Planning your own online clothing shop? Successful web stores have two characteristics in common: they’re attractive and intuitive to use. You might be wondering how the good ones master the art of making online shopping enjoyable, memorable and a loyalty-building experience. It’s not as difficult as you might think, thanks to the many pre-built website templates out there.
Most people who have launched an eStore have stood where you are now, asking themselves one question: Where do I begin?
The answer is simple. You begin by choosing between two primary eStore building options — WordPress or the store builders like GoDaddy’s Online Store.
Which option is for me?
Before you select an option, it’s time to get real and assess your technical skills. You’re the best judge of your talents and know what you can manage.
Option No. 1: WordPress
If you have an aptitude for learning and are often impressed with your technodexterous ways, WordPress might be what you’re looking for. It has an array of customization options and thousands of themes to choose from (some are free, others like the one below come at a cost).
WordPress itself is free but requires hosting, which you will have to pay for. WordPress also involves regular backend maintenance — security patches, updates and the like. If you want to be fully focused on running your business and promoting your products, you might not want to be concerned with routine eStore housekeeping.
GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress is a resourceful solution — it handles installation, ensures that your core software is always up-to-date, and takes care of daily backups.
It also includes a free domain, email and award-winning 24/7 support which is always handy and reassuring. You never know when you’re going to have an eStore epiphany (these thoughts really do come out of nowhere) and need someone who’s ready and eager to help.
Option No. 2: GoDaddy’s Online Store
The Online Store platform is essentially stress-free and is extremely approachable for those who might not be so tech-inclined. It allows you to launch a stunning store with an integrated shopping cart that has flexible setup and can list up to 1,500 products. It also makes managing your entire inventory incredibly easy (really, it just takes a few clicks) and you can manage everything from your mobile phone. You don’t need to be tethered to the office. You can make adjustments your site as you relax on the beach.
Change your mind? Scroll through more template options with a few clicks.
With GoDaddy’s Online Store, security is paramount — which is why it has SSL security built right in. Your customers can safely pay how they want to pay, via major credit cards, PayPal or Apple Pay.
GoDaddy understands the woes that often come with shipping. This flexible platform has built-in shipping methods that are customizable. Be it free shipping or calculating real-time carrier costs, Online Store handles it all. It also maximizes your sales by automatically emailing customers who’ve left items in their carts, encouraging them to come back and check out.
Now the fun begins
Now that you know more about the two primary eStore options, you can move to the next step: Selecting a theme or website template.
Once you’ve chosen your web store platform, you can make an informed decision about a theme or template.
If you’ve been contemplating the launch of an online store for a while, you’ve probably been browsing the countless examples out there, paying close attention to your own online shopping experiences. This can lead to web store envy. The great thing about envy? You instantly learn what you like.
Themes and templates: What’s the difference?
Not much really. If WordPress is your platform of choice, you’re looking at themes. If you’ve decided GoDaddy’s Online Store meets your needs, you’ll be browsing templates. In a nutshell, both themes and templates are pre-built web designs that do much of the tech work for you. From sidebars, headers and footers to colour schemes and font styles, a website template or theme provides the foundation you need to build your site.
The beauty of website templates and themes is that you don’t have to create your store from the ground up.
You browse through themes and templates the way you browse products on your favourite clothing store’s website. Like an in-person shopping experience, you can preview themes or templates to see if it’s the right fit.
By using a theme/template as the foundation and pairing it with all of that knowledge you gleaned while getting web store envy, you can build an eStore that suits your needs.
Altering your Online Store template is as easy as clicking on “Themes” in the right sidebar of the store builder, then swiping through typefaces (modern, retro, luxe and more), dozens of Getty photos and unlimited colour options. Experiment with colour, type and imagery until you have a design that’s all you.
Using website templates and themes
You know your brand better than anyone else. When selecting a theme or template, ensure that it’s reflective of the store you’re creating. If you’re selling clothing for outdoor enthusiasts, a sleek cityscape-style theme/template might not be the right choice.
Your customers will be accessing your web store from many directions — smartphone, tablet, laptop and desktop. Having a responsive web store increases sales, as it doesn’t limit how customers shop. The term refers to those templates and themes that are built to “respond” to the user’s device, whether large (desktop) or small (mobile phone).
You might also want to consider expanding your page content to include customer input. If you’re selling leather purses, why not give your shoppers the opportunity to comment and include photos of themselves wearing your product? People often make purchasing decisions from reviews (marketers call this social proof).
Sell anything online
Building an online store to sell clothing — or anything really — involves a couple of steps. First, assess your technical skills, as this will tell you whether you’re up to building your own WordPress store or should opt for a simple store builder like GoDaddy Online Store.
Next take your time previewing website templates or themes, then pick one that feels right. Customize it until it’s just the way you want it. Then launch your new store and promote it on your social channels. It’s your turn to shine.