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Getting your website and branding right is one of the most crucial ways to stand out and be successful in the eCommerce space today. Carly shares so much in this episode, content, branding, personal branding, and all the features your site has to give you the best chance at success.

In today’s episode you’ll learn:

  • How to work backwards from your content to create a solid brand strategy
  • The importance of brand consistency
  • The importance of building a personal brand
  • Crafting the perfect product page and what that looks like
  • And so much more


[00:00:00] Carly Stirling: The visual identity for brands, I feel that needs to be on trend. And moving into forward trends. So that includes your fonts, your colors and the way that you photograph.

[00:00:11] Right now it’s pretty important. People wanna have sustainable brands, for instance. So sustainability is great. We wanna have a sustainable brand. We’re not gonna mark down like Kmart does, and like sports girl do. We’re not gonna mark down. We think that the dresses that we do last for three or five years, and that’s great, but the way that you photograph it and the graphics and the fonts that you use still need to be relevant Now, knowing that they will need to evolve over time But at the same time, we also wanna have some longevity out of that design.

[00:00:40] Hi, and welcome to the Bright Minds of eCommerce podcast. I’m Dahna founder of bright red marketing and after helping so many businesses in the e-commerce space over the years I wanted to bring you the best advice from Australia and experts in e-commerce and e-commerce store owners If you want to relatable stories and actionable advice and the latest Facebook advertising strategies you’re in the right place One help with your Facebook and Instagram ads Remember you can always book in a free strategy session at forward slash free dash strategy dash session will run through your ads. See what’s working and what’s not. And no sales pitch. I promise. So let’s get into today’s episode.

[00:01:18] Dahna Borg: On today’s episode, we’re joined by Carly from Studio Carly.

[00:01:21] Carly Stirling: Hi, Dahna.

[00:01:22] Dahna Borg: Hey, it’s so good to have you. So tell us a little bit about your background and experience with Studio Carly.

[00:01:27] Carly Stirling: Thanks for having me. So my background comes from a long line of fashion design. So I started working in fashion when I was 15 in the pattern room. So for those who are maybe fashion designers or starting fashion brands, they’ll know what I mean by that. And, , I was really lucky after going to fashion school for the first couple years I was 17.

[00:01:44] When I started uni, I ended up landing a job at Rio Underwear, so I started designing for Rio whole proof bonds ants pants back then. So really commercial, high quantity, fast fashion product, so that time was, oh, I think about 18 years or more now. Ago things were doing really well for those sort of brands, and my experience from there has taken me down a road of continuing to work with other fashion brands, smaller brands.

[00:02:12] In the last five years I was working at Kiki k before they went into voluntary administration in product management. And then I started working for myself over in the e-com and digital space. My long line of fashion design has naturally evolved into working in digital and e-commerce and I guess because this space is still quite new and new to God.

[00:02:35] I think they say 10 years. It’s been 10 years since people have really been in e-commerce. I’ve been able to take a lot of my previous brand building experience and product development experience and working with China and wholesalers and, down to inner bags and what that looks like at a warehouse.

[00:02:51] I’ve been able to use all of that into helping brands now, especially fashion brands, be able to start up on their own make sure that they have a really beautiful digital presence because that’s really mainly the first place that you start. And then how that looks like in terms of, launching your Shopify store and making it scale.

[00:03:07] So there’s a lot involved. And it’s been amazing. Obviously you would probably feel this as well, Dahna, but the demand has been very high as you can imagine. A lot of people going out on their own. A lot of people starting businesses in small brands. And then of course, even for the bigger brands just making sure that they also keep up to date with their graphic design trends and e-commerce trends and just making sure all of that’s moving fast where it needs to, and the investments are put into the right place.

[00:03:35] yeah, it’s pretty much what I do.

[00:03:37] Dahna Borg: I love what you do. I had the pleasure of working with Carly on one of our clients and it was a very cool experience. She’s very talented. Obviously one of the things that you specialize in is that branding aspect. Why is that branding aspect so important and getting it right to a good e-commerce store?

[00:03:54] Carly Stirling: So if anyone was keeping up with the latest podcast and trend reports and future consumer Reports, at the moment what we’re seeing is now it’s even more important for people to establish good brands. So going forward just say we’re entering this recession and people are being really careful where they spend their money.

[00:04:13] What the reports are telling us that people will spend with brands and brand loyalty is gonna be really important in the next few years, especially here in Australia. So the branding element, I guess it’s all about recognition, right? So when you have a good brand and someone wants to follow you and be a part of that brand, they’re not necessarily buying a product from you, but they wanna buy your brand experience and what your brand stands for, and the lifestyle that brand allows you to have. So even if. Say you are, you’re selling dresses, so it’s just a brand. You’re just like, oh yeah, I’m just selling dresses. And it’s what can this dress do for you? Can this dress let you go to the beach? But it doesn’t get sand on you when it’s nice and flowy and lightweight. So the lifestyle aspect there is being on the beach and you can have this much more.

[00:04:56] A nice beach experience or is this dress about going out or going to the races and it allows you to go to the races easily. It’s not gonna get dirty because you know what happens at the races it goes with high heels. You can wear it dressing or casual, like lots of different lifestyle aspects that come into branding.

[00:05:13] So to me, branding is important. Number one, yes, you need good graphic design, nice logo, et cetera, et cetera, but it’s really about the brand story. Tallying and the brand messaging and the lifestyle that brand creates is really number one. And once you get that right, things tend to get a little bit more easier in terms of how you photograph it and the content creation around your social media.

[00:05:38] And yeah, therefore, everything starts to be, I think, a little bit more easy for brands.

[00:05:45] Dahna Borg: No, I totally agree. I think something that we find a lot with clients especially is. They come to us and oh, we sell this dress. And that sort of, as far as it’s gotten, there’s no story, there’s no emotion, there’s no

[00:05:59] there’s nothing different. And I think that’s the thing that people have to remember.

[00:06:04] As you said, I. I think when we were chatting before, like e-commerce has been around for about 10 years. There’s a lot of competition these days. There’s lots of people

[00:06:10] Carly Stirling: yeah. It’s a lot. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:06:13] Dahna Borg: not particularly, but why is your dress different? Why should I buy from you? And I think that branding piece is so important.

[00:06:19] Carly Stirling: Yeah. Especially for small brands that are starting up. You can go into camera and buy a dress. You can go to she or Sheen or however you wanna

[00:06:27] Dahna Borg: don’t think anyone

[00:06:28] Carly Stirling: and just buy a dress. I know. But even saying that, it’s okay, let’s look at those two fast fashioned brands, for example, who most of your audience is not gonna wanna be there, but.

[00:06:38] Kmart, you have this branding aspect of family and she or Sheen is much more I guess it’s youth fast fashion under thirties, where at TikTok are throwed in the bin kind of feeling. So even though these are what do you call it, fast paced, the branding element is still there and it’s still really strong.

[00:06:59] And therefore when you drill down into the smaller. So say both of those brands you can buy dress from, but when you drill down into a smaller business where you’re a luxury bohemian style brand that sells dresses. Yeah. It’s gonna be a little bit deeper than that. It’s gonna be, okay, how does this make me feel at the beach?

[00:07:15] Or how does it make me feel at a barbecue and et cetera, et cetera, into the lifestyle a little bit deeper.

[00:07:20] Dahna Borg: Yeah. If anyone’s listening and they are one of these people that are like, ah, crap, I just sell a dress and I haven’t really thought that process through. And then not really having that strong branding. What would you recommend for someone at that point? They’re, they’ve got a site, it’s live.

[00:07:35] They’ve got a brand in terms of they’ve got a logo and they’ve

[00:07:38] Carly Stirling: Logo go. Yeah.

[00:07:39] Dahna Borg: they’ve got some fonts and that’s what they would hold a brand is. But if they need that sort of next piece of the brand,

[00:07:44] Carly Stirling: I think the easiest way to do that, that I found, which I’m not sure if other brand designers do it, but I start to look at content and content creation. We know our social media pillars, education, community entertainment, or what are the other two? Promotional,

[00:08:04] and there’s one more anyway.

[00:08:06] Normally four, four, or five. I usually lay those out first and then I go, okay what can we post around these pillars? So then if you are educational is important across any brand, regardless if you’re using graphic tiles or you’re just on, on stories or whatever, wherever you are. So it’s okay, if a fashion brand doing dresses, what can we tell our customers that educates them?

[00:08:28] Okay, therefore we need to talk about fabric. We need to talk about how it was made. We wanna talk about why it’s made like that, how it’s engineered. I love the word engineering, ground product development. Product design. . So therefore if say you, you’re stuck in this education pillar, all of these things, it’s like you start to find the ways to communicate different things about your product, and then you can build on a lifestyle, I know it’s a little bit complicated to explain over video, but I think that’s the way I’ve managed to do it. So then you do, obviously every brand will wanna lay out their values, their mission and purpose their promise. I think that’s really important, but it doesn’t mean anything until you can actually translate that into content.

[00:09:11] Cause content’s the most important thing. Yeah, we need to sell, but without any content creation, like we’re just selling blanks, like there’s nothing happening. At this point you probably should have a bit of, a mission or a purpose around your dress brand. I’ve seen a lot of missions that are like, we sell beautiful dresses for women, and it’s just okay, let’s go a little bit deeper.

[00:09:31] So it would be Our mission is that women can enjoy the beach lifestyle without feeling hot and sweaty. Not in those words, but so it’s always talking about, yeah. It’s always talking about how does the product make you feel and yeah, often I’ve found the answers there are usually laying up that content creation piece early on and then building on it.

[00:09:52] Because then once you do start rolling out the brand, you always have more ideas around education and most likely you’ll be introducing some sort of purpose at some point where you are giving back or donating to another company. And then you just start to build from there.

[00:10:06] Dahna Borg: Yeah, I like that. Cause it’s not some. Always sit down and write out a 20 page business plan. It’s,

[00:10:12] you You’ve gotta create your content anyway. Just make sure that you put that piece into that and really focus on that while you’re creating that content, not just creating content for the sake of it.

[00:10:21] Carly Stirling: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And I think where most people go wrong from the start is that they launch and they just post photos of their product over and over again. And then we know, you obviously know as well, but yeah it’s, you have to go deeper than that and it is quite challenging.

[00:10:37] And I think there’s also an opposite effect where it can actually get even more complicated. So I’ve had a lot of clients come through where they would have their content, Done with the social media person. So they get that early on. So they might get their logo, their colors, their fonts, and then they’ll go work with the social media person and start rolling out the content and say a 30 day content plan.

[00:10:57] But then they come back to me and they go, but don’t actually know what to post. So it’s like thinking about, okay, you have all these ideas. Today we are going to talk about oh, what shoes match the dresses that we wear at the beach? And then, but then they go, how do I post that? And I go maybe when you do your photo shoot, making sure that you pair your Bohemian dress back with another local Australian brand that’s doing awesome sandals.

[00:11:23] So you start to piece together the rest of the brand and what it stands for. Because at the end of the day, we’ve, I’ve seen, a lot of photo shoots that are just like, oh, all our product. But it’s you can actually get so much more from that so you can, tag onto the accessories, tag onto the location.

[00:11:38] If you are shooting, say we wanna bring that Bohemian dress into a cafe, molding that local cafe back, and then you’ve got a sense of community there with your content creation as well. There’s so much you can do when you start writing them down into those content pillars. And I almost feel like that’s one of my favorite things to do.

[00:11:53] Cause once you have that I prefer to do that as well before designing. Cause once you have that , it does get easier for the clients to, keep talking about their brand.

[00:12:01] Dahna Borg: Yeah, I think that’s really interesting cuz I think a lot of people do that last. And the way you’ve talked about it makes it really interesting. Cause if you actually do it first, obviously you won’t have the content yet cuz you still have to do the photo shoot and those sorts of things.

[00:12:12] But you don’t end up going, oh, we have nothing to post, or, oh, we’ve had this really good idea, we wanna do this, but we haven’t got the content for it. So I think it’s a really good place for people to start when they’re feeling really stuck. Cause it can be really overwhelming to go actually. Plan your content first in terms of what you wanna post, go through your pillars and then go do your photo shoots, then create your content, then go do all these things cuz then you come from a consistent place and that consistency is so important.

[00:12:39] Carly Stirling: The consistency Yeah. Obviously is number one important. I always preach that a lot because what can also happen is even though you get your branding done and you have this beautiful direction, photo shoot’s gonna have all of this extra photography that we can use in for content and et cetera, et cetera often that it can get messy really quick, the branding can drop off.

[00:13:02] Almost instantly I’ve seen in cases, which absolutely breaks my heart because as a designer, when you’re designing and putting this whole Story together. You’re not just doing logo in a couple colors. You’re building this whole story for them. And then the client might start outsourcing the graphic design.

[00:13:19] It might go offshore, it might go to a junior. Cause let’s be honest, I don’t have any money at this point. And the tiles all of a sudden end up with spelling mistakes. The wrong font, the line space, and the letter space is incorrect. You just gotta be really careful at that point, because I know we talked about this a little bit early on, but when just because you have your branding pack done, it doesn’t actually stop there.

[00:13:43] It doesn’t stop.

[00:13:44] Dahna Borg: it’s the start of the work.

[00:13:46] Carly Stirling: It’s the start. So when you are budgeting for your branding, so say you’re gonna put anywhere between, I dunno, could be $500 up to five or $10,000 into this, it doesn’t stop there. Making sure you always have a little bit of money to invest back into that brand designer and ensuring that you’re working with a brand designer that you like and suits the aesthetic that you wanna go for, because, So many times I’ve seen, I’ve just seen it go wrong and I don’t think and no brand designer like myself is gonna be offended if you go with somebody else based on their aesthetic because they also wanna design a particular way as well.

[00:14:20] So yeah just thinking about that when you start working with people, make sure you like them and keep a really good relationship with them because you are gonna need to keep investing in the branding

[00:14:29] Dahna Borg: Very good advice. I know another big focus of your work is around that sort of research component prior to that branding. Why is that so important and what do you mean by that research? What gets done?

[00:14:41] Carly Stirling: When I start looking at a brand it really depends if we are going straight into visual direction or if we’re starting with brand strategy. There’s a lot of work that gets done. So the visual identity for brands, I feel that needs to be on trend. And moving into forward trends. So that includes your fonts, your colors and the way that you photograph.

[00:15:02] Right now it it’s pretty important. People wanna have sustainable brands, for instance. So sustainability is great. We wanna have a sustainable brand. We’re not gonna mark down like Kmart does, and like sports girl do. We’re not gonna mark down. We think that the dresses that we do last for three or five years, and that’s great, but the way that you photograph it and the graphics and the fonts that you use still need to be relevant Now, knowing that they will need to evolve over time But at the same time, we also wanna have some longevity out of that design.

[00:15:30] So in terms of a logo might be more simple cuz we wanna get 10 years out of that logo. But our Instagram tiles, we might only be looking at eight or nine months. If they’re on trend right now, they’re gonna change. They always change. God, the transient social media changes so quickly. So the research that gets done around that is obviously looking at. So I like to use fashion training, forecasting websites to get a lot of my inspiration in terms of color and what’s, what color’s gonna be on trend for 2024 to 2025 plus. Knowing that we’re in a bit of a sustainable, neutral space right now. We know that a lot of those colors and neutrals are gonna be on trend for a long time.

[00:16:07] You think King Kardashian, it’s not gonna go away, that particular component. But if we wanna bold. Bright brand that’s really edgy. Obviously gradients have been here moving into, bold, large fonts. So those sort of trends move really quickly. So if we are gonna go down that path think Princess Poly, that has a lot of gradient and loud fonts, if we are gonna go down that path of making sure that we can see that forecasting for another, oh, at least.

[00:16:35] I would hope maybe two or three years. I already think they’re starting to drop off a little bit. So yeah, fashion forecasting websites, obviously there’s a lot of research that goes into competitor analysis, but I also think that when I talk to people about, When they start their business and I say, oh, who would you competitors be?

[00:16:55] I actually don’t really care so much because we don’t wanna be let them anyway. Don’t I Like, I don’t look at them in too much detail. Usually their competitors would be average. That’s why they’re starting this business. If you can find someone that you wanna copy or rip off Exactly. You’re not unique enough.

[00:17:10] So you have to look at. Aspirational brands that you love, but that you’d also spend money with. So we can sit here and say, oh, we wanna be a luxury brand, we wanna be like Chanel. And it’s do you buy from Chanel ? Most likely not. Some people do, yes, that’s nice for them, but most likely not.

[00:17:28] So starting to look at at aspirational brands that are doing awesome right now, they’re on trend, they’re a little bit forward and then picking up on their aesthetics. But it has to be a mix because, if someone comes to me and says, I wanna be exactly like these guys, it’s just they’re already doing it.

[00:17:42] You need to look outside

[00:17:43] of the

[00:17:43] square. , And plus by the time you roll yours out, it’s gonna be a little bit old. But saying that, yeah, saying that we trained in research, I’ve also found, which is a little bit more of a challenge here in Australia. If I show clients things that are just like fashion, the UK and the US are a lot more ahead of us in the way that they dress and , they’re trends in their clothing and whatnot.

[00:18:07] If I show clients graphics that are relevant coming up that aren’t necessarily oh, I guess like mainstream right now. They get scared of that here in Australia. Not many of my clients or people that I talk to are ready to take the risks Which I think is okay. People still wanna be commercial.

[00:18:23] A lot of people say, oh, I just want something like plain and simple and easy, and that’s okay as well. Just as long as we just keep it strong. It doesn’t always have to be like loud and bold and crazy and add a million gradients, but long as the branding stays strong and consistent Yeah. And all of that comes down to research.

[00:18:38] So yeah, fashion forecasting, websites, if you are a fashion designer, obviously your Pinterest social media, social media’s a good one, I think. And TikTok, it’s good for consumer behavior. So it’s what are people wearing? What are they buying? What are they doing in their TikTok that’s like relevant right now.

[00:18:54] There’s so much to learn.

[00:18:56] Dahna Borg: Yeah there’s so much I know that we like to use competitor research just to make sure our ads don’t look the same as everyone else

[00:19:02] Carly Stirling: Oh yeah, of course.

[00:19:04] Dahna Borg: A big thing. Like obviously you’re in a feed. Even with the stuff that you do, like you’re competing for real estate on these platforms. If you look exactly the same as everyone else, you look exactly the same as everyone else.

[00:19:16] It’s like on Black Friday, we tell everyone, don’t do a black tile for your ad

[00:19:21] Carly Stirling: everyone’s

[00:19:21] Dahna Borg: everyone’s doing a black tile for their ad and it’s just Black Friday sale. It’s just your feed is full of black cars with Black Friday on them. So I think that sort of research is really important as well.

[00:19:31] Carly Stirling: yeah, for sure. On the graphic design component. Cause if you’re talking about ads, you’re talking purely graphic. Designed ads at this point. Again, that comes back to trend, right? You might get your planning pack done. You might get three or four graphic tiles. I usually do up to 15 with my packs, especially a other brand designers do just three or four.

[00:19:50] But you gotta be prepared that you’re gonna need to invest in those going forward. And they do need to stay consistent in font application can change and evolve, but. Yeah, they need to be strong, consistent, not do too many graphic tiles. From my experience in fashion brands particularly or product-based businesses, that the graphic tiles on their feed can perform the least or have the least engagement.

[00:20:14] So it’s a really hard balance when you want to communicate your purpose or your sustainability, me messages or the engineering of your product through graphic tiles and writing. But no one’s reading him and no one cares. And then you need this beautiful aesthetic of all your beautiful photos.

[00:20:31] So yeah, hard balance,

[00:20:33] Dahna Borg: It’s hard and especially cuz the trend we are seeing at the moment is that it’s ads that don’t look like ads and all of a sudden you can’t do fonts and graphic tiles cuz it looks like an ad.

[00:20:43] Carly Stirling: It looks like an ad. So then it’s what makes them wanna click? I think it’s some of this I dunno, oh, I think what? What do I personally engage with? It’s just this like people talking TikTok style being like, Hey, how cool’s this?

[00:20:58] There’s all these other little bits of content that can be content or an ad without being an ad. Yeah. You have to get clever.

[00:21:04] Dahna Borg: Yeah, it’s the day in the life ofs and the

[00:21:08] doing your makeup and the, this is me cleaning my house and this is me just sitting at my desk working. This is me packing orders, like people love

[00:21:17] Carly Stirling: Yeah. Oh p the behind the scenes is amazing. This is me. Packing orders is is amazing. Making sure obviously you are wearing your product, it looks good on you, it’s making your life easier. Yeah, really important stuff.

[00:21:30] Dahna Borg: Join TikTok you’ll see

[00:21:31] what

[00:21:31] Carly Stirling: doing.

[00:21:32] TikTok, but doing it well and just like jump on TikTok and post some. Tos of just like still images. Like they

[00:21:38] need to be stor, it needs to be the storytelling.

[00:21:41] Dahna Borg: I feel like you can’t. Have a TikTok without having your own personal TikTok and consuming the content first because it’s just a completely different world of content.

[00:21:51] Carly Stirling: Changing, isn’t it? And I think, like I’ve been thinking about it lately. It’s like when you have your big brands like Country Road and Seed, and then we have our small businesses coming up. Obviously. Country, road and Sea don’t have the founder on TikTok like drinking coffee.

[00:22:07] So like when we are talking about content creation, I think in this case most of your audience is gonna be in the smaller, start up to scaling, right? Not your seed

[00:22:18] Dahna Borg: I don’t think there’s the CEO and marketing manager of country Rotor listening, but if you are, hello?

[00:22:24] Carly Stirling: Hi. I think big back brands have a lot to learn from small businesses because these are the ones that are doing the really good content. They are

[00:22:32] Dahna Borg: they’re more agile.

[00:22:33] They’re able to, Country road’s got probably a board that has to approve everything, whereas the people listening to this, you can just decide to make your TikTok. You don’t have to run it past legal, you don’t have to run it past some senior marketing manager. Just go do the fun content.

[00:22:47] If it

[00:22:47] Carly Stirling: Yeah. And a lot of it has to be you. And I think that’s where some brands get it wrong from the start cuz they go, oh, I’m just gonna go to va. And then just do influences and it’s like you need to have your lifestyle showcased as well. And I don’t wanna say every brand has to do that because obviously there is some cases where it can still work.

[00:23:08] But what one learning I had recently was one of the brands that I worked for, the founder was she was doing pretty good reels. She was in the a lot of Instagram lives or just talking to our customers all the time, really growth staff working or connecting with a lot of, moms as well, stay at home moms and whatnot.

[00:23:29] And she had her third baby and she said, which is great. But what she said was, oh, cuz I haven’t been on stories, all my sales has dropped. So how crazy is that to think? So I think at this point she thought, oh, this is great because my business has been growing so well, it’s fine. I can go and do that. But then all of a sudden she’s not there.

[00:23:50] And then the sales drop. So how do you. How do you make sure that you if anyone else is in that situation, like how do you make sure that the business can keep running and you’re still giving that content? You probably have to in hindsight, you probably have to film a lot more before you wanna take your holiday

[00:24:05] Dahna Borg: be batching the getting some

[00:24:06] influencers, getting some other team members, having your Facebook ads, some stuff, using that content, even if it’s not live,

[00:24:12] Carly Stirling: Yeah, exactly. You need a backup, right? Yeah. You gotta have the backup, so you can’t just rely on one. Avenue needs to be spread across the different social media platforms that we have. Yeah.

[00:24:24] Dahna Borg: Yeah, definitely. One of the things that I loved the most about working with you on our client was your recommendations for in improving that user experience. What would be some of your best tips for having the best user experience on a website?

[00:24:39] Carly Stirling: So in terms of fashion brands, some of the best tips the branding has to be consistent. Of course, the photography has to be amazing. And what I like to do is really drill down into the way that we communicate our product. And because I have had that fashion background in terms of engineering product and fitting and understanding the whole process, even when it comes down to how you’re dyeing that fabric .

[00:25:05] What I’ve found is that there’s a huge gap in the way people are really presenting their product pages. So if we jump straight from homepage to collection to product, actually, I might just take one step back there. A lot of the results tell us when people are shopping, they often go from home to about, especially in the small business phase

[00:25:26] number one, just making sure you’re about pages optimized. I like to tell my clients to invest in a personal branding shoot for the founder first. If they can do that and not just have a photo of you just sitting there doing nothing. You need to be packing their product or designing that product.

[00:25:41] So firstly, you’re getting them, you’re getting that customer on a journey. In the development of your brand and your range. So that’s number one. So just thinking about the journey, so they’re landed on home, they wanna read a little bit more about you. That page might also have your mission, values, purpose, sustainability messages, who you’re giving back to, et cetera.

[00:25:58] There’s a lot you can put on there. They’re like, oh yeah, this seems cool. I’m gonna jump over to the collection page. Scroll down. So one of the most important things of usually is gonna be filtering is making sure that they can filter by size, color material. I think material’s really important these days because people will buy cotton or they’re looking for natural fibers.

[00:26:17] So it might be a recycled or it might be a organic lots of different things, but I’m not saying they just buy cotton, but where I think small businesses can win is if they’re not just using fast fashion, crappy polyester, that they can, really talk about their materials on that page.

[00:26:31] Obviously they need to be able to search by size and color and then product type as well. So you can search by dresses or pencil or making sure that those, so those collections are set up

[00:26:40] correctly from the

[00:26:42] Dahna Borg: there’s nothing worse than ending up on someone’s website trying to find something and just getting

[00:26:46] completely

[00:26:46] And you’re like, but I just wanted to see all of the t-shirts in one page. Like I didn’t want T-shirts and dresses. I just wanted

[00:26:53] Carly Stirling: Oh, it’s crazy. I just didn’t order on one and I was like, oh my God, there’s no, actually, you could find the category by the menu, but you couldn’t filter once you’re on the collection page at the bottom. I was like, oh, it’s so easy. And if you all wish Shopify 2.0, which hopefully everyone that’s listening has moved over to, it’s much easier to do.

[00:27:10] You don’t have to worry too much about getting that filtering set up. Pretty smoothly now. And then, so yeah, so say they can filter, they’ve found all their dresses. Awesome. It’s great if we can show them all the colors that dress comes with. So it’s more common in small businesses where they’ll have one product set up when it’s got one floral, and then the next one’s the same product, but it’s pink, and then the next one’s the same product.

[00:27:34] It’s blue. So making sure that. If they land, then from the collection page into the product page, we’re looking at address that they can see that it does come in other colors. Because I think this is just one from all my years of being a shopping addict, is that if I find something I love, I will buy in multiple colors.

[00:27:52] And I think especially for businesses that are selling core products, so yeah, if they’re selling an awesome t-shirt and it’s just a cool t-shirt, you do need to see those other colors. A little bit more tricky to do. In terms of the actual build, if you wanna show all the colors on your product page, but also show them split out on your collection page, you can do that.

[00:28:13] There’s just a few technical things that you need to do with it.

[00:28:16] Dahna Borg: I think Mr. Zimmy do a very good job of

[00:28:19] Carly Stirling:

[00:28:19] yeah, there’s a few brands that do it. But it can still happen. , I would say Mr. Zimmy is into starting to move into bigger business, but you can still do it in small businesses. In my startups, I’ll still have that set up for them.

[00:28:30] It just makes it easier. So we are landing on our product page making sure that, we need to show that we take after pay or anything else. We need to have a really nice. Product name, that’s easy for them to understand and remember. , I prefer, so Jordan saying, oh, basic T-shirt.

[00:28:48] And it’s oh my god. What does that mean? So let’s give it some names, especially if you’re a small business, you can control that. And if you’re gonna repeat that style in the new color in the next season, it’s nice to know that they, I think she and Joy do a pretty good job with that actually.

[00:29:01] And then we have our, being able to easily shop by side and color at this point, our add to cart button. Our product descriptions seem to be amazing. I prefer to have our product descriptions just one to two sentences as long as they nail it. A new SEO can be a concern around this as well.

[00:29:18] So nailing that product description and then having a nice, clear list of your product details. So is that a A gold zip or is it a silver zip? Just listing out those product details, those key product details that you need. I like, so at this point you’re into your dropdowns. I like to have especially in 2.0, this would be the standard now.

[00:29:35] So just thinking that you’re gonna have , all of the information, just like in a big, long paragraphs, it’s just not gonna happen. Now you need to split these up into your little dropdowns or your metas for the technical speakers. Talk about our materials and how to care for it. We need to talk about the sizing and the size guide, so making sure that we have a size chart link to our product page and then what the measurements of that garment.

[00:29:56] So if it’s addressed, we need to, we wanna know, the customer needs to know the length and say the waste or the hip or the bust or whatever the strap length of that dress is. A lot of information that’s not on your size chart, your branded size chart. From there, making sure that we communicate our shipping and returns.

[00:30:12] Just quickly, the key details of, we ship Australia wide, it’s pretty over 150 or it’s $10 flat, right? Just keep it really neat. And then we can always click through to more information. I also like to have a dropdown that would be around with purpose or conscious fashion, or engineered for longevity, something around a key. I guess it’s like a UVP of the brand or the business. Say it was conscious fashion, then that dropdown would be like, we only do organic cotton and then you can go and find out more. Or, manufacturing Australia is a really good one to have. So just thinking about something a little bit extra on that page.

[00:30:48] And then making sure, I think I’ve covered all of the dropdowns there that you would need as a starting. Some people have more, some people have less. And then would make sure, I think outfit shopping is gonna be up trending pretty quickly. I don’t see it so much on smaller. Businesses, it is a little bit more tech technical to

[00:31:06] Dahna Borg: There’s a lot more work in terms of creating those things.

[00:31:09] Carly Stirling: Yeah. If you are selling lingerie for example, and you’ve got a Brian Nier you’ve gotta be able to add that nier on, like on the same page as you shopping on the bra. Where it’s like someone’s wearing. The dress, the jacket and the shoes and stuff. It’s probably not as important.

[00:31:26] But I now, I’ve just been implementing a little bit more like shop the look on the, in the next level. And then you can go into recently viewed or you may also like There’s a few different options. There’s no kind of one size fits all, and then obviously you would need some reviews. You’d hopefully start to collect some reviews on these products as well.

[00:31:45] One trick I like to do is just to hide all reviews until the review is left, so you don’t have empty stars for products. Because as we’ll know yeah, if you’re really small and things, you haven’t sold something yet.

[00:31:57] Dahna Borg: you have, sometimes you don’t get the reviews anyway.

[00:32:00] Carly Stirling: Exactly. Yeah. Across the board.

[00:32:02] Across the board. Everyone’s struggling to get reviews. You probably, are you feeling the same? I dunno.

[00:32:06] it’s

[00:32:06] everyone.

[00:32:06] Dahna Borg: even clients that are really actively trying to get reviews aren’t getting them, and they’re they’ve got no reviews because they’ve, it’s not that they haven’t sold anything, it’s just getting reviews from people is like pulling teeth at the moment.

[00:32:19] Carly Stirling: yeah. My advice for that especially if it’s a. Solopreneur owner. When they ask me like, how do I get more reviews? What can we do? I’m like, just go and email them. Go and stalk them

[00:32:31] on Instagram. Call them. I know. I’m like, you’ve just gotta reach out on the personal effect because it’s just not working.

[00:32:40] It’s not working. Even giving away $50 wer review doesn’t mean that they wanna shop with you. Cause they still have to spend more money. She’s $50 voucher. And. I think, I mean if you can call some of your clients that’s gonna be, or customers, that’s gonna be best case scenario.

[00:32:54] Dahna Borg: As someone who doesn’t like entering the phone, I don’t like that

[00:32:57] Carly Stirling: I know. Okay. Email.

[00:32:58] Dahna Borg: plan. Look, if you’re confident in

[00:33:01] Carly Stirling: you can arrange it. Yeah. I have one brand who does some pretty special product and their designer calls their customers all the time and their community is amazing. They have so much community feedback. Cuz they’ve said to me recently, they’re like, we know our customers want color.

[00:33:16] They keep asking us And how do they know that, we just assume the customers know what they want or we go, oh, we’ll just do a new black because we know black cells. And it’s our customers are asking, they’re talking to them, they’re understanding their fit. And yeah I think it’s pretty important.

[00:33:31] And, if you are set up and everything’s running awesome and you’ve got clavio, when you can filter or segment out your v i P customers and narrow it down to say, your top 20. Customers haven’t spent the most money with you or the, whatever it might be might only be 20 emails and 20 calls that you need to make, and those customers are most likely gonna wanna get involved.

[00:33:52] You’d be surprised how much, if you already know they have brand loyalty, like they’ll talk to you on the phone. So you probably not gonna call them. Let’s say don’t call anyone.

[00:34:01] Figure out who, who the Yeah. Email them first. Say, I’d love to get on. I would love to see my clients do, get those top 10 or 20 customers and get ’em all on a zoom workshop together.

[00:34:12] Just talk through the next range.

[00:34:14] Dahna Borg: I love that.

[00:34:15] I love that so much. Do you have anything we think we’ve missed?

[00:34:17] Carly Stirling: I think what I’ve learned the most is pay an expert to set up your shop correctly and they’ll learn how to edit and optimize because there’s nothing they all, every d y shop I’ve seen is horrible, especially going into this new phase now where braiding needs to be strong.

[00:34:32] Design needs to be better pay, invest for the setup. And then with there, make sure you get your training included, the package. Cuz otherwise, if you don’t such clean yourself, you just drain money. You always need money to invest back into that platform. So make sure that you’re budgeted for that. Also start to think about, most people will come and get a quote on branding and a website and then they completely miss the mark that setting up Clavio and Clavio flows in my marketing could cost you actually more than the website itself.

[00:35:00] So it’s actually, I. Really important to think about how you’re gonna get those flows happening, cuz you are gonna need them. , , the various rates could be $500 set up all the way up to 10,000 again for Clavia. So thinking about that

[00:35:14] Dahna Borg: I think that’s so true, like In the budget side of things, like I think a lot of people put every last dollar into something and then they have nothing left to do the Facebook ads or the social media or the website or the Clavio. Like you need to not spend every dollar into one thing cuz all of the other pieces need to match in as well.

[00:35:32] Carly Stirling: Yeah. Yeah. And even then, the website doesn’t stop, right? Because even after, a few months, it’s okay, most likely you’re not gonna set up a new website with upselling and there’s just, there’s always something to do. There’s always something to like, update and improve. So thinking about investment back into that platform, trying different things swapping banner images all the time.

[00:35:50] I think one. Of my biggest ones, , this is gonna be a personal grab there. At the moment, the way that the world’s moving, just stop using any single use plastics to pull off the poly bags. Start really thinking about how you can make your product more conscious and how, and not even the product, but how you’re presenting your brand.

[00:36:09] Definitely been talk around. I know a lot of people do thank you cards for the discounts. So can we get those to customers and that experience without having to waste materials all the time. Cause I think the more conscious you can be across everything Yeah. It’s gonna actually, if you don’t have that unboxing experience in the current world, it’s gonna be brand damaging.

[00:36:29] So that’s one one that I think about. And. I think that’s probably it. It’s

[00:36:34] Dahna Borg: We could talk about this for hours, I

[00:36:36] think.

[00:36:38] Carly Stirling: Investing brands, platform influence, video creation, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, ads, photography markets and networking, wholesale trade shows. Lookbooks, just thinking about everything. Not just go, oh, I just wanna start selling some stuff online because it does get big.

[00:36:53] And yeah, just making sure that you understand the investment and what it takes to run a business. And, you can talk to, there’s lots of consultants in this space. Hire the right designer that fits your aesthetics. Understand what each creative person does and what their strengths are. And just really start to learn and up where you can.

[00:37:09] Dahna Borg: Lovely. We’ll just get into the last couple of questions we ask everyone, but thank you so much for sharing so much. It’s been really good information. Do you have any strategies or habits that you personally follow to help you stay on track in your business?

[00:37:21] Carly Stirling: Yeah. I use toggle track and toggle plan as my product project management systems. And I also block out my calendar and color code, everything that I do. So I’ve got client workers plan appointments, meetings, everything’s color coded. So that is how I stay on track saying that I’m genuinely booked out four to six months in advance.

[00:37:40] Dahna Borg:

[00:37:40] For sure. Do you have a favorite podcast?

[00:37:42] Carly Stirling: Oh, yes. I love unofficial Shopify podcast. So it is American based, but I love it and I. I really enjoy it because they talk about so much more. Much like your podcast, it’s not just about Shopify at all, it’s about brand building. It can be about design, what’s happening in marketing and that helps me stay ahead because cuz it’s American based and they’re working with big companies over there, it’s okay, all this stuff’s coming here now.

[00:38:09] So that’s my favorite Shopify podcast.

[00:38:11] Oh. And also fashion Business Mindset, which is another awesome podcast with a lot of fashion change makers and leaders. Based here in Australia. So a lot to learn from that if you are a

[00:38:22] Dahna Borg: one.

[00:38:23] have lots of fashion clients. I’ll learn lots from that one. And if people want to visit you, learn more, potentially work with you, what’s the best way for people to reach out?

[00:38:31] Carly Stirling: Yeah, just my website is studio Nice. And Izzy or Very easy. Same with social media.

[00:38:39] Dahna Borg: Wonderful. Thank you so much for joining us. It’s been an absolute

[00:38:42] Carly Stirling: Thanks Dahna I’ll speak to you again. I’m sure we will have more to talk about when everything changes again in another year

[00:38:48] Dahna Borg: Probably give it six months.

[00:38:49] Carly Stirling: yeah. Six months. Oh my God. Next week.

[00:38:52] Next week. That’ll be something new.

[00:38:54] Thank you for listening to the bright minds of e-commerce podcast. As always, you can find the show notes at forward slash episode 42. thanks for listening.

Dahna Borg

Author Dahna Borg

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