On the 22nd of January, the Threads program conducted their second class of the year, in order to teach the fashion entrepreneurs some important lessons in eCommerce and selling online. The Eastern Cape-based entrepreneurs got the opportunity to meet at the Standard Bank Provincial Office in order to receive an informative lesson on eCommerce. ECommerce is a fast emerging trend, with a growing number of individuals opting to do their shopping online as opposed to in-store, eCommerce is definitely something all entrepreneurs should investigate. Although recent studies account for the growing popularity of eCommerce, it does not come without its challenges. The Threads fashion entrepreneurs soon learn about these challenges as well as ways to overcome them from Threads co-founder Tania, who possesses copious amounts of experience within the field.
In order to understand the advantages and disadvantages of eCommerce, the entrepreneurs first had to learn about their own eCommerce options. Many new entrepreneurs defer from setting up their own eCommerce platforms due to the cost, admin and other resources it requires.
However, Tania informed the entrepreneurs of an alternative way of selling their products online; third-party websites. Not only are third-party websites a cost-effective way for entrepreneurs to sell their products online, they also hold a wide array of advantages for entrepreneurs trying to break it into the global market. Well known third party websites, such as Spree and Zando, host millions of users each year, ensuring large exposure for all the brands offered on their website. “Because third-party websites have been in operation longer than you, they will have higher levels of traffic and their own customer base,” explained Tania. This traffic can be very advantageous for new entrepreneurs as it will open their products up to a larger audience, allowing new markets to discover and take an interest in their brands. Another reason third-party websites are so beneficial for new entrepreneurs is because of the large amount of capital they possess. Third party websites pay for their own website design, security measures and customer service which allows for entrepreneurs to market their products on professional websites without having to worry about numerous additional costs.
“Advertising on third-party websites can cause loss of identity because their identity may not be in line with your branding” – #ThreadsBySB
Despite the numerous advantages third party websites offer, some of the entrepreneurs expressed concerns when discussing whether they would utilize one themselves. The main concern raised was the loss of identity. “Advertising on third-party websites can cause loss of identity because their identity may not be in line with your branding,” said Tania. This misrepresentation can be caused by the images of your products the third party websites took to feature on their website and even the text they chose to accompany these images. For those entrepreneurs concerned about losing their brand’s identity on third party websites, Tania offers a solution; third-party marketplaces. There are two types of third-party websites. The first is known as a multi-brand website which is an aggregator of multiple brands, and the second is a marketplace website. A marketplace website takes the form of several stores on one website, therefore allowing entrepreneurs to have more control over their brand’s identity.
In order to successfully sell your products on third party websites, Tania stipulated three key requirements. The first pertains to already running your own website. “Having your own website shows you have clientele and gives your brand credibility,” explained Tania. Third party websites want to be ensured that individuals desire your product, and having a website is an efficient way in showing this. The second requirement pertains to having sufficient stock. Third party websites make a commission on each product sold. Therefore, they need to be assured that each of the entrepreneurs’ which whom they are stocking have sufficient stock. “The ‘out of stock sign’ translates to a bad online shopping experience for customers,” explained Tania. Therefore, being well-stocked prevents this negative shopping experience from occurring and subsequently causes customers to revisit the site, allowing for greater chances of your brand’s products being sold. The final requirement to ensure success on a third party website relates to reliability and customer confidence. Third party websites want entrepreneurs to offer free shipping and returns on their products as this give their clientele more confidence when purchasing their products online and is, therefore, extremely important in encouraging online sales on their website.
“The ‘out of stock sign’ translates to a bad online shopping experience for customers” – #ThreadsBySB