Like every woman I’ve ever met, I wear a lot of hats and it’s not always easy to swap one out for the other.
HI, I'M Jodie
5 Big Mistakes Women Make When Launching Their Online Fashion or Lifestyle Store
(AND HOW TO AVOID THEM!)
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Today I am talking to you about building your audience and your brand so that you’re not just launching to nobody that you have hopefully worked to build up an audience ready to launch to as well as having the right tech to support it. Here are some key factors to nail when launching your online store.
So let’s first chat about your brand. A brand isn’t just a pretty logo, colours, fonts, it’s rather the whole ethos of your business, it’s your values, it’s an overall feeling that your customer has when they work with you. The future definition by Marty Neumeir is ‘a brand is not a logo, a brand is not a product, a brand is not a promise, a brand is not the sum of all impressions it makes on an audience. A brand is a result, it’s a person’s gut feeling about a product or service or company. It’s in their heads and in their heart and a brand is your reputation.’ I want you to think about some brands that you know and admire. And often it’s not the brand’s products that we remember them for. It’s often their stories, it’s their values. It’s what they are all about. For example, I’m a huge fan of Jane Liu from Showpo. Now when I think or see Showpo, I think of Jane Liu and I think of her story, how she started her business and has scaled it to this wildly successful online fashion store. Now, Jane and Showpo don’t just sell their own brand, they sell other brands and they have a really wide range of different products. I don’t specifically think when I think or hear of Showpo a particular product that they sell, but rather I think of them as a brand. And like I said of the founder’s story. Think about other brands, big brands that you admire, you know, Apple, Nike are all really obvious ones. You know, Apple, even when you think about Apple, you think about Steve Jobs, you think about constant innovation, sleek, desirable products, always ahead of the rest. However, that’s my personal affiliation, that’s my personal thoughts of the brand, it might be different for you. And that’s the thing about brand. It’s different for every single customer that you have. So building a brand, obviously is going to take time, and it’s going to be different for everyone and every customer. However, you need to think about your values as a brand. And what you stand for and what it is that you offer, and how that you are different. Like I said, it’s not just all of the pretty logos and things like that, which we often get stuck down a bit of a rabbit hole of focusing on when we first launched. It’s a much bigger picture than that. And we’ve got to make sure that we have a solid understanding ourselves around what our brand is and encompasses so we can clearly articulate that to our audience and attract the right customers to us. So it’s really important to think about your brand as a whole experience, not just the aesthetics.
Now, let’s touch on the audience. So you’ve got to get really clear on who it is that you’re actually serving, who is your ideal customer that will want to come back to your business time and time again, getting really really clear on this and then aligning it with your brand is super, super crucial because without a clear idea of who it is that you’re serving, you’ll find find that you end up serving absolutely no one. Getting clear on who your ideal customer is, is also like your brand, it will actually evolve with time. Because often in the very beginning, when you launch your online store or any sort of business, you don’t have a lot of data to go back and check who is in fact buying from you. It happens over time. So when you first launch your business, you almost have to guess who your ideal customer is, and create this fictional persona that leads you when you’re making an important business decisions, whether it’s manufacturing or purchasing product, or whether it’s, you know, the caption that you’re about to use on a social media post, or the ad copy or writing or that email marketing that you need to write, knowing and targeting your all of your efforts towards this one ideal customer is really, really important so that when your ideal customer sees that marketing, they know it is in fact for them.
Now, like I said, it’s something that will evolve with time for iland co., for example, I started iland co. with a clear idea of who I was targeting, who was a 33 year old single lady that lived in Bondi, which is far from who I actually now serve, I’m more so serving the 50 year old lady who is buying a piece to wear to an event or a wedding, for example. So I only knew that, after being in business for a period of time, and then going back and digging into my analytics to get more information about who it was, I was, in fact, actually serving. So those two elements are really, really important. And that’s part two of our five step process.
Let me jump over to step number three. So step number three is deciding on tech. Now I know many online store owners start their businesses because they are passionate creatives, they’ve got a vision, they don’t necessarily envision themselves becoming masters of technology, and often want to bury their head in the sand. But we will need to rely on tech to run an online business. I know it’s obvious, but it does sometimes come as a surprise to people that I work with. So the first thing you will need to do is register your url, I use GoDaddy, there’s a bunch of different places you can go and register your domain name, I want you to look at different options, including registering the incorrect spelling of your domain name, and then having it redirected. So for example, my business is called iland co. and it’s island without the s. Now iland co. with the s wasn’t available, which is basically why we are iland co. without the s and it’s kind of frustrating now, but at the same time, I think you know there’s brands like Decquba, which, you know, it’s not easy to spell or pronounce. And you know, we just get on with it but if iland co. with the s available. I would register that but I’ve also registered ilandco.com and any other sort of variations that I can get first of all, in case a customer types incorrectly, I can then set up a redirect. So if they type in the incorrect url, they will be redirected to the correct one, but also to so that no other people can grab it. And then you know, in years to come try and sell it back to me or something like you know, hold me hostage. So it’s definitely worth investigating. And I would suggest not getting too stuck on a brand name until you’ve started searching whether or not that url is available, because there’s nothing worse than having this awesome name that you’ve come up with only to find that someone else has registered it and is already doing it. So that’s the first part of the tech that you need. But the second tech decision you will need to make in order to launch your eCommerce platform is the most important in my opinion, is what eCommerce platform you will use to host this store and to manage it. I personally highly recommend Shopify as the global standard for eCommerce platforms for those that are serious about business. There’s a number of reasons why it’s super easy to manage yourself. It’s easy to find experts if you need help, you know on different freelancing sites like fiverr.com, things like that. It also works seamlessly with other supporting tech that you will need to rely on especially as your business grows, including connecting your Facebook pixel, your Google Analytics pixel if you want to have Instagram, Pinterest, Tiktok all sales channels connected to your website. Shopify does all of this super super easily.
There’s different plans available depending on where you’re at in your business journey and they also have live chat which is amazing. So you can jump online 24 hours a day, and chat to someone if something’s going amiss. Also, Shopify has the Shopify app store so there’s a bunch of different apps and plugins that you can easily add to your store in order to bolster the functionality. So for example, if you want, we have a spin the wheel list building popup that comes on to our iland co. site, that’s a Shopify app called privy that we have plugged into the store so you can then customise and flush up and flush out your store with all of the supporting apps. Now there are other options including WooCommerce, Squarespace, Wix, someone today on a webinar of mine told me that they use Go Daddy’s website, and asked whether or not I would recommend that I don’t know it. So I can’t personally speak, but I can imagine, as her business grows, and she wants to add things like the Facebook pixel, or you know, different levels of shopping cart experiences, and pop ups and things like that, that it would probably become quite limiting in what she can do with that store.
So do your research. And pick one that you want to use for the long term, you don’t want to have to go and rebuild your site in 18 months when you realise, you know, you can’t do the thing that you wanted to do with that Wix site or that Squarespace site. So do your research up front. Like I said, I highly recommend Shopify I’m in it, living it every single day and and have coached hundreds of women over the years often where they come to me with a WooCommerce site and go on Facebook ads, you know, pixels not working and, and often there’s no workaround, and they ended up rebuilding on Shopify. So that is the number two part tech part that you will need. And like I said, I think the most important decision.Then you will need to consider which CRM software or your that email capture software that you will plug into it. I highly recommend Klaviyo however you prefer to pronounce it’s Klaviyo. If you haven’t heard of it before, I’ll pop it in the show notes as well. It partners perfectly with Shopify and provides so much analytics and customization and data that you will see much more about your customers inside of Klaviyo than you would in say Shopify, it’s also where you’ll send out your email marketing. It’s also where you set up with those automations like abandoned carts when someone has registered on your site previously, and then they go onto your site and, and start the checkout process and then abandon the cart, then that Klaviyo system will then start sending them emails trying to encourage them to come back and finish that purchase. So Klaviyo, like I said, is highly recommended. There’s ones like MailChimp, different things like that. But you’ll need one of these email capture or CRM tools from day one of launching your site because that’s where you’ll capture people’s email addresses. You can’t really send nice marketing emails directly out of Shopify.
fiNow, once you’ve got all of those tech decisions, and all in order, it’s time to then make sure you have all the different tracking codes and systems plugged into your store, like I said, from day one, so that you can go back and retarget anyone later on. So Google Analytics and your Facebook pixel, even if you’re not planning on running Facebook ads for a little while, is crucial to have active on your site from day one. So you’re capturing data and analytics from the very get go. Because like I said, you might not be wanting to even look at the analytics for a little while but if you decide you know in 12 months time, I’m going to plug that in, and I want to check my analytics. So it only starts from the day that you activated it, you’ve plugged it into your store. So if you’ve plugged it in a year ago, at least you’ve got a lot of information, you can go back and check and get insights into your business. So Google Analytics will track users on your site, including which pages they landed on where they exited how long they looked around for. It will also give you a snapshot of the demographics of the visitors to your online store, including location, interest groups, even the type of device they used to visit your store. The Facebook pixel will also track similar data but also enables you to create custom audiences based on those visitors, their interactions and what steps they’ve taken. You can even retarget certain people that have just visited say one particular product or collection page. So we have for example kimono, so if I wanted to retarget kimono page collection visitors, I can set that up as a custom audience inside of Facebook but only if I’ve got that pixel installed in order to do that.
So deciding on those tech elements, I mean, can feel overwhelming but once you’ve made the decision and then you’ve familiarised yourself with the programmes, you will find it’s not as scary as it sounds. So these tech platforms are something that I help people with through my programme Online Store Success. I even have tutorials, video walkthroughs tips, tricks, hacks on how to manage these systems in the best way possible, and with as much ease as possible. So if you’re interested in knowing more about that, and about working with me, go on over to onlinestoresuccess.com. If it’s not open for enrollment when you’re listening to this, pop your name on the waitlist and it won’t be too far away.