The reason we are all in business is to make money. That’s the truth. Of course, having a vision and purpose helps you through the hard times, but having money come into your account every week is what keeps the doors open.
The challenge is, especially for product-based businesses, how to do this without burning out or busting the bank.
Krys Charalambous is the owner of a Brisbane-based online boutique, Modella Clothing. She started the eCommerce fashion store in 2014 to sell her sister’s clothing range. While juggling a full-time corporate career, Krys was keen to make her mark in the fashion space as a side gig. Her website went up super fast… and she spent the next six years struggling to turn it into a viable venture.
It chugged along, but when COVID hit, Krys had a moment to breathe, look at what she was doing and why she wasn’t making the money she thought she would be.
“I thought because I had 20 years experience in marketing, it would flow. But working in the corporate world is very different to running an eCommerce store,” she said. “I don’t know whether it’s just because I am extremely stubborn, but I knew I didn’t want to give up. I took the opportunity to dig deep into why I wasn’t increasing my sales and spent 12 months learning all I could about eCommerce and applying this knowledge to my site.”
What Krys found was she didn’t start how she wanted to finish. Because her website had gone up so quickly, she didn’t nail the website fundamentals. “I hadn’t paid any attention to SEO,” she explained. “Doing an online course with SEO guru, Kate Toon, I quickly learned keyword research is an important aspect of making sure my site can be easily found by prospective customers. I set it up properly the second time around.”
The motto “bigger is best” is not necessarily a good thing in the retail world. With a site jam-packed with all sorts of clothing items, Krys realised there were too many options for too many different types of customers. “I took the time to understand and know my target audience, what types of clothes they’re looking for, the styles, colours and relaxed-fit designs.
“I stripped my range back by half. Having less took the confusion away for my customers, and I made sure the only products on the site actually appealed to them. This strategy increased my conversion rate and sales, while decreasing the site’s bounce,” Krys said.
The final thing Krys did, which saw her sales increase by 300 per cent, was to open up the search categories on her site, making it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for. “My customers can now search by so many fields to find exactly what they want. They can drill down by size, colour, fabric, occasion and brand, making it easy to find exactly what you’re after. It’s all about making it simple for my customers to find what they want without having to scroll forever,” Krys said.
The proof is in the pudding, Modella grew by nearly 300 per cent over the last year with these three tweaks.
“I grew with zero ads and by understanding my website insights and learning how to do SEO better. It’s still a work-in-progress but now 84 per cent of my traffic is organic. My aim is to continue optimising everything based on best-practice SEO guidelines,” Krys explained. “Because SEO is a long-term strategy, it pays to be stubborn and patient at the same time.”