Written By: Shanna KaurOn November, 7 2020 - 7 MINUTE READ
Shopping as we know it has changed. With retail giants like Robinsons closing their physical stores, it is clear that the shift to the online sphere has reached our very own backyard. But in the ever growing world of e-commerce, it is easy to be swept away in the waves of products and online shops. If you’re looking to start your own e-commerce business, this article is for you!
Find out about the different ingredients of a successful e-commerce business and how TaF.tc’s Fashion Business Diploma Programme can equip you with all the tools to get started.
1. Unique Brand Identity
Maintaining a strong and reliable customer base requires a unique value proposition that sets you apart from the rest. Questions to ask yourself:
1. How can you stand out in the industry?
2. Why should your store be the go-to for customers?
3. What will make them return, or tell their friends about you?
There are many elements that can potentially distinguish your brand, such as the values your company stands by, the quality of your products, and even the time and effort taken to connect with customers through excellent customer service.
2. Maintaining Stellar Customer Reviews
As an e-commerce store, customer reviews are central in proving quality of the product as the buyer is unable to test or try on the product before purchase. Research shows that positive reviews make 91% of consumers more likely to use a business, whereas 82% of consumers would be put off by negative reviews. Customer reviews are a fundamental pillar of the online shopping experience, so keeping customers happy and moderating customer reviews would generate a positive feedback loop for your business.
3. Trust and Transparency
In order to cement your presence in the world of e-commerce, it is crucial that you’re transparent with your customers. Be upfront about your charges so that your prospective customers know exactly what they’re paying for. Remember, nobody likes hidden charges. If you charge a service where prices may vary, communicate this too! Giving a general price range, or examples of prices for previous work can give customers a good gauge to decide if they want to engage your services.
Besides this, making yourself easily contactable lets customers know that they can get in touch with you should they need assistance or want to provide feedback. It also reassures them that you’re a real business with real contact information.
4. Great User Experience
With online shopping, convenience and ease of navigation is non-negotiable. Finding product information, reviews, and more, should be an intuitive process that’s achievable with just the click of a few buttons.
If prospective customers have trouble navigating your website, they’ll leave. Making the process clear and intuitive is vital in making yourself memorable - the next time a customer wants to buy a product you sell, they’ll think, “Oh! I remember this website was super fast and easy to use.”
So take the time to optimise your User Experience (UX) to ensure a seamless shopping experience. It’ll make all the difference.
5. Tailoring Your Content for an Inbound Approach
In order to build meaningful and lasting relationships with your customers, be it prospective, or returning, it’s important to tailor your content and shopping experience to your customer. Whereas traditional, outbound approaches are rarely personalised and tends to inundate your audience with content that they may not be interested in, an inbound approach allows you to form connections with customers, and solve problems specific to them.
With the inbound approach, you’re able to invest more time and energy into creating content and marketing material that speaks to your customer base. For example, a regularly updated company blog that includes details about customer testimonials, guides on how to best utilise your products, or even content that’s relevant to your company values.
Using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
This content can then be further optimised through the use of a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. SEO strategies target key phrases and words that are linked to your products, how your products solve challenges faced by customers, ultimately helping you target the correct people for your audience.
A good SEO strategy is invaluable - you can ensure that the content you’re creating reaches your target audience when they search for these keywords on search engines, properly structure paid advertising campaigns through Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and strengthen your store’s brand.
6. Customer-Centric Merchandising
It’s not enough to know the intricacies of the online sphere when you’re starting your own e-commerce store - you also have to understand the physical aspects, like how your products are being produced, the kinds of materials being used, and quality control. The quality of your products speak volumes about your brand, and cannot be masked by even the best marketing campaigns or sleekest website designs.
This is where merchandising comes in. Coupled with the inbound approach, customer-centric merchandising is all about understanding how your products come together, and well how that reflects your customers’ demands. A great way to navigate through the maze of setting up a good retail buying strategy is through courses like TaF.tc’s very own Fashion Retail and Merchandise Buying. This course doesn’t simply teach you the various concepts, philosophies, and theories of retail buying and merchandise management, but also how to put it into practice. With courses like this, you can better understand trends in the market and how to forecast them so that you can make accurate buying decisions.
So… how can you get started?
The elements I’ve listed are just a tiny slice of the successful-ecommerce-store pie. The reality is that setting up a successful e-commerce store requires you to be meticulous in balancing your priorities and how they affect the customer experience. From advertising, to your web design, to your products, and even the shipping process, it’s important that you take the time to ensure your customers are satisfied.
Learning this, however, is not an overnight process, and it can be even more daunting when you’re starting from scratch without any guidance. That’s why, if you’re really serious about understanding the ins and outs of setting up your own successful e-commerce store, TaF.tc’s Diploma in Fashion Business is for you!
This diploma programme consists of 19 modules focusing on 2 main areas: Merchandising and Digital Marketing.
The programme is also SkillsFuture Credits claimable for all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs), and you can head on over to the course page for the course breakdown, payment structure, and course schedule.
Turning your passion for fashion into a successful business takes blood, sweat, and tears, but with the right tools and guidance from industry professionals, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll have the support and technical know-how to make it work.
Still unsure of whether this is the right path for you? Schedule a call with our programme advisor, Mengqian, who’ll be happy to answer your burning questions!
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