Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What makes a good blogshop?

*Random insert of 4 images just because this is going to be a super wordy post*

Today I want to talk a little about what makes a blogshop / online boutique / online shop / webstore (or whatever else it's called), good!
I'll be writing it from a customers' perspective, because I'm personally a horrible online shop owner myself (I've tried before and failed many times lol)
so here's just a quick disclaimer that this isn't a professional article or anything!

**All characters described in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons or things, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

1. Your website / shop's name

Keep it simple, keep it classy, keep it easy to spell and easy for the customers to remember.

I'm sorry if this applies to your online store, but I personally get super turned off by URLs that look like this:
It's so long and extremely inconvenient to type,
and if I saw that link being posted I'd automatically assume that your website is some amateur page because that URL doesn't even look appealing visually.
Yes, lots-of-dash-back-to-you-too-bye-i-am-never-coming-back.

Having a URL or label name that is easy to spell definitely works in your favour.
I've seen blogshops who literally Google Translate "Beautiful Woman" or "Gorgeous Clothes" from English to French to make their shop's name sound fancier.
But I'm sorry love, as much as your clothes are truly gorgeous,
I won't be able to remember how to spell words like:
Magnifiques VĂȘtements
Sure, I can bookmark your page!
But what if I was not at my computer but was at my girlfriend's place for a sleepover
and I want to online shop with my girls and show them your website?
A difficult name would mean numerous customers lost in the process of giving up trying to spell your Magnifiques VĂȘtements

Also, if you have long term plans and are thinking of getting a boutique of your own etc,
a name like FuckYeahKittyClothes / ClothesWhore / CuntShop probably wouldn't seem apt for that level of professionalism.

2. Your own domain

This might probably be my personal preference,
but I always get this feeling that websites that have their own .com are less likely to cheat customers.
Having a blogspot.com or livejournal.com etc is free and easy for anyone to create (and also delete),
but once the online store pays about an extra $12 (only!!!) for their own .com,
I instantly feel like this shop is ready to dedicate and invest more into their business, and hence will be more serious and responsible about what they are doing!

If given a choice between
BeautifulClothes.com or BeautifulClothes.blogspot.com,
I'd choose to shop with the former!

3. Your layout

I LOVE shopping at websites with THEMED layouts!
For example, if you're into the whole vintage feel, having the entire website customised to cater to that is a major plus point.
Just like in the case of a brick and motar shop,
it won't be as nice if you see a sweet pastel floral wall on one side and super weirdly contrasted skulls and spikes motifs on the other wall.
You get my drift!

Also, please keep your layouts easy to navigate and let customers view numerous designs in your collection at once (a View All option would be good!).
If you're not using a webstore with an Add To Cart function, just create a collage so that customers know at a glance what's in your latest collection.
As a customer, I have an extremely short attention span so I'll decide within the first few seconds if your collection is worth clicking on.
And I find myself viewing those with collages more than those with just one image of a dress/top
because with collages, there is a higher chance that I spot something I like in your collection and hence urge me to shop at your page :)

4. Good customer service

This is extremely important because there will be times when mails get lost and customers who eagerly want their items get frustrated and throw tantrums at you.
When shit happens, nobody's entirely to blame.
But since shit already happened, finding a solution to appease your customer is crucial.

Do NOT reply to them rudely like:
Who ask you never opt for registered postage? Lost not my problem I mail out already.

Instead, you could still remain polite and offer a reasonable suggestion:
I'm so sorry to hear that your mail got lost. We do not wish for this to happen as well.
We have written a return address on the parcel, and if it gets returned to us, we will notify you ASAP!
We highly recommend opting for registered postage with only an additional $2.50 in future to prevent such cases from happening again.
Thank you!

Being patient and polite and giving a suggestion that would be beneficial for both parties would more likely solve the problem than if you had snapped back at the customer.
Also, I think that quarreling is a HUGE waste of time.
Imagine indirectly tweeting about that customer and raging about her, and ruining the good impressions other customers have of your shop - not worth it!

5. A burning Passion, and tons of Dedication

When your blogshop is new, it's like a novelty to you and you're always super motivated to give your 100% for it!
But this passion will fade slightly with time and when things go wrong, you might ask yourself why you even started this whole thing in the first place.

Things you do for your passion starts becoming a burden to you, you dread going out to source for new designs and apparels, you give up.

But the key to this is to constantly remind yourself that no matter what you do in Life, there will definitely be ups and downs.
And ask yourself if what you are doing is truly what you want and is worth you working hard for,
with your goal (maybe a fashion show of your own, or Miley Cyrus wearing your line of clothing) in mind!

Look at all the established big fashion labels today, they didn't have it easy too!
They've been around for 5 years (or more) and even survived the super difficult phase where people got wary of online shopping (cause of that couple's New Future jeans scam case etc).

I would know how hard it is to keep a blogshop going because I was one of the quitters.
I closed down my old blogshop because the manufacturer I self-designed exclusive stuff at mass produced my design and I got so mad I decided to back out forever.

Thinking back, it was quite foolish of me because trust me, shit like this WILL happen.
People will steal your designs, use a similar name as your label, use the same model as you, you'll make losses, sales will be bad sometimes, customers will be extremely demanding etc.
And it is how you react to these bad times and stay strong despite all odds that helps keep your online store going!

I didn't have as strong a dedication as some of you shop owners to have kept mine going back then,
but I hope all of you aspiring entrepreneurs will persevere and I hope this post will be useful to you!
May each of your labels be extremely successful some day soon!! :)

If you guys would like a part 2 to this post, do let me know because I seriously shop online a lot and definitely have a lot more feedbacks which I think will be relatable for blogshops heheh :D

Thank you for reading,
love you all!


Anonymous said...

Yes please do a 2nd post! I'm an aspiring blogshop owner!! <3 need some tips and advice :)

Anonymous said...

i love hearing your thoughts so pls do another post!