We received a question via our Business Advice Clinic on Facebook, from Elle Joynson, co-founder of a fashion retail website which sells boho-style hand-made clothes and jewellery. She has started to see a slow-down in sales and has asked for advice on the best way to market their brand, raise their profile within the industry and make more sales.
This is a common problem so Elle, you are not alone here. We have identified some big mistakes that you are making, which is preventing you from earning money in your business. We took a look at what you do, your products and social media pages, and we have some tips that will hopefully point you in the right direction.
Before you are able to move forward in your business it’s important for you to have a clear understanding of who you are as a brand and who your audience is.
What is unique about your business? Do you have a brand identity? If someone were to see one of your creations would they be able to instantly recognise that it was one of your designs?
Perhaps you could create a signature look that is unique to you – maybe using a specific print or design. This will help you to stand out and be different. You have to be clear about who you are as a brand, what your offering is and what makes you unique; and you need to shout about it. Ask yourself why someone should buy your clothes over another more established boho-style brand such as Free People or The Freedom State? This will help you to get clear about your benefits and unique selling point.
It’s important to profile your audience and really dig down deep to find out who they are. How old are they? Do they work? Where do they currently shop? What magazines do they read? What websites do they visit? Who are their style icons? Creating this profile will help you when designing your collection, developing your website, writing your blog content and social media posts, and running your marketing campaign.
We are going to show you some tough love here, because unfortunately your website needs a lot of work. It’s important to create a place where people enjoy coming to shop, look at pictures and read your blog features. There should be lots of content to keep people engaged but at the moment it’s very thin on the ground.
When you land on your main home page, it’s not instantly clear what you do or what you sell. The first impression is that you are a website selling hand crafted jewellery inspired by far off places.
Your landing page should be used to shout about what you do, who you are and what makes you unique. It should be visual and engaging and should be used to navigate people to different areas on your site.
There are certain must-haves for successful eCommerce websites and one of them is having a sales basket and checkout so people are able to make multiple purchases, which you currently don’t have. You should also have pay symbols and clearly show your shipping costs and returns policy on every page of your site. We couldn’t find your shipping costs on the Shipping and Returns page. All of these are big turn-offs for potential customers.
It would be wise to invest in free shipping and returns, which you could do by increasing the cost of your items. People are more likely to buy from you if they don’t have to pay for shipping and if they can get a full refund within 30 days if they are not 100% satisfied (for any reason). It builds trust and trust equals sales.
If you want people who like your clothes to share it, then you’ll need to include social media share buttons on your images.
We noticed your blog was last updated a month ago and hasn’t really been used. This should be kept up to date with interesting content. Set up a Google Alert on boho fashion to get news each day sent directly to your inbox, which you can use as inspiration for your blog posts.
You have a subscribe box on some of your pages – but it’s not clear why people should sign up. Building an email database is a great way to build relationships with your followers, turning them into fans and fans into customers. But people don’t give up their email addresses easily and are already flooded with a huge amount of unwanted emails on a daily basis. What can you offer them in return for their email address? What would your audience respond to? Perhaps you could offer a free downloadable style guide of some sort. Whatever it is, be sure to promote your sign up offer throughout your website.
You haven’t got a lot of product on your site, so there isn’t much choice or variety and that doesn’t fill the buyer with a lot of confidence. If someone doesn’t feel confident about your offering then they wont spend money with you. You should try to add more products onto your site and you possibly need to create different sections for tops, bottoms, dresses, jewellery etc. as at the moment you have everything laid out on one page, Pinterest style, which takes less than 30 seconds to scroll through. If you want to make more money you have to give people enough product to spend their money on and create a full collection consisting of several different pieces. We would advise selling other designers clothing on your site to bolster your offering.
You absolutely cannot have ‘Sold Out’ on any of your images. You don’t have a lot of stock on your site in the first place, so this doesn’t look good and is incredibly bad for business. When you click on Style Shop the first big image you see has a ‘Sold Out’ sign on it. You must add new stock or take these images down. It would be better to have ‘Coming Soon’ if you are planning on bringing these items back.
There’s no product information on any of the items you are selling, so we don’t know what fabric the garments are made from, if there are any specific care instructions and there are no sizes to choose from. You should add more sales information.
Work at polishing up your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You haven’t completed your ‘About Us’ on either profile, and if a potential customer were to land on one of these pages, they wouldn’t be able to tell who you were, what you do or why they should read on. Read our Facebook tips for more help.
With regards to Twitter, you need to decide if it’s a personal or business account and aim to keep them separate. If you were creating a profile for yourself as the face of your brand, then posts about you would be totally fine, but if the profile is meant to promote your brand, you need to keep it focused. The best tip is to look at how brands you admire are using Facebook and Twitter and emulate them. You could also high jack their # to get more reach.
Once you have developed your offering, you can then focus on getting your brand out there, and a good way to do that is by having your own market stall. Many successful brands have started in this way and it can be a great way to make money fast as well as building brand awareness.
Boho and festivals go hand-in-hand, so you could make the summer festival season your biggest sales period and take a stand at every festival you can think of and can afford to be at. You could run competitions and post daily festival looks and inspiration. There is so much you could do around festivals whether you take part or not.
The best way for you to start earning more money immediately is by creating several different revenue streams from your business. Could you offer a bespoke design or tailoring service? Perhaps you could teach and give sewing or pattern cutting lessons. Aim to have at least 4 or 5 different revenue streams coming in.
This was Elle’s response to our advice:
“Just read through your response and I just want to say a huge thank-you for taking the time to read through all our pages and look at our website etc. I feel like your advice is exactly what I was looking for as I feel we may have lost our way a little. I did not expect such a huge response full of a tick list that we can really work on! Especially in time for Christmas! Thank-you again and I’d appreciate any help in the future!” – Elle Joynson
You may also like to read our other Business Advice Clinic features:
If you would like help with a business problem, all you have to do is ‘Like’ our Facebook page then post your question within our comments. Each week our experts will choose one person to help and will respond by posting their advice on our website the following Wednesday.
Do sign up to our Essential Business Start Up Course if you are having the same problems with your business.