It seems ludicrous that with so many malls and fashion stores in South Africa, people are often still not able to find what they are looking for. In those cases, they turn to online shopping, even if it means buying from an overseas store and paying import and delivery costs. That’s why online overseas mega stores like Shein, shine (couldn’t resist…), and are starting to dominate fashion choices even in South Africa.
Accessories in particular are a great way to dip your toes into the world of online retail because the products are an affordable way for people to upgrade their looks. If you can find accessories that people are looking for and are not readily available elsewhere, you’ll be on to a winner.
The Key to Generating Sales With Online Accessories
The key to making an online accessories store work in South Africa is knowing who exactly your target audience is, and what products they are searching for. The products you sell will be the make-or-break element of your store.
That said, let’s get into the steps to starting an online accessories store in South Africa:
Step #1: Target audience research
It’s crucial to understand your target audience as much as you understand your closest friend.
Why? If you know the people you wish to serve from such an intimate angle, you will know what products they are looking for, and you will be able to create marketing initiatives that speak their “language”. The better you know them, the more targeted your marketing and the more powerful the attraction to your goods, and that means more sales.
It’s a lot easier if you’ve already identified your target audience, and if you understand their pain points, but if this is something you don’t yet know, how can you find out?
Here are some tips:
- Research competitor audiences. With competitor analysis tools such as SEMRush and Sprout Social for social media competitor reports, you can do this.
- Conduct topic or demographic data searches at Pew Research Centre.
- Think with Google provides consumer insights and trends.
- Build a buyer persona with the UXPressia tool, or hire a Fiverr freelancer to do it for you.
- Conduct an online survey by advertising on social media and using a survey tool such as SurveyMonkey.
Step #2: Product research
You’ll need to decide from where you will source your products; your options are:
- You plan to make the products yourself
If you’re still in the thinking phase, how do you decide which products you wish to sell? Well, the first filter is what your target audience is searching for. Other than that, try these hacks:
- Check AliExpress best sellers by going to the category of your choice, then searching for a specific product. Filter the results by clicking “orders” and also check “4-star & Up” field. Then you will need to research whether there is a South African supplier for the accessory. You can also check out Amazon best selling products and reviews.
AliExpress shows how many products were bought, as well as the customer rating,
- Try Google’s keyword planner tool to determine the search volume for a product or search phrase.
- Google Trends is another tool you can use for the search volume of keywords
- Check social media demand and conversations; search for your product or your prospective customer’s pain points to see what people are saying.
Social media is a great way to research products.
We’ve covered the key elements of getting started, but what else do you need to start an online accessories store that will generate profit?
We’ll now discuss these steps:
- Setting up your online shop.
- Driving traffic to your website.
Step #3: Setting up your online accessories store
There are three options for creating an e-commerce website:
- Hire a web developer.
- Use an e-commerce platform.
- Build it using WordPress and plugins.
How to decide which option is right for you? Let’s discuss:
Option #1: Hire a web developer
Hiring a web developer is expensive upfront if you want a site that performs well. There are all sorts of elements required that impact sales. For example, the site must load quickly and adapt to mobile. The difficulty is finding a developer you can trust.
Option #2: Use an e-commerce platform
For startups, an e-commerce platform is the easiest and fastest DIY method to set up shop, and Shopstar is a platform that offers everything needed for a South African online accessories store to thrive.
Shopstar makes it simple to start an e-commerce business. This is a screenshot of the dashboard.
For example, the payment gateway options are ready to use at the click of a button, and you can even use the dropshipping option which allows you to choose products from dropshipping suppliers that are already loaded into the dashboard, and with a click, the products will feature on your website. Simple and easy is the order of the day. Check out what Shopstar offers.
Option #3: Set up with WordPress
With WordPress comes a steep learning curve; it will take time to set up, because you will need to learn as you go. You can also opt to hire a WordPress web developer to set up the initial website and then hand over the reins once it’s done, but you will still need to learn how to maintain the site, which can be complex.
Step #4: Driving traffic to your website
You’ve gone through all the steps, and your website is ready for sales. What now?
First up, your target audience has to know about you before they will come to your website, so you’ll need to find ways to make your online accessories store visible to the right people. Social media posts are good at this, provided your content appeals to your target audience.
Use a combination of paid advertising and educational posts on the right channels. Paid ads will get your store in front of eyeballs fast, while social media posts will slowly build an audience.
Also consider a long-term SEO strategy so you can attract your ideal buyer to your site via search engines.
If you build your website using Shopstar, you can make use of their Boost Services, which include paying an affordable fee for expert help.
Benefits of Shopstar & How it Helps Entrepreneurs
Shopstar is the fastest, easiest and most affordable option for building a website to sell accessories.
It does not require you to be proficient at building websites, and is created for small business owners that wish to sell products to consumers.
The end is a beautifully designed website that is maintained by Shopstar and as such, you have a host of experts backing up your business instead of you trying to fiddle with code and plugins you don’t understand.
Shopstar provides everything you’ll need to build and grow your own e-commerce website, including landing pages, blog posts for search engine optimisation, and insightful reports so you can keep making improvements.
With Shopstar, you are never on your own. Your website looks and acts professionally, all with the intention of building your credibility as a business owner. Start a free 14-day trial, no credit card is needed.