Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

Starting your own online store / Danielle Middleton

Follow these top tips to starting your own online store from the experts at Amber Jewellery, the successful suppliers of fashion jewellery to the trade.

Have you finally decided to take your store online after years of grafting on the high street? Or are you starting a brand spanking new online store from scratch?Whichever best describes your current status and ambitions, we have a few hints and tips that might just get you closer to making your retail dreams come true.

Who do you know?

Firstly, get your priorities in order. Taking action is key but the last thing you should be doing is wasting precious time and energy on the wrong things.

It is vital that you are confident and assured in your business’s ability to succeed, as well as your capacity to achieve your goals. With these at the forefront of your mind you can start networking. Making connections is a crucial element for success regardless of whether your store is online or on the high street.

If you are simply expanding your customer base online, you will undoubtedly already have useful contacts for acquiring the products you want to sell. However, if you are starting from scratch, you will need to approach sellers and prove that your online store is the place to get their brand seen.

Picking winning products

So you’ve wooed a great bunch of brands to sell their products on your online store, but how do you choose which items in their range will give you that all important winning edge in the viciously competitive retail industry?

Start with putting yourself in your target customer’s shoes. Are they looking for cheap and cheerful to-be-used-once items or do they want great quality, aesthetically fantastic products that will survive come rain or shine?

It’s very unusual for consumers to seek out the former and it’s much better for your reputation if you stick with high quality items.

Doing so will enable you to establish yourself as a purveyor of premium goods and a reliable tradesperson in your industry, with the aim of creating ambassadors for your store when happy customers pass on their good experience to fellow interested parties.

Top Tip – Customer service goes a long way to securing brand loyalty. When your business is online and there is no opportunity for face time, make sure that facilities such as your courier and order tracking services are reliable as getting this wrong can lead to huge social media backlash and damage to your reputation.

What to do when everything is great

With your customer’s shoes still on, consider brand diversity. This should negate any difficulty arising when a number of your sellers produce similar items, all of which are fantastic quality and value.

Find brands that specialise in what they do or offer a unique selling; this will also help your product selection evolve over time by encouraging other one-off and distinctive sellers to approach your online store.

Make your online store super user-friendly

Consider the basic visual merchandising techniques used when mapping out a physical store, such as:

• Creating promotional displays
• Ensuring that sections of the store are clearly signposted
• Creating an appropriate environment for your product to be presented in

These same points should be taken into account when designing your online store. Your website should: be easy to navigate, have an efficient site speed – this is the rate at which each page loads on the screen, if this is slow it can have a particularly detrimental effect on your customer’s user experience – and appeal to your target customer while being visually appropriate for the products you are selling and your industry.

Sell your socks off

You have the contacts, the products, the unique items and a smashing website, your final step should be securing regular buyers who will provide you with some business security. This will be particularly useful in the early days of your store’s life as it will enable you to shift some of your energy and focus elsewhere into brand awareness, marketing and networking.

Top Tip: Be organised and open to failure. These two go hand in hand when starting out your own online store; keeping lists and records of plans and progress as you go along will give you the information you need to work out where and when things went wrong. This will also enable you to stay on top of your priorities as your online store becomes more successful and products start flying off your virtual shelves.

Author Bio

Danielle Middleton is a digital content writer for Amber Jewellery, the online jewellery and accessories store.

Amber Jewellery is among the UK’s top importers, wholesalers and exporters to the fashion trade, supplying both high fashion accessories and basic lines.

Graphic by Waag Society Graphic by Sebastiaan ter Burg