CASE STUDY – how to start a clothing brand online

Six simple and powerful transformations you can make to your online fashion store for free and achieve +4000% growth the first month.

As soon as we started our Shopify online fashion store with one of my customers, we quickly moved into a few quick-wins in order to improve the performance of our online clothing store. If you want to know how to set up a website to sell clothes you can read my previous article. 

1. We’ve revised the whole process of social media marketing that we are using for our fashion brand.

We’ve built a clear agenda of how to promote a clothing brand on Instagram. Which day to post, at what time and with what content. It’s quite a practical tool for the online apparel marketing.

  • For that, we used a simple tool integrated into Instagram Statistics, which is available in your Instagram mobile app (you should be in professional mode). You’ll find out when it is the best time to post, when your audience is connected, which time of the day, etc… By simply following your performance numbers,  you can choose which day is best to post. 
  • Create an xls file where you note down the best performing posts. You will easily figure out which posts create better reactions, bring more likes etc. Try to produce more content that resonates with your audience according to these observations. 
  • Use this simple method and you will see additional sales coming from Instagram more frequently. 

2. We’ve put in place a repeated publishing routine for new product launches for our clothing startup. 

This is applicable to your website, social media and fashion marketing tools that support the launch. In our case, we have defined that each week, on a specific day of the week, we will disclose a new product publically. In reality, you have planned your collection in advance, but you make your announcement strategically once a week for each item. The advantage of this process is to get your fashion designs noticed and improve your sales.

  • You will create an impression of abundance and frequent renewal of product. This will drive traffic to your store and get your audience excited about the new things that they can buy. 
  • Google will see that you have frequent updates on your website and will rank your website higher on the search list. 
  • You will raise the frequency and quality of customer contact. Writing short email messages, reminding your client base about your brand, is both much easier for you, and simpler to read for your customer. 
  • You will bring new merchandise into your Instagram feed and create more call- to- action events in Instagram stories to support the launch. 

3. We’ve collected our customers’ testimonials and published them on the home page of our online clothing boutique.

If you have some happy customers, I recommend that you reach out to them and ask them for their impressions about your brand and in exchange for their testimonials offer them a reasonable discount for the next purchase. It’s also a great way of showing your customers that you care about them and that their opinion matters to you. Out of 100 customers, we had eight super cool comments about the brand. We’ve chosen five of the best and posted them to the home page to ensure that new visitors see the comments and trust the brand. 

  • This allows you to develop trust in the brand for people who don’t know your clothing startup. 
  • Use comments to show how your brand makes others feel good and post on social media.
  • Moreover, it creates an additional opportunity for your customers to return to your shop and repurchase with a discount code. Out of eight customers, who reacted to our email and got the personal discount code, two of them immediately bought new products! 

4. We’ve put in place an abandoned cart follow-up email to improve conversion sales rate.

This is very helpful for different types of clothing brands. All you need to do is send a link to an abandoned cart that a customer left without paying. 
This means that the customer has already checked in, left his or her personal information and email, but for some reason, he or she didn’t finish the payment. In this case, you can leave a friendly message saying: “Hi, have you forgotten something? Here’s a link that you can use to finish your purchase.” And that’s it! 2-5% of customers return to your store and finish the purchase. 

You can go further and create an automatic emailing process allowing you to re-target your potential customer within three to five messages, and offer a super- attractive deal at the end. You can use paid automated tools for that. 

If you host your fashion e-commerce business on Shopify, I would recommend using a natively integrated abandoned cart email that Shopify sends out within 48h of the prospect’s visit. You can personalize this email to your brand’s look & feel.  Or if you want to have more advanced tools, I recommend the Omnisend application, which for €16/mo (if you have a small customer list) offers automatic emailing tools to re-target your prospect back to purchase with more options for customization. 

5. We’ve put in place a testimonial follow- up application for Google and Facebook.

Use a feedback application to provide your customers with an easy way to leave a comment about your brand on Google and Facebook. We use a free application “Reputon Customer Review” that you can find on the Shopify App Market.  It follows up automatically on the purchase after a defined time (you can choose the number of days you want to leave before following up a customer who has taken delivery of a product). We did it on the existing customer base first. The application sent out a bulk of emails to existing customers. The cool thing is that it’s a part of the free plan, so you don’t pay extra to re-launch to the existing customer base. And then the free plan offers up to 50 follow-up emails per month to ask your customers for feedback.

We’ve customized our message and obtained a 53% open rate! Out of 22 clicks, four customers left positive feedback in just a couple of weeks and we’ve started with zero comments on Google! 

The application has the advantage of splitting comments between both Google and Facebook and giving equal results and customer testimonials on both tools. 

From our experience, people are more willing to leave a comment on Google than Facebook. Out of nine connections to Facebook, no one actually left a message. But this is fine with us, as Google matters more when it comes to organic search and SEO. Also, in our case, we have more paying customers coming from Google, than Facebook.

6. We’ve contacted bloggers and influencers inside our target customer circle. 

This is where you really start to leverage the growth, by using OPN (other people network). In our case we’ve drawn up a list of influencers with the exact number of followers they have and segmented them on Tier 1, 2 and 3. Each type will fall into one of the segments and they’ll receive a personalised message about collaboration and testing our product. 

The message can be very easy and straightforward. 

“Hi ! It’s me M, the founder of brand X. I wonder if you would like to try out my products and post a review about them on your Instagram account. In return, I can offer you free samples of my products, and good vibes! We like to make people happy with what we do. This is our simple philosophy. Please see my website and let me know what you think. Xoxxo, your fan M”. 

With this easy-going and nonchalant message you can capture around 20 to 30 micro, sometimes middle and macro influencers who are willing to generate a post about your product if it fits their style and audience. Mainly, it will drive traffic and followers to your Instagram account. Sometimes,  if the match is perfect, you will receive orders from new customers. 

Do it often and on a regular basis, so people gain the impression of seeing your brand everywhere. You can create the impression of a big brand by appearing on several blogger and influencer accounts and, in the long run, more potential customers will be seduced and ready to purchase from you. Another tip to use:  contact non-professional fashion bloggers.  They’re everyday people who share their hobbies and lifestyle and can post your product without being paid. They do it because they like what you do and have a natural desire to share their discovery with their audience.

Do you want to learn more practical tips?

Next month, I’ll share with you some more aggressive free tools that we’ve used to multiply our email list by 10 and our orders by five. Stay tuned and subscribe to my email list.

For more information about our fashion digital marketing course IAMFASHION, which stands for Innovation and Mastermind Fashion Global Business Program, click here.