyone's giving them. For example, with Style Fiesta, my biggest marketing strategy has always been my connect with my customers. My customers find it easy to relate with the personality behind the e-commerce website as compared to a faceless brand. To respect that, I make sure that 100% of the buying is done by me, so my customers are buying my carefully hand picked products for them.
Email IDs Are Priceless
Collect email ids in whichever way you can, be it pre-launch registrations, newsletter signups or registered customers. This way you're delivering your products, latest news and attractive offers right at the door of your potential customers, something even a dozen Facebook & Twitter updates can't achieve. (Cheap tactics like asking your friends who work in other companies always works. Let's not deny it, we've all been there)
Create Some Noise
Jenny Humphrey did it in Gossip Girl, and we know how well that turned out. Think along the lines of a viral video, a launch event or a PR stunt - something that would grab everyone's attention and have them talk about your brand to their friends. Once they know about your brand, that's battle number 1 won right there.
In simpler words, other popular blogs and websites will drive traffic to your website and they earn a sales commission on every sale made through them. Seen those banners on fashion blogs? That's what they do. Get associated with an affiliate marketing network and you can have influencers marketing your product and driving in sales for you.
Pinterest can be a massive traffic-puller for an e-commerce website. Seen those posts with the little prices and links? Yeah, they're money churners. Religiously pinning your products using Product Rich Pins will not only direct genuine traffic to your website but also guarantee sales.
Social Media, Obviously (But with lots of information!)
This point needs no explanation and yet I see brands not giving it the importance they should. Instead of dishing out cute quotes to share on your Instagram page, share your products along with prices, you'll see solid conversions in no time.