Challenges of Selling T-Shirts Online - First Few Months of Business
Who Owns T-ARC Clothing?
Before I dive right into the challenges of selling t-shirts online, I want to introduce myself. For those of you who do not know me, I'm Chris. Hi. I am here to share with you everything I can about my journey launching a small clothing brand.
Why am I doing this?
Because I want to help you. If the documentation of my experience helps you to create a better brand or assist you in adding value to your future customers, then I will be happy.
Okay, so it may sound counter intuitive as I am about to share important information about my business with the world wide web. However, by doing this, I am also hoping to build a community and looking to build relationships with like-minded people. Specifically, business owners, bloggers, and creatives.
Now you know my intentions and a little bit about me, I will talk about the 3 biggest challenges I have faced after first 5 months of business, selling t-shirts online. Each of these points will go into a bit of detail about how I overcame each challenge.
So let’s begin,
3 Biggest Challenges of Selling T-Shirts Online
The biggest problem, I and almost every new business faces is, generating organic (free) traffic. I will admit it; I was naïve to think driving traffic to my site would be easy. Simply creating content and posting it online will get you nowhere.
So how did I do it?
With a combination of search engine marketing (SEO), social media and time.
With SEO, the ultimate goal is to rank on the first page of Google and generate as much organic traffic as possible for relevant keywords. Generally speaking, anything past the first page sits in the dead zone and has a low click through rate. So how do you get to the top? Firstly, it’s important to understand how Google works.
Imagine SEO like this,
Google has set out a minefield and you have to navigate through it. If you hit one, Google’s algorithms will penalise you and send you right to the bottom. Each mine is a rule and there are roughly over 200 rules that Google’s algorithm uses to rank pages. Some are complicated beyond belief, but the basics are easy.
Still not convinced?
T-ARC ranks on the first page of Google for some specific and niche search terms, I am also on the second page of a few competitive search terms. This has helped me generate an extra amount of free traffic each week.
If you want to up your game and put yourself ahead of the competition, I strongly recommend you learn the basics of SEO. Don’t get left behind.
2. Bounce Rate
The next biggest problem I noticed was the bounce rate, it was way too high.
We have all done it before. Walking past a shop and something catches our eye in the window. As we enter we realise that our curiosity was misplaced and immediately leave.
Bounce rate is when a user lands on a web page and immediately leaves that page without any interaction. Google uses this a sign that the page isn’t good quality. Having a low bounce rate can affect your ranking.
Anything between 25% - 30% is considered good. In September, my bounce rate was up to 44.59%. Just under half of the people who were coming to my site were leaving straight away. Not good!
There are many reasons why somebody would bounce and there are ways to stop this from happening.
My store at the time was using a template that didn’t have a hero image. A good hero image can capture somebody’s attention as soon as they land on your site and encourage them to view more of your content.
Once I realised this, I uploaded one straight away.
Look at the difference! During November my bounce rate reached 21.74%. People were now exploring my site.
Here’s a quick test I did before uploading a hero image,
Open up your store homepage in a browser. Is it immediately clear, within 3 seconds, what you sell and who you are? If it isn’t then this could cause people to bounce. For instance, once I uploaded an eye-catching hero image to my site, the bounce rate dropped. It’s that simple.
The best way to see what your bounce rate is by using Google Analytics. It's completely free!
I tell you what though,
Once I managed to drive organic traffic and keep users from bouncing, the third challenge I faced was by far the most difficult. Encouraging people to purchase. Buying from a new business online is something a lot of people are weary about and rightly so.
Let’s get to the point.
Know, like and trust (KLT) is what marketers use to define the three things a customer needs before they buy. It might sound obvious but building trust takes time.
Trust is hard to earn. I use the word earn because you genuinely do have to earn it. How did I do it? Through being constantly good, using social media, collaborating with influencers and being active. Or another way to put it is, branding.
Branding plays a big part in earning people's trust. Personally, I think every business, no matter how big or small, should have trustworthy as one of its brand personalities. As T-ARC is something I work on alone, speaking in 1st person has helped me to humanise the business. At the end of the day, I am not a big corporation.
But one things for sure,
I didn’t know this right from the start. It’s a mistake I made, but I have learned this lesson so you don’t have to. The bottom line is; I will never stop trying to build customers trust as it is subjective to every individual.
There are loads of ways to build KLT with customers and they are all worth reading about.
So there we go, the three biggest problems I have faced during 5 months of business and they are not so bad. With a bit of time and hard work, you can overcome these challenges too.
While I have focused on the biggest problems - because I think addressing them will help you to plan ahead, they are really not that bad. I would also like to point out that, these last 5 months have been very rewarding.
We live in an amazing time; anybody can start a business in the space of a day. I wish you all the luck in the world with your new business.
If any of this has overwhelmed you, I am happy to answer any of your questions below.
Thanks for reading!