S P O T L I G H T | Top 5 Tips To Help You Start Your Own Online Store

24 October, 2015
Top 5 Tips To Help You Start Your Own Online Store

I've just finished reading #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso. I had been putting it off for the past year, but everyone kept singing it's praises so I ultimately gave in. I've been dabbling with the idea of starting my own online vintage emporium for years, but recently I've been researching more and more to try and make that dream a reality. It's a career I can see myself completely and blissfully happy in for the rest of my life, but I just haven't reached the right stage in life to make it happen. When it does happen, I'm going ALL in!

According to #GIRLBOSS '80% of new businesses fail within the first year and a half of launch' (ouch!), which means it's critical you prepare before you even think about throwing yourself into the big, wide world of e-commerce. 

Find the right wholesaler:

Everyone knows that a good product is the key to success. It's important to carefully consider every product you choose for your inventory. Nowadays it's pretty easy to hunt down a wholesaler to suit your brand online. For example, Mary Jane Fashion sell on trend apparel by the bulk.

If you're dreaming of your own vintage emporium like myself, then go out and hunt down those secondhand treasures yourself! Rummage through boot sales, charity shops, thrift shops and older relative's wardrobes. Just search anywhere and everywhere you possibly can! Your stock is more likely to stand out if you've hand chosen every individual piece by hand. Although there are some great vintage wholesalers out there, they're pretty hard to find. Unfortunately, there's also a lot of vintage wholesalers that are awful. After all you don't want to be investing in boxes and boxes of secondhand clothing that is essentially C&A pieces with the labels cut out. No, thank you.

If you can create your own handmade products, then you've got a USP already; the fact, no one can purchase what you're selling anywhere else. Kapow! Saying that, there are a lot of talented handmade sellers out there, especially over on Etsy. You're still going to have to fight just as hard for those buyers, so make sure your product is a hell of a lot better than every other one on the market.

Build the perfect brand image:

Do not even think about launching until you are 110% that your brand image is perfect. 

Create a list of what you want your brand to say without having to spell it out. Examine every last detail across your online store and social media channels and make sure it conveys exactly that. Everything from the logo and homepage right down to the packaging and font you use will determine how strong your brand is.

 As a wise man named Ron Swanson once said: "Don't half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing." Although this phrase was nabbed from a fictional character from a sitcom, it's something that has sat in the back of my mind ever since. Is your life ready to commit itself fully to your business endeavours or are there other priorities and obstacles that stand in your way? For me, I've not taken the plunge just yet as I have commitments in other areas that will not allow me to put my heart and soul into my business. For now, I'm looking at growing my career and dream about globe-trotting whilst I'm in my twenties. I'll focus on my vintage empire once this longing wanderlust I possess is content.

Also, if you've never seen Parks & Recreation, I strongly recommend you abandon your laptop/phone/tablet right now and give up everything you had planned for the next few weeks. The business dream can wait.

Use social media to your advantage:

If you're a blogger reading this, then you're already one step ahead of the game. You already have an army of loyal readers and followers who like what you do, so you've already got a potential target market at your finger tips. Use this. Seriously. Use it!

Social media has completely changed the world of marketing as now budding entrepreneurs now a way to reach their target audience pretty much FOR FREE! Of course, there are paid social campaigns available, which you can use to your benefit but if you're willing to put the elbow grease in then all you need to do is join in the conversation online with your target market. Creating a community with your customers builds a relationship that will hopefully have them shopping with you time and time again.

 Make them aware you exist and that you're a real person behind the business! It still baffles me that are so many companies out there that don't even use their social media channels as often and as well as they should.

Build a hype before the launch:

Use the time before your official launch wisely. Make a big deal about the fact you're about to open an online store, because it IS a big deal! This will be the start of a new chapter in your life, so go in loud and proud with all guns blazing. Find creative ways for your audience to be counting the days until your store opens. Again, this links in with the above point of utilising social media to your advantage. Post on your social channels daily leading up to the day of your launch, offer giveaways and holla every chance you get that you have a new store opening!

Absolutely fall in LOVE what you're creating:

There's no point in investing your time and money into a dream that you're not absolutely besotted with. You should put every ounce of effort and love into every section of your new business baby, even down to writing product descriptions and counting your stock inventory. 

If you don't love what what you do, it'll show and your customers will not stick around. If every single inch of your company has been considered and then re-considered and then considered again, your consumer will believe that your product is worth buying. 

Packaging also counts for a lot, so don't skimp on delivery costs. How many times have you been put off by a company if the delivery has taken too far long? Then, how impressed have you been when a product has been lovingly, hand packaged and stands out from other online stores. There's a million and one other places your customer could shop, make sure that next time it's with you again by looking after them and engaging with them. 

Now, go and absolutely kill it and let me know how you get on!


*This post is sponsored, but all words and advice are entirely my own.

1 comment

  1. great informative post, would be a dream to do this when I have the funds! :) x http://sarahinwonderlust.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/pentagram-harness.html


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