How to grow your sportswear brand online and the key mistakes to avoid

Habits have changed over the years and no more so than when the pandemic hit the world, transforming to normal high street visits to shopping online as retailers were forced to close their doors and we were confined to staying at home.

Direct to Consumer (DTC) has never been so strong and will remain so, not just because of the Pandemic, but because the old wholesale/retail model was already broken, with too many people involved, all taking a cut and diluting the brand message and service along the way.

Big, multistore wholesale operators have had a tough time since online shopping became accessible and many of the major players were forced to close their doors for the last time since the Pandemic as they were struggling to survive prior to Covid-19.

Consumers have become savvier regarding sourcing products at the best possible price and many used retailers to touch and feel before they then googled the product to obtain the best possible price. These same consumers have also become much more aware of brand values and spend time researching their favourite brands at their leisure, something they couldn’t do before brands started to represent themselves online.

With the demise of wholesale, many brands believe the future is DTC, and it is, however it’s not as simple as creating a website, sitting back and watch the orders flow in. Below are some key mistakes many brands make when trying to sell DTC.

Poor USP and Brand Value

There are over 1.88 billion websites looking for attention on the internet. Sure, not all of these are sportswear brands or offer your exact product, but you still need to give consumers a reason to buy your brand and stand out from the crowd.

If consumers just need a product, they usually end up on Amazon, however, if they want a brand, they end up using google and search for keywords that are the key ingredients that make up the brand DNA or products of the brand they want to purchase.

Competition is fierce and to guarantee consumers will fall in love with your brand, you need a strong USP to convince them you are the brand they NEED.

Having a weak or worse, non-existent USP will result in your brand being perceived as just selling product.  Without understanding your USP or why your brand exists, the consumer will be left with selecting your product based on price and aesthetics alone, and then you might as well sell on Amazon.

Launch the Website and Wait

You need to work hard to create relevant traffic to come to your website. Just by creating a website and sticking on some sportswear doesn’t mean you will gain any traffic or sales.

The key here is to have a strong website that is found easily, loads fast and has been built to provide a great user experience.

This needs to be backed up with lots of rich content that your consumers would expect to see/read on your website, married with great social media to help drive traffic from several sources.

Poor Product Descriptions and Photography

Your website should be built as if you were opening your own activewear boutique store. The window of the store is your homepage, and you need to make sure this looks as appealing as you would when you dressed your shop and make sure the brand USP and values come across easily.

The products descriptions are the sales assistant of your website. You won’t be able to assist your consumer when they look at products online, so make sure the product descriptions are complete and accurate and take time to consider all the features and benefits.

Not everyone reads these descriptions, but many do and having all the information there will help consumers become convinced about the products and how it performs. It also helps with your website SEO too.

SEO

This stands for Search Engine Optimization, and this basically ranks your site on search engines like Google and appear in more searches. Have great SEO and your site will rank highly and make it visible, while poor SEO will make your site almost invisible.

Keywords need to be used on content within your website and make sure all pages, descriptions and titles are marked correctly so that your site appears in search results. Get this right and you can dial down the paid adverts as your site will rank for free.

Read about how we improved our website and SEO as a demonstration to our clients about the importance of building a strong web platform.

Poor Service

You wouldn’t ignore a customer that walked into your store or leave them for days waiting to pay for their goods at the till. The same should be taken as standard for your customer service for online orders. Consumers are now used to 24hour delivery from the likes of Amazon and therefore you need to make sure your orders are getting processed fast and delivered in a timely manner.

Keep your customers updated with the order process too so they know the order has been received, shipped and when they can expect their sportswear to arrive.

After Sales follow up.

You know how important you feel when a regular store you visit remembers you and even remembers your name or item you purchased from them last. It builds instant brand loyalty and chances are you will recommend this store to your nearest and dearest.

The same level of customer service should happen when you receive an online order. Following up with customers who have ordered from you is a cost-effective way to show you care and hopefully retain their custom in the future.

It’s 5 times more expensive for brands to find new customers than keep existing ones happy, so it’s important not to ignore them.

To sum up, the best way to look at your website store is to treat it just like your own sportswear boutique. The shop window needs to be on point and refreshed, the content within the store needs to be accurate and full of descriptions because of the lack of a sales assistant and you need to treat customers the same way as if they entered your boutique.

By following these simple steps, you should start to gain sales traction and loyal customers that have fallen in love with your brand.

We now help many of our clients create bespoke websites and online marketing to make sure these mistakes are avoided. If you are interested in discussing these services in more detail, then please get in touch for a free quotation.

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