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6 Tips for E-Commerce Websites for Decorated Apparel

Business Tips and News

Convenience Is The Key for Effective DTG, Embroidery or Custom Apparel Websites.

To be competitive in today’s marketplace, you want to be heard. Often, this means having an online presence.

For your direct-to-garment printing, business embroidery or rhinestone design company to get off the ground, one of the best places to start will be with an e-commerce website. They are the perfect way to showcase your product, connect with new or existing customers and get feedback on the latest designs and fashion trends.

If you are considering paying a computer whiz to make your site (or for more computer literate, building one yourself) there are several ways to approach the look and functionality of your e-store.

First, do your research.  Look at different e-commerce websites to observe what features are absolutely crucial to the shopping experience. One thing to keep in mind; the easier you can make it for the customer to buy, the more they will buy from you!

There are many factors in a well-designed e-commerce site, here are the six most influential:

Ease of Navigation:

To sell a product to a potential customer, the basic prerequisite is that they should be able to find exactly what they want. This is true for any website, e-commerce of not. If your customer cannot find a product or have a problem navigating your site, they will not only not buy from you, but you may not have another opportunity to get their business.

A larger range of products means ease of navigation becomes more meaningful. Drop down and side bar menus should be clear, as well as have the ability to narrow down categories quickly. CaféPress.com does a great job of this as well, and most of their products are produced using direct to garment printers.

What makes good sense to you or the designer is not necessarily the same for an end user. Be sure to check your configuration with different people so the average visitor can find what they need easily.

Simple, Clean Design:

The primary focus of any e-commerce website is to sell a product. Having an innovative design is nice, but try to be too slick and your design may run the risk of taking attention away from the product. Look at the most successful online retailers; they have clean, minimalist designs, showcasing the product, not the site.

If your site has any elements that are cluttered or overly flashy, lose them! You are selling T-shirts, not web design!

Shopping Cart:

Any retailer can tell you, when a customer decides to buy, you must the rest of the process fast, easy and convenient.  The more steps between choice and checkout, the higher the likelihood a consumer will change their mind.
cart-sample

Basic information about Embroidery here.

One significant problem with online purchasing is the abandoned shopping cart; the user who shops, then changes his or her mind. Streamlining the system will cut down on abandonment rates.  The best e-commerce sites allow you add an item to your cart and then immediately see the contents. They give the user the option to either continue shopping or checkout. If choosing to checkout, they can either login as an existing customer or create a new account.

Amazon.com provides their users with a handy feature; the One-Click Checkout. This allows users to store information in the system, and purchase a product with just one click. They are immediately sent over to a confirmation screen, thanking them for the purchase and a chance to double check the order for accuracy before it is processed.

As the saying goes: “easy in, easy out.”

Consistent and Appropriate Style:

E-commerce design choices are as varied as the products they sell, which means a greater chance your site could suffer from an identity crisis. As your business develops, you want to send a clear message to your buyer, of both who you are and the range of products for sale.

Smaller stores, with a specific type of merchandise, need to build a brand image to get noticed. The design elements of your site should match the product line, and the image you are trying to convey.

For example, if your company sells custom items for infants to pre-teens, the design elements and color scheme should match the products. They must be both appropriate and desirable to parents, since they are often the ones who are making the purchase.

Search Box:

Navigation is essential, but there always should be an opportunity for customers to search for a specific item. Even with the best laid-out navigation, there are still a few visitors that will have a hard time looking for what they want. The search box is for them.

Several larger e-retailers will have added search terms in the box, allowing the user to narrow down their choice and give more possibilities than what is being shown.

Product images:

The biggest disadvantage of online retailing, compared to brick-and-mortar stores, is that the customer cannot see, touch and feel the product. With that in mind, e-stores typically rely on images to market and promote. Items should always be pictured in an appealing way, often with photos taken from various angles.

Good photography can offset the lack of physical access to the product. High-resolution images are a must, both in thumbnails and close-ups. Another nice feature to add to your site is the ability to zoom in for greater detail. This will offer the opportunity to highlight the outstanding quality of your merchandise, especially when selling custom garment printing, detailed rhinestone transfers and embroidery.

BlingOutLoud.com site, shown below, does a great job of highlighting new products and providing easy to follow menus.

blingoutloud-site

Having a winning e-commerce site is not easy, but if you can master the basics of style that make a positive shopping experience for your customers, you can get back to growing your business—making distinctive, high-quality products that people will love!

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