What Makes a Great Online Fashion Store?

This article relates to online fashion stores, but equally applies to an online store of any type wishing to sell products to a customer. There are possibly hundreds of online fashion stores that offer good products and good service, but what sets some stores above the rest?

The makings of a great online store are judged by the consumer and created by the site owner or administrator. The consumer will use certain set criteria when choosing an online fashion store in which to place an order using their hard earned cash. These criteria usually revolve around, but are not exclusive to the following list:

• Accessibility
• Security
• Price
• Service
• Knowledge

I have listed the areas in order of importance; having done this you may ask why accessibility is top of the list. The answer to this question is paramount to all online stores and businesses; if the store cannot be found then it can not be shopped. This stands as the most important factor in setting a great online store apart from an average one regardless of how good the security, price, service or knowledge of that store is.

Each and every online user will know of an online fashion store in which they can usually find the type of product they are looking for. If you cannot get your store alongside that store in the search engine rankings, or in front of the shopper through means of online or offline advertising the hard fact is that they are not going to find your store nor the great products, security, price, service and knowledge that you have to offer.

Secondly comes security; when the customer finds a store they must feel secure in shopping in that store. The greatest fear of e-commerce shoppers is having their financial details stolen or manipulated by hackers and thieves. There are no fool proof methods to ensure that a store is completely safe because hackers are becoming ever more sophisticated in the methods they employ to steel peoples financial information. However always look for reassurance including, certified site stamps from companies such as Go-Daddy and other reputable site security systems.

If a site does not look secure and reputable the shopper will leave. A good tip for shoppers is to check the terms and conditions of any site, they can usually be found in the bottom banner. Also check the ‘contact us’ page if an address, telephone number or further information is available, the store will usually be reputable. If you are on a site that has very little information in the ‘about us’ and ‘contact us’ pages it may well be a good idea to call first and check the company credentials.

Thirdly comes price; if the above two areas are satisfied, the price appears fair, the customer will not usually be overly bothered about price. This may sound odd but rarely are customers thinking about price as the number one indicator in the decision making process of whether they will purchase a product or not. It is always a good idea for online stores to play with their price point. Move the price up and move it down again, measuring the reaction to the price.

Fourthly there is service; an online fashion store that offers good service will always retain customers for further transactions, where as the store that provides flawed service will gain a customer for one sale only and then lose them forever. So in the first instance of gaining a new customer for an online fashion store service comes in fourth, but when it comes to retaining customers it jumps right to number one. Great service will make you a very happy store owner, as your customers will just keep coming back.

Finally knowledge; in online stores knowledge is not always the key to initial sales or retention of customers. Unlike in high street outlets whereby knowledge of a product or the ability of the sales staff to fill the customer with confidence is essential to the success of the customer experience. It is fair to say however that an online fashion store with a greater depth than just products it is wishing to sell will enthuse any customer or potential customer to share the information about a store with their friends through verbal communication and or social networking outlets. Knowledge is also necessary to improve the accessibility of an online fashion store. It is essential that the site be filled with relevant knowledge of the core product subject, in order that search engine algorithms find and index a site in an optimum manner.

This is a guide that I have formulated through years of personal endeavours as an e-commerce customer and an e-commerce online store owner. It will without doubt change from person to person, but the fundamentals of this guide will apply no matter what the situation.

Using The Internet To Do Your Clothes Shopping Online: A Cautionary Guide

If you are a female ‘fashion junkie’ who loves using the internet to find out what the latest fashion trends are and what you should be wearing right now, then you will probably want to do your clothes shopping online as well. The internet is a wonderful source of fashion tips as well as style inspiration, and you can find solutions to every kind or sartorial problem or dilemma you can think of without having to do much searching at all.

One of the greatest things about the using the internet when it comes to clothing and fashion, however, is that you can buy clothing online from the comfort of your own home. What’s more, you can indulge your shopping cravings at any time of the day or night by simply going onto the internet and browsing. But be careful to keep a tight hold of your purse strings because it is easy to overspend when you purchase this way.

As many of the fashionistas who do their clothes shopping online will tell you, it is easy to spend a lot of money in a short space of time when all you have to do is click your mouse a few times to make a purchase. As there is no exchange of hard cash involved, a person tends not to have second thoughts about parting with their hard-earned cash the way they might if they were waiting in line at the till. What’s more, if you can’t try a garment on to see if it looks good on you, you are less likely to walk away from it, so to speak.

Not being able to try on a garment is another drawback of buying clothes directly off the internet. Garment sizes vary widely throughout the clothing industry so it is often difficult to gauge whether a garment will fit you or not simply from the designated sizing. On the other hand, many online garment vendors say they’ll refund your money if you aren’t entirely happy with your purchase. Unfortunately, there’s likely to be a certain amount of effort involved in returning an item that doesn’t fit and you might find that you’ll have to pay the return postage, so bear this in mind when you go shopping online.

Of course, you might be able to avoid the potential risk of having to return a garment you have bought off the internet by purchasing only from a website that shows the actual measurements of garments in centimetres or inches. You can use these measurements to get an accurate estimate of the true size of the garment in relation to you own body measurements.

Definitive Shopping Guide for Big Feet

If you have larger than normal feet, you know how difficult and frustrating it can be to find shoes that fit. Manufacturers are more interested in creating shoes in common sizes so that they can get the biggest return possible. In the past, this meant that people with larger feet were reduced to shopping at specialty stores for styles made from companies that only made big shoes and not other sizes. The selection was often limited, and the styles not as fashionable as the shoes on the high street. Luckily there are more options available today for people with big feet. Here is the definitive shopping guide for finding stylish shoes that fit your feet.

Styles
Today most major manufacturers create shoes in a range of sizes, from very tiny sizes up to the large sizes that fit big feet. One style that always comes in all sizes are trainers. There are a great range of different types of trainers you will be able to find in your size, from high-tech athletic trainers to the colourful, street trainers that look good with jeans. Dress shoes are a bit harder to find in big sizes, especially larger sized heels for women. When shopping around, remember to look for you size but also keep in mind the width of the shoe. Some companies create large sizes but don’t take into account the extra width of your foot, so you could end up with a shoe that pinches the sides of your feet.

Where to Shop
It used to be that people with large feet could only find good fitting shoes at “big and tall” stores. These shops are still around and are a good option for people who have feet that are both wide and long and therefore really hard to fit. However, you won’t find contemporary, fashionable shoes at these stores. To get shoes that are more on trend with the season, you could consider looking at department stores and asking about larger sizes. Most big stores will stock at least a few big sizes in each style to have on hand. The final and best option is to shop around online. You can go to online shops, auction sites and websites that offer overstocked shoes from various stores to find great deals on stylish shoes.

Buying Shoes
When you decide to shop online, make sure you have the right size. Different countries have different sizing charts, so it’s important to check that you are purchasing your shoes in the right country and corresponding size. Sizes also tend to vary slightly among different manufacturers. In order to get the exact right fit, it is a good idea to visit the manufacturer’s website to take a look at their specific sizing chart. Once you start looking around online, you’ll be amazed at just how large the selection of shoes is that will fit your feet.

Upgrade Your Wardrobe For Autumn 2010, Style Guide For Men

In most fashion campaigns this autumn it is going to be all about twill blazers, chinos, washed out jeans, brogues all nicely put together in a 1950’s type of look that plays around with loads of layers. This represents a chance to experiment with your wardrobe and combine different items of clothing in order to create a really good look. There is a a classic outfit that you could all try putting together or even keep in mind for this Autumn.

Chinos
Firstly, start with a nice pair of chinos. Chinos have always been an essential item of clothing in men’s wardrobes however they’re not always in fashion, chinos are a bit like the denim shirt fashion trend that keeps popping in and out of fashion campaigns every five years or so. Well if you’ve got a nice pair of chinos,this autumn is the time to get them out of the wardrobe and match them up with all the following clothing items.

Denim shirt
You can match a pair of chinos with denim shirt, although denim strictly goes with denim of the same colour it doesn’t really matter hear since we are going to go for a layered look, plus the whole denim on denim thing is still in. So don’t worry about matching colours of denim to be exactly the same.

Tartan Scarves
One of the fashion accessories that really adds to the entire outfit and look is a nice scarf and as we are working with chinos, tweed blazers, they can be well rounded off with a nice tartan scarf. You can pick them up from mainstream fashion shops, tartan seems to be really in just now. Made easier by shopping online and it is always worthwhile looking at the sales sections of the previous season. Often overlooked, it is surprising the amount of nice items you will find online for half price, and there are always local charity shops too. If you spend time in these shops looking around you tend to find quality designer items for ridiculously low prices.

Brogues
These are the fashion style that has generations of fans. It isn’t just the domain of the elite, brogues are matching a lot more outfit these days. If you go for a good designer brand, the shoes might be a bit pricey but they tend to last for ages so it’s really good value. Going for quality shoes, it is recommended to pay something extra for brogues and buy a decent pair, often really cheap brogues will look nice and don’t last long.

Blazer
A nice blazer makes a big difference to the entire look. You can match a blazer with some jeans and pair of shoes and you will look smart. For this look it is important to go with the traditional tweed blazer. These blazers seem to be the latest thing in men’s fashion, it’s the “folk” look that everybody’s is going for. You can pick one up online in most mainstream fashion online stores. Again with blazers, consider going for a good designer and pay something extra. With these blazers it’s all about the quality of the tweed and the pattern plus it’s a clothing item that will last you decades.

Beautiful Savings – Guide to Surviving Sample Sales

I’m sure everyone is familiar with this feeling: you’ve been eyeing the most gorgeous pair of Tory Burch heels, with its gorgeous silhouette and sleek style. But alas, your heart skips a beat when you look at the price, as you replace them on the shelf and silently affirm “One day… I’ll save enough to have it.” Well, thanks to the numerous sample sales in New York City’s fashion district, “One day” may be much sooner than you think! The one thing that shopaholics (such as myself!) like better than shopping are bargains! And bargains are always beautiful! Here are some tips on scoring heart-stopping deals with prices that won’t give you a heart attack.

Research, Research, Research!

The wealth of information available on the internet is amazing! Websites such as Topbutton and DailyCandy post information on sample sales in various cities.

Got some extra time during the day? Prominent shopping areas, such as New York City’s garment district may have people advertising sample sales for specific showrooms. Take a stroll in these areas and be on the lookout for someone handing out fliers to such sales. Once you’re at the sale, place yourself on their contact list so you can be notified of future sales. Some showrooms may not be so public about their sales. Well-known designers, such as Prada, have sales twice a year, so if you know someone who’s in the loop and has info to a certain showroom, try calling calling in favors and ask when the next sample sale will occur.

Go with a Plan!

Plan on arriving 30 minutes to 1 hour before the sale, particularly for sought-after brands. Anticipate long lines for entry, try-ons, and purchases. Be patient! Usually the first day of a sample sale has the best selection due to the highest number of inventory. If day one is a no-go on your schedule, call ahead of time and ask if additional items will be put out or prices cut later in the week.

Always have cash on hand- some sales may not accept credit cards or personal checks. On the plus side, some sales will may fore-go tax if you pay in cash.

Wear leggings and a tank top or sports bra under your clothes. This allows you to easily try clothes on, especially if private dressing rooms are unavailable.

Never wear a brand to its own sale. It could get lost amongst the other merchandise.

Shopping buddies are great to have- they give their honest opinions on what does and doesn’t look flattering.

Survey the land.

If the atmosphere is relaxed, you can take your time and peruse the aisles and racks so you can decide what to buy. But in the event that chaos is present, it’s always effective to grab and go! Select items in your size range that look appealing to try on, avoiding anything that’s stained, torn, or needs a lot of tailoring. Having a friend sample sale shop also helps, especially when it comes to the long try-on and check-out lines.

Mind your manners.

Sample sales can get overcrowded, and the more bodies under one roof, the more colorful the personalities. While there are those that can get aggressive, and sometime downright rude, I personally feel no item is worth fighting over. If someone is blocking a rack or dominating a mirror, politely ask her to move for just a second. Remember, when it comes down to it, it’s just stuff; there’s more to life than having everything.

Shop Smart

Look for unique pieces that you can’t normally get from the local department stores. The best deals at sample sales are bags, dresses, outerwear, and shoes. Prices on these items are usually below wholesale price. Always try to ask for a better price, especially if you are buying a lot of items. If you are buying $400 worth of merchandise, see if you can get it for $350. The people at the register know that people are here for a deal, and they want to get out as much inventory as they can.

There are more than just sample sales.

Shopping, samples, and cocktails- need I say more? Companies such as Shecky’s Media and Style Fixx hold events at popular venues that are more like happy hour with girlfriends than shopping. These events have local designers and beauty companies that showcase their newest products, all at 30-75% off retail. They also offer “goodie bags” filled with product samples for you to try. Sign up for the next Shecky’s event here.

The internet’s popularity has also allowed for online sample sales that offer discount for designer items. Sites such as RueLala and Ideeli require membership to shop online.

So shop often, shop smart because looking sharp is an art!

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