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Selling Fashion Over the Internet

written by: Sylvie Colette•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 1/25/2011

With so much competition in the online fashion world, you need to set yourself apart from competitors. Before getting into selling fashion online, check this list of basic tips that must be taken into consideration when designing a fashion apparel website.

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    Fashion Apparel Online

    Online Shopping More and more people are getting involved in selling fashion online. This is because the low start-up cost factor is very appealing. Traditional stores need initial capital for location, interior design, etc., whereas all online stores need is a little inventory space.

    Thus, to make your online fashion business a success and stand out in the crowded market, put yourself in the position of the customers and think about what you would expect out of a fashion apparel website.

    The idea of selling online is controversial with many designers feeling that it may reduce the value of their creative art or work and decrease its exclusivity. Such designers only give contact details and names of outlets where their clothing can be bought. This works great with most high-end fashion. However, for other designers, online selling is a great idea, if done in the right way, as it is sure to make up a big part of overall revenue.

    Two things that are most necessary when thinking of a fashion apparel online presence are a user-friendly website and having return customers. These two factors should be considered the objective of all designers wanting to take their work to the online market.

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    User-Friendly Website

    If the website is a direct sales website, the most important thing to remember is to make sure that the website is easy to understand and easy to use. As compared to men, women are sometimes less confident in carrying out online transactions. Thus, by having a complicated and confusing website interface, one may put off many prospective customers. Some tips for a user-friendly website are:

    • Comprehensive Categories: It is important to make the online store well-defined. Prospective customers must be able to easily search for products that are looking for. It is a good idea to tempt them with impulsive buys like suggesting similarly styled or contemporary products for a particular piece of apparel. Many websites suggest products that are liked by other buyers who bought the same product.
    • Photos: A picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure all photos and pictures are flattering, clear, and informative. Especially when selling fashion onine, there should be multiple photos of each item from all angles (back and front). Moreover, a zoom feature should also be involved on the page for clear viewing. It is a good idea to have just one picture on the main catalog of the online store, but once a product is selected, the prospective customer must be able to view some more pictures.
    • Detailed Information: The online store must be able to provide the same information and details that can be received when visiting a physical store. The feeling of touching and moving the clothing must be given to the prospective customer by giving intricate details like fabrics, slits, belts, buttons, etc.
    • Clear Shopping System: Once a product is selected and the prospective customer moves to the checkout, make sure they do not have to deal with any mess. The emphasis here is on one-click shopping with as little effort as possible. Offer a streamlined process to all customers who are registered by designing the system to remember returning customer details.
    • Security: This is one of the most important concerns of most online shoppers. Make sure the payment system is as secure as possible. Most prospective customers would have an issue and would feel uncomfortable in handing over credit card and bank account details. Thus, it is a good idea to provide some type of guarantee.

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    Returning Customers

    Returning customers mean more business than new customers. Since these customers may have already used the products and have liked them, they would want to buy again. Moreover, they act like free marketing agents.

    To increase the number of return customers, encourage them to register on the website or signing up for a newsletter. Another method is to offer returning customers great deals and discounts. Make sure the mailing list is free to join and keep customers updated with regular happenings. Place a high emphasis on customer service and after-sale service.

    The online fashion market is very competitive. Share positive experiences through an online store blog and give shoppers what they want from the comfort of their house. An online fashion store is definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme, and requires a great deal of dedication, determination, passion, and hard work. By following these simple tips, putting together a solid business plan and staying focused, we are sure that your aim to become a successful online business owner will not be very difficult to reach.