With developed internet technologies, people now have the option to purchase items online. This is a very comfortable way of shopping, especially for those who are living busy lives and have no time to visit physical stores.
If you have decided to open an online clothing store in 2018, this is the right time. Why? Because of high demand and endless online shop-building opportunities which can allow you to build a clothing website with the help of an eCommerce agency or even on your own. To be more precise, let's look at some of the data:
Internet Retailer notes that, in 2016, US online shoppers spent over $342 billion on goods, which is 15% more than in 2014.
Moreover, the apparel market in the US in 2015 was valued at $343 billion.
Since the eCommerce market is so popular, you can start your own online business using multiple tools, including drop-shipping services, online shop builders and online promotion tools.
If you feel enthusiastic about starting an online clothing business, keep reading. In the article below, Dinarys will tell you about the useful eCommerce website features and include a step-by-step tutorial on how to open an online clothing store.
Starting an online clothing business: useful features
When looking for an answer regarding how to set up an online clothing store, you should be aware of the most useful features for online retail. For this, we have selected the most effective options that might be helpful for your online shop and improve your customer experience.
1. Beautiful eCommerce website design
Even if your products are not the best in the world, pay extra attention to design of your site when starting an online clothing boutique. Otherwise, your website visitors will never convert into customers and you will never get the profits you desire. When making a purchase, 93% of online shoppers consider appearance as the most important factor, according to a Kissmetrics study.
When starting an online clothing business, you have several options to achieve beautiful design. You can either pay an eCommerce agency and their team of designers, or buy a ready-made template which you can customize according to your business needs.
There are many online marketplaces with online shops templates to choose from; the most popular are TemplateMonster, TonyTemplates and Apollotheme. The advantages of such templates include their intuitive layouts, and clear and up-to-date design.
As a rule, online website design should include full-width product images and a minimal amount of text. Below, you can find a Reebok example of online store design.
2. Live chat option
Your online shop customers need to know that you will provide them with support after a purchase. Consulting them before and after the purchase is a powerful strategy to increase conversion rates.
The best options for such a high-level service is through 24/7 live-chat. Online retailers, who use this for their business, claim to have an increase in conversion by 10% or more.
If your online business is a start-up and you have limited resources, you should still provide shoppers with support during your working hours.
Take a look at the GitmanBros experience of providing live-chat to their customers.
3. Use a popular payment gateway
The main difference between a standard webpage and online shop is that eCommerce websites allow visitors to pay for goods online. If you want to have satisfied and grateful customers, provide them with several of the most popular payment options.
You might also like: How to Integrate a Payment Gateway in Your eCommerce Website
As an option, you can consider PayPal as a payment gateway for your online shop - though there are plenty others on the market, too. Here, you can learn about other popular methods of payments, selected by Entrepreneur magazine.
4. Responsive design for mobile devices
Last year, mobile commerce accounted for 30% of eCommerce as a whole, and this figure will increase in the future. For instance, Business Insider expects mobile shopping to reach 45% by 2020.
The rising popularity of m-commerce is a sign for online retailers to make their shops mobile-friendly. To make your existing website responsive, you can review the iOS guidelines or hire an eCommerce agency. If you are starting an online business, try to use a mobile-responsive template so as not to miss the m-commerce segment.
5. Secure SSL certificate
To make your customers feel more secure and comfortable, pay attention to the SSL certificate. Most online shop builders have this feature by default; however, if you decide to develop a custom online shop on your own, you won’t want to miss this important feature.
Why is it so important? It gives you secure and encrypted communication between an online shop and customer web browser. All customer bank account data will be safe, so your customers will trust your business more and, as a result, you will receive customers that are more loyal.
Now it’s time to make a clothing website! Below you will find a comprehensive list of the detailed steps to start your eCommerce website.
How to make a clothing website: step by step
If you decided to launch an eCommerce website, you can ask an eCommerce agency for help or create the site and then promote it. Want to know more? Read the full description of each step below.
Choose an online shop builder
Most people who are not familiar with coding might find an eCommerce builder very useful. Why? Because they allow you to start your business from the very first day.
There are many builders nowadays and most cannot determine what is best for you, as they don’t necessarily know how many products you are going to sell. What we can tell you is what factors to consider when choosing an eCommerce website builder.
To start, you can try several builders to find out which option suits you the best.
The best thing is that most eCommerce website builders have a trial period, so you don't have to pay before you try.
To decide, which eCommerce builder suits you the best, you can seek answers to the following questions:
- Is the interface intuitive and simple to use?
- Is it easy to add new pages and products to an online store?
- Does the platform provide you with support in the event of any issues?
- Is there enough design and templates?
- Does the template display your products the way you like?
- Are there enough customization opportunities?
If you answered “yes” to all of them, then the platform you currently use works best for you.
You might also like: How to Launch a Successful eCommerce Website: The Ultimate Checklist
Note: if you make the right decision with the platform and template, you will save money on further website customization.
The right eCommerce builder plan
As a rule, the more you pay for a store builder plan, the more features you get. This is also applicable for storage and templates.
The storage area is the place where all the data will be stored. With more space, you can store more product images, videos and customer data on your website.
The additional space is useful when you expand your product range, or add product videos or a web app to show products from different angles.
Consider that visual content directly impacts your conversion rate and customer engagement.
If you have the budget for premium templates, you have more opportunities to make your clothing website more custom and to get rid of the builder`s logo. Moreover, with a premium theme, you can connect a custom domain name to reflect your business and its uniqueness.
Domain names provide a professional touch
A custom domain name will help your eCommerce clothing website look more professional. As a result, it will attract more potential buyers and increase sales. Think about the domain name as a part of your company identity.
Most online shop builders might help you purchase a domain name. You can also use such services as GoDaddy or Namecheap.
What option should you choose? Remember that, if you would buy a domain via website builder, you will need to migrate it to another platform, which can sometimes be quite difficult.
Your domain name must be catchy, not too short or too long, and it should not be similar to existing brands.
The right template for a clothing website
For most online sellers, this is the best part of starting a clothing website. Now you can create the online shop layout you’ve dreamed about, which will result in an online shop that’s even better than your competitors’.
Using professional templates available in most eCommerce builders, your clothing website will look attractive to your customers.
You can customize an eCommerce template once you find the best option. Another way is to hire an eCommerce team to develop a custom design and template to match your online clothing store perfectly.
If you have doubts about what template to use, test out several before making the final decision.
Online clothing store template customization
If you have successfully passed the previous stage, it is high time to personalize your online clothing store.
By “customization”, we mean:
- Adding product pages
- Creating a blog to launch the content marketing campaign
- Setting your background image to tell more about your company to prospective customers
- Changing the color palate to stand out from the crowd
“If you have doubts about your company’s style and branding, contact us to receive a consultation from the Dinarys design team.”
- You can also change the size, color and cover of the main sections in your online shop.
Don’t forget about integration with social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, for social proof. This will increase your chances of becoming popular among target audiences in a shorter period of time.
At this stage, do not forget to check what your template looks like on mobile devices. We also advise that you use eCommerce website templates with responsive design, to avoid frustration.
When it’s time to build a clothing website, don’t ignore shoppers who prefer to use mobile devices, especially since more and more eCommerce website customers prefer to buy online via mobile devices than desktop.
Also, consider that 52% of internet traffic is from mobile device users. If you do not want to lose this significant share, make sure your website looks good and your future customers will be comfortable with the journey.
Creating product pages
In the previous article, we have told you how important product pages are. To make a long story short, the product page is the place where visual content converts your online shop visitors into customers.
If your online shop home page is the storefront, your product pages are like the shop floor at a brick and mortar store.
You might also like: 10 Best Practices for Creating a Successful eCommerce Homepage
In most eCommerce website builders, like Shopify or WooCommerce, you can add product pages without help from the developer side. Keep in mind, however, that you should focus on the customer journey. The point is that shoppers should find the necessary and desired products easily and quickly; otherwise, your conversion rate will stay low.
Check out your competitors to have a clear idea what a convenient customer journey and product pages should look like.
Online payment processor
Payment gateway integration can be the most challenging part of starting an online clothing business; however, you can fulfill even this stage without external help from developers.
The payment gateway allows your eCommerce website to receive online payments from online shoppers. The process of payment gateway integration directly depends on your eCommerce platforms. If you face any issues at this stage, you can ask for help from the builder`s support center, or hire the Dinarys team to solve it for you.
Make your clothing website live
When launching an online shop to sell clothes, do not forget about the SEO settings; otherwise, prospective customers would never find your store among your competitors.
Optimizing an online store for search engines includes dealing with keywords, page titles and meta descriptions.
If you have never heard any of these words, it is better to hire an SEO agency, which will allow you to focus on your business strategy, rather than the technical details.
How to start an online clothing boutique: conclusion
Now, you have a vision and understanding of how to start a clothing website. The main tip from the Dinarys team is to find the right eCommerce platform that will meet your business goals and suit your budget.
Try to choose the most convenient eCommerce template with a responsive design. If you plan to scale your business in the near future, you should also consider this.
If you need a more detailed consultation on how to start your own online clothing store, industry analysis or online shop feature list that might be helpful for your business, fill out our contact form and our team will be in touch. We have the relevant expertise to cope with common eCommerce website issues and business analysis to give you the vision and make your online shop successful.