Are you an excited entrepreneur who wants to show the world what you can do?
Great! Then you’ve arrived at the right avenue. There’s no doubt that online businesses are on the rise, especially where high-speed internet exists. On top of that, it’s no secret that Cambodia is also moving towards becoming a more cashless society. So, if you’re interested in building an online fashion store, the time is definitely now. We’ve gathered some helpful tips below that’ll allow you to kick-start your business smoothly. Ready to steal some tips? Let’s get started.
Did you know that the fashion industry started way back, around the 19th century? It’s no wonder that the industry is highly saturated. However, fret not, because if you’re truly passionate about running an online fashion store, there are still ways for you to stand out. But first, you’ve to do your research! Every successful business ever known has consistently conducted their research to avoid creating products or brands that are too similar to their competitors. So, for you to stay on top of the game, we’d advise you to do the same.
Why is research so important?
Understanding the market better
The more research you do, the more you know what’s out there. You’ll slowly come to realise what the past trends are and was it a failure or a success? What causes trends to happen and how long do they typically last? Which styles are timeless and why are they so? Who knows, you might come across some things that are particularly high in demand that you want to tap on it. The possibilities are endless. A good tip to gather all your research is to print all the articles you’ve read and gather them in a folder so you can access them easily. Or even better, if you’re more a digital person, bookmark all things necessary or save it under your notes! This way, wherever you are, your references are with you.
Filling a gap
Conducting your research not only gives you a glimpse of what’s already been done, but it also allows you the opportunity to find a gap in the market that you can fill. This gap can be anything, it could be from customer service to size availability, and more! Do not underestimate this gap because whether it’s a big or small one, it’s a potential unique selling point that can help your business stand out in the market. See why, it’s important to do your research? Without it, it’s harder to tell what can potentially make your business stand out.
It’s very important to never limit yourself. While doing local research is important, you can also look at international brands and get some inspirations on what’s not in the local market yet. Strive to be the first to provide something new and unique so that you’re different from the other brands out there. Read about the different brand backgrounds, learn about their brand direction, take a look at their social media and see how they market their product. All these will help guide you when you kick-off your business.
Identifying your target audience is equally as important when it comes to building a successful business. It’s the foundation of your marketing strategy, from how you develop and name your products or services right through to the marketing channels you use to promote them. But keep in mind that not everybody is going to be your target group. You’ve to identify and understand your particular niche so that you can dominate it. The better you understand your target market, the clearer your marketing goals will be in servi them with relevant content, messaging, and ads. All these elements are going to help your business grow.
For starters, you can begin identifying your target audience by looking at their demographics.
Although you may not need to get too specific here, it’s good to have a gauge of which age range you’re targeting. Are they 25-35 year olds? 40 and above?
Location is especially important if you’re looking to expand your business to other countries in the future. This will not only help you from making sure that customer service is always available despite the time zone differences, but it also allows you to know when you should schedule your social posting and ads at the optimal time to the ensure best visibility.
This is perhaps one of the most important aspects yet. If the content on your website or social platform is not written in a language your customers understand, chances are, not many people are going to purchase your products. Never assume that your customers speak the same language you do or the dominant language of your current physical location. What you can do on your website is providing a language option so that customers can select the language they prefer. Aside from that, if you’re expending your business elsewhere, you might want to consider hiring a translator to make sure that the locals understand what you’re trying to convey.
Looking at your brand, who do you think might be interested in your products? For instance, people who like R&B and Hip Hop might show interest in street style or people who are into old films might be into vintage clothing. Again, it highly depends on what type of brand you are. The idea here is to simply, find or connect a common trait.
Branding plays a big role in driving your business to success. Especially for a clothing line, branding is absolutely imperative. As we’ve already touched on earlier, the fashion industry is not new. Hence, there is a high possibility that there isn’t anything your customers might not have come across before. So in order to stand out, it’s very important for you to come up with a strong brand identity and an authentic story behind your business. This means, that rather than just simply choosing a name or aimlessly picking a style without a reason, think about who you are, what you can bring to the table, or even add to what’s already available in the marketplace. Is it luxury, quality, cheap alternatives, additional sizes, or a new style you can provide? All these elements are worth thinking through to create a foundation for your brand.
Another great tip you can use while figuring out what you want your brand to be, is to draw from your own experiences and personality as a base. Your brand should be a reflection of yourself because when it is reflected, consumers are able to see the authenticity of your brand. You don’t want your business to seem as if you’re just like the many other brands out there or even worse, a brand who just wants to sell a bunch of stuff to somebody. So again, make sure you don’t rush through this very important process!
Gone are the days where physical stores are the only way to conduct a business. Thanks to the existence of the internet and the multiple online platforms available, you’re able to set up your business in no time. Not to mention, it keeps start-up costs right down as you won’t need to pay for rent!
In Cambodia, Facebook and Instagram are both common marketing platforms for fashion and skincare businesses. However, if you’re looking to stand out, you may want to consider adding an extra platform such as a proper website. Building a functioning e-commerce website can be ridiculously easy these days—and cheap compared to paying a down payment or rent for a physical store. You can build a basic Shopify site for as little as $29 per month. Additionally, you don’t need to be a pro when it comes to designing as Shopify provides free ready themes. You might only need to take professionally shot photos of your products to be uploaded on the website. Another platform you may consider is WIX. Similarly to Shopify, they use a drag and drop function, which is super easy to use!
Here are other aspects you might want to consider while building your online business.
Once your website goes live, soon enough there will be traffic and orders coming in. So before launching your brand, make sure you’ve got a plan on how you’ll be taking in orders and managing them. What you can do is to create an organised system so that you are able to keep track of everything from orders, to inventory stock, and to payments.
To create a better shopping experience for your customers, establish a convenient mode of payment such as fund transfer, cash, or an online debit card payment portal!
If you’re running your business alone in the beginning, try to find ways to make your life easier. For delivery, you could use a fulfilment service like Kerry Express or Joonaak. That way you don’t have to worry about going out and delivering packages as all you have to do is set up your online store and focus on creating and marketing your products.
Feedback & Reviews
Find a way to encourage your customers to leave feedback for you, whether it’s about the product or the services. Feedback and reviews are a great way to improve and spread the word about your store!
Now that you’ve got your product ready, your brand identity strong, and have a platform or website that people can visit, it’s time to do some marketing. It’s important to get the basics right. To hit your marketing goal, you first need to know what that goal is, and it goes without saying that you will need a full and thorough marketing strategy to stand out. Additionally, via these channels, you can interact with your fans directly to develop a clear “voice” for your clothing line.
Down the line when your business is more stabilised and you’ve got some extra money you can spend, you can start investing some cash into paid advertising on these social marketing platforms. These social platform ads are probably the most worthwhile for e-commerce businesses. Your target audience, nine times out of ten, will spend their lives on these channels. Plus, Facebook’s model for ad targeting is so specific and niche these days that you can really reach the best audience for your brand. If you’re interested in social media marketing, we’ve written an entire article about how you can choose the right social media platform to achieve your marketing goals here.
Another hot marketing pick these days to increase sales and brand awareness is through influencers. Those that have high followers often list their email address for PR inquiries. Since they’ve such a high following, chances are, most of their fans are going to be exposed to your brands if these influencers are promoting it – giving you a chance to not only boost your sales but also the opportunity to gain more followers on your social media account!
If you’re afraid to start, remember this, that no one is born with the full-stack set of skills to start and run a successful business. So, don’t be too hard on yourself and take the time you need to learn about all the elements that can help you turn your dreams into reality. All the best!
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