How to setup an online African clothing store

How to setup an online African clothing store

African fashion is as diverse and dynamic as the continent itself. African fashion takes many forms, including haute couture fashions by African designers, stylish creations of local seamstresses or tailors. Awareness of fashion trends is certainly a phenomenon of the city. We present you with steps in setting up your online African clothing store.

Everywhere you go online you always see someone trying to sell you something. From African print to beautifully laced home décor to even furniture, you can shop anything and everything with just a single click.  Setting it up is much easier than you think, but the trick is in doing it right. So, this little (but powerful) write-up is going to use simple language to explain the basics of setting up your own online clothing store. You don’t need corporate experience to get started or to understand how to get started.

Choosing a business name

The name of the website or your business should be easy to remember and non-exclusive to a particular garment or style. It should also strike a chord with your target customers so that they know what to expect out of your website or your brand. Also, make sure that your brand name is available as a domain.

Know your product and people

You need to answer some questions about your product and your target customer. What are you going to sell?
Do you have the sellers or are you going to sell your own creations?
Do you know your target and its demographics?
Have you tested your product or do you want to sell it because you like it?
Product testing is highly crucial, as it not only allows you to understand if your concept works but helps in gaining more insights about your target.

Logistics and payment options for your products

Now that your product is sorted, have you thought about how you’re going to send your product to customers? Have you thought about payment options, or if you’d be offering ‘cash on delivery (COD) (highly recommended in some countries)? There are a lot of companies that can help you in this process. These companies not only help with delivery but also aid in collecting COD.

Get a shopping cart

The fastest way to get your clothing store online is to get an online shopping cart. It’s easier than self-hosting, as the website is up and ready in 30 minutes. You don’t need to worry about trust certificates and getting someone to design your page thanks to tonnes of themes and designs available on these shopping cart software.

Changing the logo, adding or removing products, changing information, or choosing a payment gateway is quite easy. This is a quicker way and useful if you’re thinking of starting out with just a Facebook page. It’s cool and quicker. Check out Shopify, Zepo, or WordPress, and you can thank us later!

Get a domain

If you’ve expanded or are keen on a more sophisticated route to getting your business up and running, then get a domain. You can integrate your domain easily with your shopping cart.

Put products and site information

And now that you have a website or a Facebook page, start updating the products online. Firstly, you’d obviously require good quality pictures with descriptions (size, color, and pricing), which you can get from your sellers or by hiring a photographer because all this is important for SEO.Then add in this basic information on your website/page:

About Us
Returns & Shipping
Contact Us

All this work may take a lot of time initially, but it will save a lot of time later, and even spare you from unhappy customers or underachieved goals!

Inventory management

The biggest issue that companies have while selling online is managing their inventory. If you have your business selling on Snapdeal, Flipkart, eBay, Homeshop18, or Amazon, and you’re getting orders but something or the other always becomes an issue while getting things right, then you need management system. The technology could be your friend here and you can use websites like Browntape, Unicommerce, or Eyeandbuy to get all your orders sorted from one place and just a couple of clicks.

This system helps in speeding up the process of receiving and fulfilling the orders and reducing mistakes. Be smart and sell on multiple channels! Furthermore, also think about what you’ll do if you end up with excess stock. Will you opt for sales with deep discounts or will you have contracts with your sellers to have unsold goods returned?

Setup social media accounts

This part is easy, but one has to be smart. Although it is important that being a clothing store you jump onto all social media networks, make sure that all portals are active and managed properly. Or, just choose a few when starting and then reach out to more gradually. Of course, your target would be guiding you to choose, but for initial set-up, you must use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Make it personalized, engaging, and socially communicative.

Promotional strategy

Now, this is where you decide how you’ll blow your own trumpet!

Social media strategy: After getting yourself onto social media, you need to think about a strategy that targets your market demographic. What hashtags will you use? What type of content will you create? Will you be running online competitions? Will you build an online community?

Make a plan for things that you want to achieve through social media– just more customers or more money is not good enough. Break this plan into monthly tasks and, gradually, daily tasks. Don’t just sell, but also tell: tell about your product, your office, your team, your opinion on the latest news, and more. Be creative. Be quirky. Be a business that talks to people, and not just sell all the time. Nobody likes a pushy salesman! And most importantly, build a relationship with your followers. Get them to want to receive your updates in their social media newsfeeds.

Enquire about paid online advertising on specific websites; use Google Adwords, and get featured in e-newsletters to reach more people. Advertising with bloggers and vloggers can be expensive, but better than building banners. So figure out where your target would like to see you.

Because not everyone is a fan of online marketing, learn about offline marketing like TV commercials, radio ads, road banners, press releases, or pop-up stalls at local markets. When they see you with your clothes, they try them themselves and buy them if they like them. So they’ll probably be keener to buy online from you, as well. Get into the local community and build relationships, then direct them online and keep them engaged to strengthen your online relationships.

The launch
Have you thought about how will you instantly get maximum people to know that you exist? Would you be holding an offline event or creating hype with a YouTube video? A strong launch would definitely create a lot of hype and bring more traffic to your digital store.

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