9 Reasons Why Your Fashion Website Is Not Making Sales

fashion website sales

There’s an approach to fashion business that I’m a particularly big fan of- Direct to Consumer (D2C) sales from your very own website. It’s one of my favorite sales channels for emerging brands because you have a lot of opportunity to create a kick ass experience for your customers. You have control over the way you display and sell your work, the way you talk to your customer, and the way you make your customer feel. Plus, it’s fun- it feels the same way it does to set up your studio or decorate your office.

But there’s a catch. As an emerging or independent fashion brand, it is incredibly difficult to get your fashion website noticed in the endless ocean of fellow designers. Websites are popping up a bagillion and four a day (exact figure, you guys) and if you build yours, send out some tweets, create a Facebook page, and stop there — you’re done for.

Just because you have a website, doesn’t mean you’re going to make sales.

It has to be more than just a property that you create in order to sell your work but then never spend too much time really optimizing based on what you learn about your customer as well as your brand’s evolution. It’s a full time job to run a virtual business and if you’re not treating it that way, you’re going to become invisible.

If your website isn’t working for you the way you need it to be working for you, there are several things that could be the reason why. While each possible issue could be the culprit, it’s most likely that it is a combination of several things that need to be addressed.

Take a look at the list of problems below and choose the ones you think apply to you. Be honest with yourself because telling yourself what you want to hear will be your biggest issue of all.

Then take a look at the proposed solutions and make a plan to tackle them within your business. Don’t forget to record your findings so that you know what changes are making the most impact.

Problem:  You think SEO is technical and something you can’t afford.

Solution: Well, to be blunt, you probably can’t afford it. At least not hiring someone to be doing this for you on a regular basis. SEO specialists could run you anywhere from $3000 to $10,000 per month! BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to help your website with SEO.

  • You can and should be blogging regularly which has a huge impact on SEO
  • You can use the Google Keyword Planner to find search terms that you can incorporate into your blog posts, categories, website copy, and image names
  • You can make sure your images are optimized and of high quality (which has a big impact on conversion rates and therefore SEO)
  • You can concentrate your PR efforts on getting coverage on influential blogs and online magazines that will provide a link to your website
  • You can make sure you are consistently active on social media- which Google really pays attention to.

Problem: You are not including strong calls to action in your social media efforts.

Solution: We’re all guilty of this. It’s tough because we all know that constantly “selling” via social does not work. If consumers feel sold to, they get annoyed. So how do you drive them back to your website without being pushy?

  • Create content that’s about them, not you.

When planning your content for blog posts and social media updates, ask yourself  “Is this all about us?” If so, what spin can you put on it to be about them?  It’s the same content, it’s simply a different way of saying something. When you do this, the CTAs that you incorporate don’t feel like a sales pitch, they feel like a natural next step.

Problem: You are not publishing a blog.

Solution: As mentioned with SEO, a blog a so damn important. Stop saying things like “I don’t have time”, “I don’t know what to write about”, or “Nobody cares what I have to say”. Those are excuses you give yourself.

  • Make marketing your first priority.

If you feel like you have soooo much to do with your business that you simply can’t imagine adding a blog to the mix, snap out of it.

You make these beautiful collections and now you have to get people to know about them. Put all the other business bullshit on the back burner. Start your day marketing your business and only after you’ve worked on that, do you answer emails, do favors for others, design new collections, work on the numbers, etc.  None of that stuff matters if you’re not selling the collection you already have.

Problem: You have no real strategy around your email marketing.

Solution: I can’t tell you how many out-of-the-blue emails I get from brands. I signed up for “updates and giveaways” and didn’t hear from the brand for weeks or months. By the time I get an email from them, I’m like, “Who is this?”.

  • Create an email marketing strategy and calendar

I’m not saying that you need to email your lists daily or even weekly. You just need to be consistent. Help them get to know your brand and make sure your content directs them back to your website — whether to a blog post, a product page, or some other cool content page. Whatever the page, there should be a reason you’re sending them there.

Oh, also, STOP ADDING PEOPLE TO YOUR LIST WITHOUT PERMISSION. Sorry for the yelling. But if one more brand adds me to a “press” list or assumes that I want updates about their product without asking me…{I’m not actually sure how to finish this sentence}

Problem: You have not invested in strong imagery.

Solution: Oh boy is this a biggie. Photography costs money. Stop complaining about that. The worst possible thing you  can do on your website is upload the ugly. Honestly, who wants to buy something ugly? On a website, consumers are not buying the actual product, they’re buying (or not buying) how you represent the product. SO make it good.

  • Save your money to do a professional photo shoot. Start with product photos if you can’t afford to do both product and editorial. Then save money again for editorial shots in the future.
  • Invest the money in a photography set up (white backdrop, good camera, a professional light) and then take a class on photography basics. You’ll be able to handle the product shots for your new collections, saving you a lot of dough over the seasons.

Problem: You are not taking your written copy seriously.

Solution: It’s so easy to assume that once you invest in great photography, you’re in the clear. Wrong-o. Too many brands underestimate the power of well written copy to help make the sale.

  • Hire a copywriter to write your website copy
  • If you’re on a budget, taking a writing class to get better at communicating
  • Treat your product descriptions and “About” page as places to connect with your prospects– instead of the same old stuff, be creative in the way you describe your work and your brand
  • Spend time developing your brand voice and use it! Ditch the industry jargon and the stuffy corporate blah-blah and write in a way that will resonate with your customer

Problem: You are not testing content to see what works.

Solution: Listen, nobody’s perfect. You’re gonna try things that simply don’t work. Who cares? The only way to know that is to try it, right?

  • Set up a Google Analytics account and use it! Set goals and track traffic so you know what’s working
  • Evaluate your blogging and social media strategies monthly or every few months- change what’s flopping

Problem: You don’t know what search engine marketing is and you don’t care.

Solution:  Don’t do that. With proper strategy, testing and adjusting, and products with a large profit margin, SEM can be a very effective way to get found. The big thing here is the profit. If you only make a small profit on a product, SEM might be a little tough. You could find that the money you’re spending on SEM is almost as high as the profit you’re making from the sales. But that’s not always the case, so if you have products with a high profit margin, look into this.

  • Learn Adwords, or hire someone who already knows it
  • Research and test paid social media marketing

Problem: You think that brand awareness happens overnight.

Solution: Please stop thinking this. When you decide to focus your revenue stream on website sales, it’s important to understand that it takes time.

  • Celebrate the little victories. They may not seem like much, but they help you to see that your efforts are working and therefore keep you motivated to keep going.
  • Remain consistent. Don’t try something for a week and then give up. Instead give yourself a timeline and stick to it.
  • Get offline. Find ways to tell people about your brand in real life; be interested in them and follow up online after your meeting.

The care and attention that you put into your website is a direct reflection of the care and attention you put into your work. You may not agree with that statement, but consumers do. So make sure you create something they care about and consequently build a website that sells.

Don’t be scared. You got this!

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

  1. Amy

    Thank you for the sound advice and giving us a big reminder of what we need to get back on track to do! Your amazing!

  2. Sumiyyah A. Rasheed

    Nicole, I’ve been following you for awhile and enjoy the timeliness of your content. Excellent job. This is a great article. Reminds me of what I need to do! Thanks

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