Taking your garment decoration business online is now more important than ever before for your business. A large proportion of garment decorators are traditionalists in nature focusing purely on their love of print & embroidery, relying on word of mouth and repeat orders for success with little regard for their online success.

But now with the growth of online businesses, consumers have more options than ever before online and are not afraid to shop around. Customers are looking for alternatives, convenience and importantly the best prices! The million dollar question is where on earth do I begin?

There are a number of options out there to help take your business online, it is all about picking the right option for your business, your target customer base and lastly your budget - you don’t need to throw your hard earned cash at going online!  

You want your online business to be a reflection of you, your personality and become an extension of your in-store business. Starting out it sounds daunting but it is manageable if you simplify it.

Keeping it simple

Start off small, unless your tech savvy focus on the basics. Your garment decoration businesses site needs to look professional, smart, modern and not like something put together in a slap-dash manner. Give your customers a high quality user experience, a site that is easy to use, one that communicates your businesses key selling points and promotes your core products/services.

Importantly, your site should be something that you are comfortable using… you need to be able to understand, your site & what it offers. For example, you can offer online buying, but do you know how it works behind the scenes? E-Commerce is a whole different world in itself, so do your research, seek advice and familiarise yourself before dipping your toes into the online pool.

What options are available?

There are a host of options out there and different routes – but it all boils down to your budget & what you want from going online. If you merely want an online presence then a simple site should do the trick something visually pleasing, basic, and cost effective but limited functionality.

But if you are serious about the online game, there are businesses out there that offer online web solutions specific to the industry (ourselves included!) These solutions are geared towards garment decorators who know what they are after and willing to invest a little in online success.

To sell or not to sell?

There are a number of brochure sites (sites that don’t sell online) & e-commerce options available, just do your research, visit trade shows, have live demos and get to know the options before making the best informed choice for your business. 

Brochure sites are a low cost way of getting an entry level site for your business online, you can create these yourself using various software Shopify, WordPress etc. Creating these can be time-consuming but often a money saver, the downfall of these is they often look homemade and you get what you pay for. For a more professional alternative, there are businesses out there like ourselves offering both brochure & e-commerce sites for garment decorators. 

E-Commerce gives businesses the chance to sell online but if often a mine-field, there are a number of options out there for your business to consider, Sagepay, Paypal, Stripe and many more, picking the right package is important for your business, check out their offerings, transaction rates and make sure it all adds up.

It is all about picking a site that works for you & your business and that you are comfortable with. Simply do your research and understand what your options are.

One last thought

You are running a business, do you have time to manage a site? Or create one from scratch? There are options out there for your business, your site can be managed for you by the ‘experts’ so you just sit back, relax and take care of the orders!

Want help or don't know where to begin?

Find out how we help garment decorators with their websites. Our team can offer expert advise and arrange a consultation for your business.

We also run an online demo highlight how we can help, to book yours email info@etraderwebsites.co.uk or call 029 2074 1663

E-commerce is considered an online minefield for many small business owners, where do you begin when it comes to taking online payments.

It’s complicated, not quite as easy as installing a ‘plug-in’ or purchasing a piece of software – but with our simple tips we hope to make it as straight forward as possible to understand how to best understand use and implement e-commerce successfully online. 

We guide all our through the ecommerce journey making their application and integration as simple and straightforward as possible. Customers simply apply, we provide a test site and once this is approved by their provider they receive the details and the ability to accept payments online (Of course this is the simplified version!)

Here is our little guide and five top tips for making e-commerce successful for you and your business:

1. E-Commerce Takes Time

Having an e-commerce site takes time to develop. It is not just a case of developing your site, adding a plugin and watch the money come flowing in. An internet merchant account and payment processor are required, which can take anything from 2-4 weeks.

2. Pick Your Web Developer Very Carefully

Building an e-commerce shopping experience is required for your site to trade successfully online. Expertise is required when it comes to dealing with e-commerce, payment providers, creating an online shopping journey and most importantly making sure it is secure. The development team for eTrader are Sage accredited and work closely to ensure that we provide the easiest but most secure shopping experience.

3. Pick The Best Payment Processor For The Job

An issue that hugely affects many small businesses across the UK, many opt for the cheapest option not quite understanding what is on offer. But often end up having the hardest time when it comes to integrating on site, a hard time with their service and more often than not end up paying huge additional fees as they reach their transaction limit. We stick with the UK leaders Sagepay, who offer their customers high levels of support, service and advice in this grey area.

4. Play By The Rules

There is no shortcut - It is not as simple as signing up to take online payments and your business is good to go. Sites have to comply with UK E-commerce Law and be PCI compliant. Providers need to see that what your site offers is a full shopping experience, securing your checkout, undergoing a test transaction and meet all the requirements onsite regarding e-commerce law including things such as T&Cs, refund policies, cancellation policies, company registered address, company details, clear product and services description and much more. Only once all these have been checked out by a payment processor/bank will the process speed up. Only once secure on-site and secure for your customers will your online business get the green light to accept online transactions.

5. It's all about ROI...

The potential rewards for having an e-commerce website is vast but requires significantly mode capital, dealing with the bank and payment providers and much more. Look for the ROI for your business, measure will you make enough to justify the addition against the cost. 

Here at eTrader we take care of the development work and make it as easy as possible for our customers to have a full e-commerce website taking care of the shopping experience and meeting E-Commerce Law with our Sagepay accredited designers. Our team offers customers advice and guidance when it comes to setting up online payments making it as simple as possible.

For more information on e-commerce and online trading visit Sagepay's Guide To Online Payment.

If you are looking for an e-commerce website for your garment decoration business get in touch with our team on info@etraderwebsites.co.uk or call 029 2075 5733!

When it comes to going online, there are 1000s of tips out there for small businesses in our industry. We have decided to put together our favourite ten tips for online success. Here are our favourites:

1. Put Your Customers at the Heart of the Online Experience: The most important thing to consider, think why is your business going online? The answers simple – to retain current customers and gain new ones staying ahead of the competition. So put your businesses customers at the heart of your online operation, make ordering easier, give customers logins, private/public on-site shops.

2. Substance Over Style: The most common mistake online in our industry. Customers often come to us with visually amazing sites that don’t offer any functionality. Your businesses website needs to be most importantly user-friendly and secure. Create a website that offers the functionality your customer deserves and make the journey from landing on your homepage to transaction as straight-forward as possible.

3. Make the ‘Online Journey’ as Simple as Possible: Businesses often come to us with the same problem we lose our customer when it comes to ordering. When it comes to personalised clothing there are so many variables, ordering isn’t straight forward. The two main pitfalls – the design tool & checkout. Pick tools that suit your business, many clothing businesses go for the flashiest design tool which often drives the customer away. Keep ordering and checking out simple, customers aren’t afraid to go elsewhere if it’s too complicated – it’s important you get it right like we have for our customers!

4. Create an Online Branding Strategy: Displaying your brand online isn’t as easy as you would imagine, there are so many factors to consider – it isn’t a case of simply putting a few logos in the right places. Create an effective strategy to convey your brand and values online, develop your presence online and grow an ‘online persona’, a voice, personality and style befitting of your business.

5. Produce High Quality Content Online: Many call it time-consuming and call in specialists. But creating quality content isn’t difficult; nobody understands your business better than you. Make content interesting, readable and appropriate – give your customers a reason to scroll down!

6. Create a Continuous SEO Plan for Your Business: The biggest challenge an online business faces is the fight for ranking well organically. With many clothing businesses throwing £1000s at SEO, it’s a big deal online. But why pay someone who doesn’t understand fully what you do/or understand your customers? Simply creating quality content mixed in with some keyword research (Just stop and think what are my customers searching for to find me or what would I like to be found for) with a dash of interesting Social Media, the SEO results should follow.

7. Social Media is Your Businesses Best Friend: Creating and sharing content, news, updates and offers gives your online business another voice, don’t just be seen online – be heard! Whatever the platform, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Pinterest – Social Media presents the best way to grow your online presence and brand.

8. Blog Away: Sometimes 140 characters or a post isn’t enough to display what you want. Blogging in the personalised clothing industry is a big one – it allows you to extend your businesses personality. Writing interesting content about your business keeps customers coming back for more. Display the latest news, latest stock, your work with current customers and showcase your businesses expertise. Blogging allows customers to see what you are doing is real and quality work.

9. Don’t Be Afraid To Try New Things: The online world is full of the weird and wonderful trends. The garment industry is a traditional one but don’t be afraid to try new things – online experiments aren’t always a success. But there are customers in places you don’t even know exist yet, it’s your job to find them!

10.Continuously Develop Online, Don’t Stand Still: A huge NO-NO from us is becoming stagnant. Many online businesses get to a point where they are content, with a good site and just go through the motions but the key to success is continuous development. The online world isn’t standing still so why should you? Standing still limits online success, move your online business with the latest trends and developments make sure you are one step ahead of the nearest competition and keep taking your online business to the next level.

We understand the importance of going online for businesses in our sector. For more information don't hesitate to get in touch at info@etraderwebsites.co.uk to see how we can help your business today!
First things first, lets kick this blog of by wishing everyone a Happy New Year, lets make it a great one! In our first blog of 2018 we will take a look at this months feature in Images Magazine 

The January issue features our top ten tips for online success, we provide some pointers that we hope can make your website better than the year just gone.

To view this months article online simply visit www.images-magazine.com

For more information on this piece or to find out how we can help your garment decoration business don't hesitate to get in touch on info@etraderwebsites.co.uk or call 029 2074 1663
In a recent edition of Images Magazine we were asked to put together a piece on video content and how it can help your garment decoarion business.

Creating video content is an eye catching way to engage with potential and existing customers, check out our thoughts below...

To view more of our business development articles visit http://images-magazine.com/ and check out the range of topics we cover. 

For more information don't hesitate to get in touch on info@etraderwebsites.co.uk or call 029 2074 1663