Easy-to-follow steps to bring your brick and mortar accessories shop online.
With all the stylish pieces and fashion accessories on display at ASD Market Week, it’s likely that you’re going to find a ton of products perfectly suited for a fashion e-commerce website. If you don’t already have a website, it’ll be up to you to build one. You may be hesitant to take your brick and mortar business online, but the following tips and tools will make it easier than ever for you to get started.
Although the phrase “build a website” might conjure up painful thoughts of wading through code and shelling out money to a developer, there are now plenty of resources available that enable anyone to create fully functional e-commerce websites in a flash.
Today, we’ll show you exactly how to start your very own fashion store online — without spending a fortune or investing weeks of time.
Let’s launch your fashion accessories e-commerce store!
Step 1: Select your platform
The right platform can make all the different for your new store. If this is your first e-commerce build, you should know that there are two types of stores: self-hosted and hosted.
Self-hosted stores require you to locate and acquire a hosting plan, as well as an e-commerce solution, separately. You control both your hosting and your store’s platform, and pay for them separately.
Hosted stores bundle your hosting plan and your eCommerce solution together, so you only pay one monthly fee. This is faster, but might give you less control over your features, and could cost more in the long run.
Once you select a platform, you’ll need to also register your business name and domain name, if you haven’t already. You’ll also need to decide what forms of payment to accept. Your eCommerce platform should walk you through that last step, as well as any other setup functions like shipping rates and areas.
Step 2: Expand your platform’s capabilities
Do you want your store to offer free shipping on orders over $50? How about coupons? Are gift certificates something you want to sell? What about subscriptions?
Some e-commerce platforms offer these functions and more right out of the box. Others require additional functionality through the use of plugins or add-ons. Many years ago, new functionality had to be added through custom code, but now it’s as simple as dropping some files into your server to get what you want.
Consider the functions you’d like your fashion e-commerce store to have, and take a look through your platform’s website for plugins or add-ons that meet your needs. Install them, set them up, and you should be ready to move on!
Step 3: Find a fabulous design
If you’re already blogging regularly, you are probably well-aware of WordPress, which is the gold standard for creating and posting online content. But did you know you can also easily add e-commerce to WordPress?
If you’re using a hosted e-commerce solution, or a WordPress-based platform like WooCommerce, this next step is easy. Designing your website is now as simple as purchasing the theme you like best and making a few small adjustments.
Many e-commerce solutions have themes, skins, or design packages available on their website. Some are free, while others may cost a few hundred dollars at most. $200 for a design may seem like a lot, but it’s certainly less expensive than paying a designer to work on your website!
Once you find a theme you like, simply follow your platform’s installation instructions to get it running. You can use the built-in editor to make changes, but this may require some knowledge of code, depending on your platform.
If you can’t find a theme you adore, you can certainly contact a designer to make one for you, but be prepared to pay: custom themes are pricey, and they may take weeks to create.
Step 4: Add your products
If you’re stocking your items instead of drop-shipping, take care to use your platform’s inventory system so that you can accurately display the current availability of items to customers. Showing something like “only 2 left in stock” can in fact motivate buyers — that is, as long as it’s accurate!
If you’re unsure what to showcase on your e-shop, you can always start with products already in your offline shop and then hit the trade show circuit to find new gems.
Insider Tip: Prepare properly for trade shows to make sure you get the right product for your shop.
Final Step: Launch your store!
Now you’re ready to launch! Once your site is live, spread the word via friends, family, and social media accounts. You may want to run a limited-time site-wide special with a coupon code or other attractive offer — something that will appeal to all of your visitors and give them a reason to make a purchase.
Once your site is live, you can look at marketing activities like content production, social media, email, and so on. But for the first few weeks, try to keep your focus solidly on running your store — it will need your attention, especially for those unexpected hiccups in inventory or functionality needs.
Extra Credit: Shipping and Fulfillment
One of the most popular shipping solutions with online sellers today is Ship Station, which easily integrates with Amazon, Shopify, E-Bay, Squarespace, Etsy, and many others.
There you have it — how to build a retail website using an e-commerce template in a flash! Not so hard, right? Now you can browse all you like at ASD Market Week, knowing that you’ll be able to piece together a beautiful store just as quickly as you can a collection of fashionable accessories to carry there!
Learn how to build your store site and fill them with the right products at the next ASD Market Week in Las Vegas – featuring over 500 Fashion Accessories vendors and free e-commerce strategy sessions on-site for independent retailers. Reserve your free ticket here!
By Nicole Kohler
Nicole Kohler is the Content Editor for WooThemes. WooThemes adds powerful shop functionality to any WordPress website with their free eCommerce plugin, WooCommerce, which powers over 24% of all online shops. The team at WooThemes will be sharing their online retail expertise at the Independent Retailer Conference inside ASD Market Week, this August 2-5 in Las Vegas. Get your free ticket!