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Valens: Challenges Of Internet Merchandising


(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). (With the forced temporary closure of thousands of intimate apparel brick and mortar stores this year, retailers have realized the need to upgrade their online presence. One industry executive who is ideally positioned to provide advice in this area is Tatyana Ponomareva, founder and owner of the lingerie distributor, Valens Capital Group, as well as the Bra Spectrum lingerie shop in Pennsylvania. In the article below she provides her take on the online environment. Her company also offers web development services, specifically adapted to the needs of the independent lingerie retailer. Contact: Info@ValensLingerie.com or (610) 400-8460).

At this challenging moment for brick and mortar stores we have encountered many businesses looking for a solution to their web merchandising needs. On the surface, it looks very promising: just put your product on the website, describe it well and you are on the way. We all know Bare Necessities, Amazon, HerRoom, AdoreMe and their success stories.

Let’s take a closer look at what is actually required to find success for your store. Individuals who have a background and experience in programming and online development already have some understanding and orientation in this subject. The point of this article is to bring understanding on this topic to readers who do not have any developmental experience and rely on their personal life observations regarding websites.

As with any technological industry, web development and provider companies have their specialist technicians, programmers, data management, marketing, sales, equipment and other expenses. At Valens Lingerie we have heard about stores that have previously expended $12,000 to $50,000 on website development, maintenance, SEO, pay-per-click, Google advertising and have ended up losing money when they added online sales to their successful brick and mortar business.

So stores must proceed cautiously.

Unless you can create a website utilizing the multitude of do it yourself commercial platforms, you are looking at fees of $7,000 to $19,000 dollars just have your online store created. This is just the beginning of your expenditures. Updates in the product database and descriptions, and website optimization will cost an additional $500 minimum per month.

Hurray! Website is launched, bubbly is opened and now clients will flock to your new online lingerie shop around the corner. But who is going to see your website? Only your store clients because you sent them e-mails and Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest posts announcing the launch. It may be a convenience for them to buy online from you instead of going to the store, but they can call your shop and simply tell you what they need and you will send them the product with the same result.

The challenge is that no one, other than your local loyal clients, will find your website. Website promotion requires substantial financial investment. There are no miracles or free rides. To be found you need to pay to advertise the existence of your website. Google ads and pay per click are two methods to do this.

Pay per click involves paying a sum of money to the host website when a potential customer clicks on your advertisement. But so called “click-fraud” is increasing. And there is no guarantee that a click will result in a sale. As an advertiser you will be encouraged to start your monthly campaign with a minimum pay per click budget of $200.00 to $500.00. Even with pay per click you could still find your shop on page ten (or higher) if you do a search on Google for the word bra.

To be on the first page, you need to pay additional advertising fees to Google. So, how much should you spend on advertising? Victoria’s Secret is a household bra name and the corporation must pay tens of thousands of dollars monthly to be on the first page consistently. Can a woman-owned, single-location lingerie boutique spend the same kind of money on advertising as Victoria’s Secret or the other giants, like Bare Necessities, Amazon, HerRoom, AdoreMe and the others? No.

And whatever you do spend, with Google changing its search rule algorithms every three to six months (and thus penalizing all websites by requiring them to adapt), you may soon find your website is experiencing even less traffic than when you started. Discouraging? Yes.

But there really is no choice. Like it or not, all lingerie shops require a reliable online “presentation existence.”

If you go the do it yourself route, you can create a nice informative website, including your store map and directions to your store on inexpensive platforms like WIX, that provide different templates, reasonably intuitive developmental tools, and optimizations tools to achieve greater site visibility.

There are also platforms like Shopify (average per month base cost $140) where you can create your store and upload pictures and descriptions of your product. It is not complicated, but there is a negative: they charge a considerable percentage from every sale and your site will experience competition from other Shopify online stores, and direct-to-consumer website offerings.

If you are going to do it yourself, you also need to learn how to use the website development tools and how to make changes without deleting what you have previously created. You need to learn how to use the e-mail features to send “new product announcement messages” and “in store events,” and how to perform search optimization updates multiple times a month. You can upload a video of yourself to deliver your personal message to your clients, explaining what makes your shop different and a positively wonderful bra shopping destination. And you need to connect your website to all your social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, Pinterest, Google.

About Yelp. Please do not be afraid to upload your store information on Yelp. Yes, this provides a forum for people make the comments — both positive and negative — about your store. When you receive a negative comment, make lemonade out of lemons. Your response should thank them for coming in and a brief apology for not meeting expectations. Then play on their comment to tell other readers about your shop offerings. Create an advertisement.

Yes, online presence is required and when consistently managed and nurtured delivers positive results. Specialty stores still have a place in the market. The effects of COVID 19 have caused many large retail chains to announce many permanent store closers, reducing some competition and making your store even more important to the consumers in your area.

A final but very important consideration is what brands to offer on your site (and in your shop). Many of the big, well known bra brands have their own websites, and their own aggressive discount programs. Go with one of those brands and you may find they are offering consumers deeper discounts, earlier in the season, for the very same bras you have in your shop.

At my store, Bra Spectrum, I address this problem by stocking bras not sold online in the United States. They are made in Poland, Italy, Latvia, Spain and Lithuania and are, in my opinion, of higher quality than the top fifteen global bra labels. For example, a recent New York Times article noted that “maybe the best bras are made in Poland.” One of our top bra brands is Corin, made in Poland.

I, Tatyana Ponomareva, have over 20 years of experience in programming and web development in different industries such as finance, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. At Valens we offer affordable web development services specifically geared to the needs of independent, specialty lingerie stores. Plans can be adjusted to your needs and grow as your business grows. I look forward to connecting with you and we send blessings and positive thoughts during the re-opening of bra shops across America.


more wholesale Lingerie News >>

Published 07-09-2020 by -

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