Kate Vandermeer, InternetRetailing.com.au's guest blogger on Women in Internet Retailing
Kate comes from the Fashion Industry having worked with Mimco, French Connection, Decjuba and having established and brand managed “stylehunter.com” an online fashion magazine.
Women are charging ahead in the online space and carving their own unique path. It’s an industry that lends itself well to women’s natural, inherent abilities of viral communication, recommendation and thinking creatively.
Retailing in the online space is no longer an “opportunity”: it’s a necessity. With “browsing before you buy” becoming a key pre-purchase activity navigated online, as customers women are using the net to research, compare and ultimately purchase online like never before.
This has led to many savvy entrepreneurial business women thinking ahead of the curve and anticipating the next niche growth areas online with successful and exciting results thus far.
Australian Women are capitalising on “Online’s” relatively low start up costs and giving that idea they’ve been “mulling over” a go. There’s also the added benefit of being able to work from home when starting out. A benefit for many reasons; keeping overheads low, juggling work /life balance & being a working mum.
As its been documented for some time now, periods of economic recession seem to bring the “inner entrepreneurial” streak out in many people and redundancies can often be the catalyst for kick-starting these ideas. There is also the sense that the motivated “switched on” women amongst us are realising that there are easier, more effective and more exciting ways to drive business online and an abundance of niche opportunities out there. The growth area’s I am observing are:
a. Selling a product online that saves time and effort to purchase in the “offline world” with real time advice & expert tips –eg. Adore Beauty, Beauty Heaven and Rescu Beauty Bar
b. Selling a diverse array of fashion in an easy to navigate experience with trend information eg. Frockshop My Catwalk & Miss Money Penny
c. Renting out designer/luxury product for short term loans – eg.Love me and Leave Me and Style 4 Hire & Dressed Up
d. Unique Gift Ideas – eg. Edible Blooms , Kikki.K and Top3 by Design
Being a woman in the online world myself and belonging to Online Divas (an online networking group specifically aimed at supporting women) I have found a series of common questions pertaining to being a woman in this industry:
1. Start Up Phase – How do I navigate the minefield of selecting a web designer/developer without being ripped off and ensuring the experience is as smooth to execute as possible?
2. Building & Maintaining Traffic – Attracting traffic is more than establishing SEO and throwing some money into SEM. How to convert the traffic to sales?
3. Managing Business Growth – A common problem in the offline world as well however in the online world, it generally requires some technical advice /support about automating systems and streamlining processes.
4. Incorporating Social Networking effectively – Although women are natural communicators with Facebook, Twitter etc, managing these tools for business use requires different strategies.
In this section of the site, I’ll be profiling women in the online retail space. I’ll be asking them about what they have learnt, what they wish they’d learnt earlier and tips they would like to pass onto other women.
The first tip from Kate Morris, Founder of Adore Beauty:
Q How has being a woman positively influenced your online business success?
A Success in any business depends on being able to understand your customers – what they like, need and want. I know from my own experience as an online consumer that women want great service and support, access to information, professional and unbiased advice, convenience, community, and freedom of choice. I continually strive to incorporate all of these elements into Adorebeauty.com.au and I think that’s why customers have responded.
Kate comes from the Fashion Industry having worked with Mimco, French Connection, Decjuba and having established and brand managed “stylehunter.com” an online fashion magazine.Kate has recently begun her own business called “iSpyStyle” which aims to inspire, inform and connect the design industry. The website (launching shortly) will offer trend information, brand reviews and profiles alongside a great directory of links for anything you might need to connect to the design industry. Kate consults to fashion brands about marketing, branding and online strategies as well as lecturing in Business and Trend Forecasting.