Creating a great website with fashion is more than just beautiful images and elegant photos in Jpeg. Believe me… Believe me! In the last 10 years I’ve designed over 8 of them. From the 1st clothing site I developed myself with Microsoft FrontPage to the new one running on ColdFusion and produced by professionals, I hope I might tell you something or two about the topic. This post is about the “scientific” side of this. see this
Creating a fashion web site has 2 strategies. One is to use a supplier of complete solutions like Volusion, which is the best provider I’ve seen so far. They provide complete, easy-to-use e-commerce packages, which can get you up and running in literally minutes. If you’re selling discount fashion products this is a perfect way to get started. Brand photos, brand definition and pricing are all you need to plan. They even handle payment processing through their service. You will set up your own merchant account that corresponds to your bank account. The setup charge is low. Other than that, all you pay for the service is a monthly fee. The merchant account will of course incur separate charges (a monthly statement fee), and the credit card processor will charge you based on the number of transactions ($0.35 to $0.50 per transaction) and the amount charged (~2% to 4%). When you market to consumers who buy no more than a few things at a time, this is a great way to go.
The second approach is to build the website from the ground up. Of course this strategy allows you much more flexibility in terms of designs and features. But it’s more costly, and time consuming. If you want to create a wholesale clothing platform where costs are measured depending on quantity and commodity variations, you might want more flexibility in terms of layout and design. You can have someone build the platform, or you can do it on your own. I have both finished. So let me explain: You need a decent template editor to create an Apparel Web Site by Yourself. FrontPage is the cheapest choice, as the computer you buy probably came with. Otherwise you could get it for ~$150. I always recommend you get a book about how to use Amazon’s FrontPage or your nearest bookstore. I bought 1 of those “Dummies” books when I built my first FrontPage website and followed the steps inside. It wasn’t really that difficult, especially if you want to call the customers to place their orders instead of placing their orders online. After building my third website, I upgraded to Dreamweaver. FrontPage is superior in terms of usability, functionality and reliability. It costs~$250 more. I currently have a Dreamweaver-built website for sale, though I hired someone to do it.
When you want to integrate e-commerce features, the hard part about building a website yourself comes in. Your web hosting company usually has some kind of e-commerce package where they’re selling e-commerce packages like Miva Merchant, which could be built into your website. But you have to spend some time studying and figuring out how that works. You need to know some basic programming on html as well. It could quickly get complicated.
If you want to introduce functionality such as cumulative volume price breaks for different items, minimum requirements and other advanced features on your platform, hiring the right expert to do the job is the way to go. Two years ago, by recruiting 2 college students and using the off – the-shelf e-commerce tools, I built a website for my company. Has been a tragedy! This cost me over $15,000 at the end of the day (from all the setbacks, manual labour to fix problems, company loss) and the site had to be redone. What is important to remember here is that you need to find the right people to do your job. If you need fancy work on the database, make sure that your web guy has PROVEN record of doing similar jobs. Remember that cheap is not equivalent to good. I thought hiring college students $10 an hour would be cheaper. But it actually cost me a lot more than just hiring the right guy.