Are you the proud owner of a budding retail online fashion business? There’s no doubt that owning and running this type of website can almost take over your life. Many people end up closing up shop because it becomes too much of a hassle – even before the business truly takes off.
Luckily, there are new tools to help you streamline your business and have it almost run itself. We’re going to look into a few of these products that have the potential to make your life easier while still allowing you to make plenty of money.
Keep reading to find out exactly what types of software you should implement in order to see better returns on your investment and not have to constantly worry about your day-to-day operations! Also, check out our sample retail clothing business plan (free download).
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Product Lifecycle Management
If you’re still new to online fashion retailing, you might not be familiar with using a fashion PLM. PLM is simply short for product lifecycle management, meaning it helps you follow a product’s life from beginning to end, sharing any ideas with the people who need to see them.
It allows you, as a business owner to be less ‘hands-on’ while still being fully informed about each stage of a product’s development. This type of software also allows for easier communication among team members from different stages of the lifecycle.
Additionally, certain PLM interfaces will allow you to integrate with other programs. This allows for a seamless transition from development to shipping and can even work with whatever accounting program you use which will ultimately give you a clear picture of your business.
Unless you happen to be a CPA or have an extensive background in accounting, you will eventually need some help with this process. Aside from the issue of taxes, you need to make sure that all your bills stay current and that there aren’t errors in your accounts receivable.
There are a few things you should know about accounting software:
- You should start using a program before you “need” it. This ensures that you don’t have to spend months of playing catch-up with data entry and guessing at previous months’ sales
- Most accounting software programs offer free trials. Use them to find what you like and what you don’t. If you hate the program you use, every accounting issue will feel like a nightmare
- Using an accounting program is great, but it isn’t going to replace the need for a CPA or tax preparer. The use of these programs is meant to keep you updated on what’s going on with your business and make your accountant’s life easier which will mean a smaller bill (not necessarily a smaller tax burden)
- You don’t have to spend a fortune on accounting programs. Many of them offer free basic bookkeeping and will allow you to upgrade your services as needed
While you definitely want to streamline as much as possible, you also want to be sure that nothing happens with your money. Unfortunately, employees can get greedy and inflate numbers or find loopholes in accounting systems. This is always one area of your business that you will want to have a strong grasp of to identify issues before they become major problems.
Aside from the threat of a shady employee or two, having a strong accounting method allows you to see fluctuations in pricing and can help you see how well your digital marketing strategies are working.
Outsource Customer Service
No one likes dealing with poor customer service. Think of how many businesses you’ve sworn off because of a bad experience with their support staff. Unfortunately, hiring a great service staff can end up becoming expensive and a human resources nightmare.
Instead of thinking on a small scale, you should think bigger but opt to pay smaller. This can be done by outsourcing your customer service. You may choose to only have online chats/emails available or you might have calls routed to a call center.
Whatever the case is, research your options before making the decision. It’s a big one to make but ultimately will allow you to take some baby steps away from your business and let you do more of the stuff you love (like hanging out with friends, taking trips, or even catching up on rest).
Remember, this option may also allow you to have shorter response times which will make any customer happier!
Automate Digital Marketing
If you happen to love controlling what appears on social media and what types of content you post but aren’t always available when it needs to be posted… there’s an app for that.
It’s the truth, there are apps that will allow you to create blogs and social media posts weeks or months in advance and schedule them for when your customers are most likely to see them. Another option would be to hire someone to run these portions of your business, either giving them a full creative license to post on your behalf or requiring your approval before posts.
You also may choose to use an automated email marketing service to implore customers to return to your site, announce sales, or just touch base which often leads to repeat business.
Ultimately, you want your customers to be engaged and have somewhat of an emotional connection with your company. This ensures your customer base continues to grow, allowing money to continue to flow.
Whether your online retail business is meant to be an active full-time job or just a side hustle, the goal is to make money. When you choose to implement one or all of these programs, you will be able to take a step back, relax, and enjoy life.
Just imagine how it would feel if you could run your business remotely, from any beach in the world while sipping a Mai Tai. That is exactly what it feels like to be retired early, which is entirely possible after streamlining your business!
Now, go do some research, find some programs you love, and sit back to watch the magic happen.