May you have heard the expression “adapt or perish” or words to that effect? While it comes to running a business during the pandemic, adaptation is a must. Moreover, suppose you are in an industry that can provide goods or services via an online portal. In that case, you will either become part of the e-commerce revolution or lose market share to your competitors.

For a clothing retailer, online access points are a must. But to the uninitiated, names like Shopify, WooCommerce, Squarespace, WordPress, PayPal, etc. may be familiar — or maybe very familiar from the user perspective — but they can involve technical skillset that many business owners and managers don’t have. Here do some of the difficulties that every clothing retailer faces when they jump from brick and mortar to online sales.

1. How to Choose a Shopping Platform

If you’re a savvy computer coder, you might be able to build a site on your own that allows your customers to view products, place orders, enter payment information, and file inquiries or you can pick a platform that already has those features and work on building your brand. Here make great points to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform:

The Startup Cost – Don’t automatically go with the cheapest platform. A low initial cost may only get you the elementary version, and you may find that you need to pay a lot of upgrades.

Monthly Costs – Before you commit, get a full breakdown of the monthly fees that you’ll have to pay to maintain your site.

Cost of Upgrades – You may need a lot more than what’s being offered in the package you purchase. This could be substantial as you add pages and product lines.

Payment Processing Fees – Some platforms make their money by taking a fee from your sales or adding one to the customer’s purchase.

2. Consult an Expert

If you own a clothing retail business, you’re probably not an expert on web development or e-commerce. Investing a little money in expert advice may garner you much bigger profits down the road. You can learn a great deal about e-commerce — and you should — and still not have the technical expertise of someone who is a full-time e-commerce developer.

3. Marketing Your E-Commerce Business

If you’re launching an e-commerce site or expanding an existing business into e-commerce, you need to get the word out. That means marketing on multiple levels. Example of the several effective ways to promote an e-commerce business is through Search Engine Optimization — the practice of improving a site’s position in organic rankings by targeting an audience with specific keywords.

Google also offers pay-per-click advertising. You select exact keywords, and when a browser clicks on your paid ad, Google deducts a market-based fee from your account. Finally, don’t discount the effectiveness of some forms of traditional marketing. While this may be expensive for small businesses, a multi-tiered campaign can help get the word out.

4. Model Your Business After Other Successful E-Commerce Operations

You may not just enough in common with e-commerce giants like Amazon or Walmart, but there are plenty of small to medium-sized e-commerce clothing retailers like Printful and many others who have done e-commerce work for them. Find a site you like, and find out what it would take to model yours in the same fashion.

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