Struggling to get customers

Discussion in 'Ecommerce Forum' started by Eleanor, Jun 9, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. TheHorse

    TheHorse UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 2
    Theres a couple of very small but excellently located shops come up in the Lace Market in Nott'm with fairly low Lease costs. Perfect for your line of work. Think they were on Savills website.
     
    Posted: Jun 19, 2008 By: TheHorse Member since: Jun 19, 2008
    #41
  2. TheHorse

    TheHorse UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 2
    2 East Street, Hockley

    2, East Street, Hockley, Nottingham

    Size: 392 Sq Ft
    Price: £10,000 Per Sq Ft (To Let)



    4 East Street, Hockley

    4, East Street, Hockley, Nottingham

    Size: 206 Sq Ft
    Price: £5,200 PA (To Let)


    from savills.co.uk
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2008
    Posted: Jun 19, 2008 By: TheHorse Member since: Jun 19, 2008
    #42
  3. Eleanor

    Eleanor UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    390 48
    oooh thank you :)
     
    Posted: Jun 19, 2008 By: Eleanor Member since: Mar 3, 2008
    #43
  4. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    14,858 2,117
    Frankly, the last thing she wants right now is more overhead. Pricing is already an issue. Plus, the market would seem to be small and dispersed. A store front is not going to help.
     
    Posted: Jun 19, 2008 By: Cornish Steve Member since: Jul 4, 2005
    #44
  5. Eleanor

    Eleanor UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    390 48
    I am very grateful for all of the help here, but price is only an issue because I'm not charging enough... I've just this minute looked at three large (been around for 3 years+) corsetry companies and not one of them seems to sell a corset for less than £200. One doesnt even do any hand sewing and isnt using the "right" componants... I turned several shades of purple when I discovered that my work, after only been sewing for 5 years is so much bloody better!!!

    I'm not trying to sound obnoxious, but my work is just as good, I do it all myself and nothing gets sent to outworkers, I keep costs down by doing the work myself and doing it in my home where overheads are approx £170 a month...

    I think my main issue is making my brand become more synonymous with gorgeous, sexy, burlesque lingerie and the kind of stuff that every woman between the ages of 20 and 40 want to wear... and if they dont, their partners probably would get them something as a gift to try and tempt them that way...

    Another thing I have noticed is once a woman has tried a corset on (or a TV) they get quite addicted to the feeling of it...

    Sorry for the rant, just a bit annoyed that I am working so hard for half the amount of money and getting no where... I suppose in three years it could be a completely different story.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2008
    Posted: Jun 19, 2008 By: Eleanor Member since: Mar 3, 2008
    #45
  6. Eleanor

    Eleanor UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    390 48
    Oh and just a quick update. I'm going to concetrate solely on underwear atm, I am meeting the photographer tomorrow and will be booking the models time for the end of june. So I have about a week and a half to make a load more samples...

    By the way, the basic corsets cost me between £50 and £70 to make... and for a really special commission with hand applied crystals the cost can be phenominal (like £250 phenominal). All my garments are made from natural fibres, usually silk, so I'm sure you can imagine the cost of that too.

    *wanders off in complete disbelief*
     
    Posted: Jun 19, 2008 By: Eleanor Member since: Mar 3, 2008
    #46
  7. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    14,858 2,117
    I'm not going to be very popular for saying this, but I believe your long-term problem is the fact that you "do it all myself and nothing gets sent to outworkers". To really build the business so you earn a decent amount, you'll very soon run out of capacity. How will you grow? When you realise you must outsource to others, how will you ensure your quality remains superior to others? Rather think this through now than later.

    If others are charging over £200, then maybe your prices are in the right range. As you point out, though, you need brand equity. Potential customers must know that your brand name is synonymous with quality. How can you best achieve this?

    (This will sound naive, I'm sure, but I have to ask because I haven't a clue. Why are women trying your corsets on on TV?)
     
    Posted: Jun 19, 2008 By: Cornish Steve Member since: Jul 4, 2005
    #47
  8. Eleanor

    Eleanor UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    390 48
    TV and TG = Transvestite and Transgender

    You are 100% correct on the growth point. I intend to reach a certain capacity (of approx 7 orders per week) and then if I really need to I will hire someone who has an intense portfolio of work which scream quality at me.

    I don't know how to gain Brand Equity (?) which was my main concern all along. Everything I do at the moment is slowly building great word of mouth for me in my local area (and even in the states:eek:), I was going to start up a brochure to send out with commissions too. Then I saw what it actually cost to print brochures :rolleyes: Instead, I want to use my time with the photographer and model to get some great images for my portfolio which I can send out to boutiques all over England and hopefully some will start stocking my ranges.

    Right at this minute I am designing several ranges that as far as I can tell are uniqe to me... This is what I am hoping will propel me into a great Brand.
     
    Posted: Jun 19, 2008 By: Eleanor Member since: Mar 3, 2008
    #48
  9. new2bus

    new2bus UKBF Regular Free Member

    330 32
    Tranny or Transvestite.
     
    Posted: Jun 19, 2008 By: new2bus Member since: Mar 21, 2008
    #49
  10. new2bus

    new2bus UKBF Regular Free Member

    330 32
    we must have posted together
     
    Posted: Jun 19, 2008 By: new2bus Member since: Mar 21, 2008
    #50
  11. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    14,858 2,117
    OK, so I'm naive. :redface:
     
    Posted: Jun 19, 2008 By: Cornish Steve Member since: Jul 4, 2005
    #51
  12. new2bus

    new2bus UKBF Regular Free Member

    330 32
    There lies the problem with such small output, the overhead of taking on premises aligned with setting up a web presence and you are the sole output.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2008
    Posted: Jun 19, 2008 By: new2bus Member since: Mar 21, 2008
    #52
  13. TheHorse

    TheHorse UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 2

    She spoke about studios in Nott'm - so i gave her ideas. Even if you have no intention of going through with it, its always worth a look if that's where your aspirations are at. so 'frankly' I think its a reasonable idea.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2008
    Posted: Jun 20, 2008 By: TheHorse Member since: Jun 19, 2008
    #53
  14. Eleanor

    Eleanor UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    390 48
    I would like to thank you all once again.

    I have followed the majority of the advice here, the only stuff I haven't done are the options that arent quite available to me at the moment.

    Whilst I would love a studio right this minute, I do not have the right amount of finance but will definately consider it in my future.

    Right now the things I am concentrating on are: A press release, Model and photographer, getting a portfolio of work together to show potential boutiques, working on more samples (just underwear, no day wear or formal wear) and building my brand...

    If anyone has any other ideas of way to get my brand known and wanted I would really appreciate hearing them :)
     
    Posted: Jun 20, 2008 By: Eleanor Member since: Mar 3, 2008
    #54
  15. Paula Barrett

    Paula Barrett UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    1,243 80
    Eleanor - in addition to all the fantastic advice you've received so far, a popular thread for general marketing on this forum is this one.

    Might not all be relevant to your business but it's worth a read. Good luck! This is a great thread and I look forward to hearing about how you progress!

    Paula
     
    Posted: Jun 20, 2008 By: Paula Barrett Member since: Nov 12, 2007
    #55
  16. Tom Wigley

    Tom Wigley UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    5 3
    Hey Eleanor,
    Found a link to this thread in a newsletter sent out and i thought i'd register to reply personally.

    Without being horribly blunt, as mentioned previously your website is doing nothing for you. Unlike amazon or play.com, where the e-commerce business structure obviously works, with designer goods it definately doesnt. How many fashion designers do you find with a store on their site. It puts people off. People will instantly think that because you run an online store your products cant be that hand-made, whether they are or not.

    I know you said money was an issue but i would highly reccomend getting a new website done. Choose a good web designer who has done some high quality work in the past. If you are interested i know some very talented individuals who would make you something to a tight budget(no they dont work for me :p) It shouldnt be expensive because it is a brochure site. Id recommend getting a blog included aswell. Blogs work for everything nowa days.

    You need to get your branding sorted as atm it seems very confused.

    Due to the nature of your product you have to market yourself as designer, high quality goods as they are. A stunning website with clear good quality branding will do this for you.

    From there you then need to concentrate on getting customers. Focus 50/50 on SEO and PPC, target long-tail keyphrases, such as "buy corsets in the uk" or "designer corsets uk" or even longer. You will find getting highly ranked on phrases like this alot easier than broader terms. Reduces initial outlay

    Another thing worth looking into is social marketing using Social Communities such as Myspace and Facebook. Despite what you might think some people on their have money. I read somewhere yesterday (stomper net) that people on social communities are 30% more likely to buy online than any other demographic and that they also earn more. Plus you will find hundreds of good looking people offering to model your products, aswell as photographers looking to further their portfolio.

    Anyway, i dont want to get into a full on, how to optimize your site thing.
    You have a great product and if you get your presence online sorted with a quality website, a social community presence, some sexy photos and your corporate branding sorted the customers will be breaking down the door.

    Personally i'd forget the idea of owning your own local shop. Cant see a single benefit you'd gain from it over online.

    If you have any further questions feel free to pm me.
     
    Posted: Jun 20, 2008 By: Tom Wigley Member since: Jun 20, 2008
    #56
  17. Eleanor

    Eleanor UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    390 48
    Thank you Paula and Tom.

    I must say Tom, as thorough and fatastic your post is, my spirit now seems a little crushed...

    I spent a long time looking at websites and what options were available to me. My previous one was made by a professional but it was flash, people seem to really hate flash... I have read at least 5 different books on ecommerce so that I wouldn't be going into this completely blind.

    Now I have my site that isn't flash, I have my goods, I even have a model and a photographer and yet I'm getting loads of feedback about how people don't like my site, it really is gutting. But it is advice and something I clearly need to think about.

    I would however like to point out that some corset designers in the UK, who are both big corset companies now, both operate with a shopping cart system (and bloody high prices for that matter too).

    I am now coming up to the end of June. It either starts falling into place or I need to completely turn around and thats the last thing I want to do.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008
    Posted: Jun 20, 2008 By: Eleanor Member since: Mar 3, 2008
    #57
  18. Tom Wigley

    Tom Wigley UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    5 3
    I'm sorry dont be disheartened! its not anything unfixable

    It was definately a good decision deciding to change from a flash website. The problem with them is you restrict visitors aswell as search engine spiders. That was definately a wise decision on your part.

    Regarding your website. At present in all honesty it looks quite unprofessional. In my eyes the main things that do this are,


    • The logo - This is the main thing. You need a simple recognisable company logo and header. That you could include on invoices, email signatures, everything. Someone on this forums i am sure would help you with this. With a good logo and header the entire website will look changed
    • The overlapping issue - get onto your web designer, it is upto him to sort this, as people have mentioned it doesnt view properly in any browser.
    • The pictures, you are getting this sorted
    • Pink text on white - its so difficult to read, personally id change it but its no big deal
    As you mentioned if your 2 main competitors are using online stores than that proves people are willing to spend money in an online store environment on your products. Personally i would of thought using a designer boutique style website would of been much easier to portray a high quality image, especially as you wont be in direct competition with those other big stores however if you have recently invested in a new website i wouldn't advise going backwards.


    I did an XML W3C Validation check on your website and it found 240 errors which is definately above average.
    EDIT (i cant post the link, search for W3C validator on google)
    Those errors will account for everyones differences in viewing the website. If you show that to your web designer he should be able to use it to help fix some of the problems. However some of those errors could be problems could be inherent within internetretailer.biz (the shop script i presume you are using, it is linked at the bottom) if thats the case you wont be able to sort them.

    Some other little SEO pointers...


    • Write some articles and submit to article directories - you already have some great original content articles regarding corsets, submitting them would gain you valued backlinks and traffic
    • Write a free press release regarding your new company website, launch, or products and submit to as many press release websites as you can
    • social bookmarking - again articles, any useful documents, scribed is a great website people seem to be using alot, as is propeller, digg, stumble etc. check them both out.
    • include a link to your sitemap in your footer
    • reviewme.com get a blog to review your site and/or products. great way of driving some traffic for cheap.
    • review the alt tags for some of your links and hyperlinks, too many "Goto ..." will confuse spiders, your alt's should clearly explain what they are linking to.
    • your page titles need to be unique to each individual page,
    • meta description shouldn't be keyword jammed, it has NO direct affect on google ranking at all. What you need is clevery written copy that will pull customers onto your page from google search engine results pages (SERP's)

      I could go on and on but those are some of the main things.
    I hope i havent disheartened you too much,

    Right now id concentrate primarily on getting the few minor website problems sorted, overlapping etc. Look into getting a professional looking logo done. Get your new photos online.
    Then when you have time and money concentrate on some of the SEO things i mentioned above (particularly sorting your titles and alts).

    One last thing, if you are spending money yourself on adwords STOP, its a full time profession. With every next google slap it gets more difficult. Look into getting someone to manage your PPC if you are investing substantial amounts of money.

    All the best
     
    Posted: Jun 20, 2008 By: Tom Wigley Member since: Jun 20, 2008
    #58
  19. Eleanor

    Eleanor UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    390 48
    Tom, I have now elevated you to God status. Thanks so much for that post.

    I am in the middle of designing my A/W collection (I've decided I need to be much more prefessional with my samples) and hopefully I can get them made before we get everything photographed. This is what I intend to write my press release about.

    That second lot of bullet points, sadly, made very little sense to me as I am completely useless at anything that is technology other than a sewing machine... but I will talk to David (neither he, nor I, see the overlapping, only when I'm on OH's Mac do I notice it) as he may have some idea of the coding etc and what that second lot of bullet points mean.

    Thanks again Tom!
     
    Posted: Jun 20, 2008 By: Eleanor Member since: Mar 3, 2008
    #59
  20. Tom Wigley

    Tom Wigley UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    5 3

    Haha, Your too kind, Sorry i will try and explain those last few notes a bit better quickly...

    Title Tags (shows at the very top of your web browser)
    As you would title an essay, you title each page of your site. (code obviously) If you dont have an individual title for each page of your site then it confuses google (try reading 100 different essays in a second when they are all titled the same) haha sorry, you get what i mean. You must get these titles customised to each page. Titles are also very important because it is the first thing search engine spiders (googles robots that check and ranks your site) look at when they are trying to assign keywords to your site.
    e.g If you want to be listed for the keyword "Corsets" and each of your pages is titled along the lines of "My Online shop that is cool and sells corsets" then obviously people arent going to find you so easily.

    Obviously im over doing these examples for the sake of explanation :)

    Alt Tags - Alt tags are simply the alternate text assigned to an image or link to tell the spiders what that link is pointing to (again they need titles) A lot of your Alt tags look a bit like "Go look at my new corset". Which may seem friendly but a spider is going to then relate your new corsets to the phrase "go look at my new corset" which obviously doesnt quite work. Same thing for images. They must be titled descriptively explaing what the picture is (imagine blind spiders)

    META Description - Again like you title a page you can also assign a description. Description however has no direct affect on your rank or keywords (e.g putting i sell snakes in your descriptions wouldnt affect anything directly) However, your description along with your title are your only means of attracting customers on google. So you must use them effectively. At present your homepage META description is a list of keywords, would you buy a digital camera off a man who just screamed camera! digital camera! new cameras! in your face? nope. You'd buy it off the guy who lured you in. Thats what your description has to do. Questions work well sometimes.


    Those are some of the reallllllllllly basic foundations for SEO. At the moment they arent set out properly on your site. They are just little things to take into consideration as they will majorly hold your website back regarding ranking, they also dont look professional if not assigned correctly.

    I also mentioned social media type things, im a bit tired to explain them now haha sorry. If you visit scribd.com propeller.com digg.net and stumbleupon.com they are all great websites that you can share information with people with. Articles, guides etc. You could benefit from using them.



    Feel free to PM me or anything
    I quite like this place :)
     
    Posted: Jun 20, 2008 By: Tom Wigley Member since: Jun 20, 2008
    #60
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.