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Lingerie Online Store Building a Niche Site

Amber Lake

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There are many lingerie e-commerce sites. Lingerie, probably more than most other items of clothing, is ideally suited for the internet. For instance, there are many men who prefer buying lingerie items for their partners using the anonymity of the internet as opposed to publicly perusing isles of lingerie in a high street store. The storage space required for holding stock of lingerie items is also relatively small compared to other clothes. Thongs, tights, bras, suspender belts, to name but a few, take up little space and so an internet business would not require large premises to hold enough to stock to handle its orders. Another consideration is the cost of stocking up on lingerie items. This tends to be cheaper than other forms of clothing when you consider that many of the items can be bought from wholesalers in packs of six, or variations of that.

However, there are a lot of retailers who have realised this, and doing a search for ‘lingerie’ will bring up hundreds of sites in the search engine of your choice. These range from the larger, well known companies, to the smaller retailers who hope to capture enough of the market share to make a comfortable living from it.

So, with such a large number of lingerie sites already established on the internet, how does a newcomer hope to get started and make inroads into this market? Specialising and looking for a niche market is one way. Identify an item of lingerie that is not main stream, but has a sufficient market to be able to sell on its own. One advantage of an approach like this is that it is possible to buy enough items to be in a position to sell from stock. This is extremely important as sites can lose customers by not being able to fulfill orders immediately. This can be an issue with lingerie sites because they advertise so much variety in styles and brands that it's not practical or cost effective to stock everything.

How does one select a specific item of lingerie to specialise in? Go to the highly ranked lingerie sites in search listings, and scan the pages for products that do not appear to be main stream, but do appear on all the sites. This is an indication that they do sell, but are not deemed by the big sites to be their main source of revenue. Finding items with only a limited selection is preferential, because you are then in a position to offer much more variety of that item in your own niche store.

Having selected what you are going to specialise in, you need to ensure that your niche store offers advantages to your prospective customers that the bigger lingerie sites do not. Start by offering as much variety as possible. If you have a large selection available, visitors will not have the need to spend time looking at other sites which offer a small percentage of what you are offering, so advertise as many styles and colours as you are able to.

Try and hold stock of what you offer. If you can fulfil an order immediately, you have a much better chance of retaining that customer for future business.

The next thing to consider is the pricing. Many big sites can overprice certain items of specialised lingerie because it does not form their main revenue stream. To that end, they do not need to sell many in order to make a decent return on the items. To win this business from them, you need to price your products competitively so that, as well as offering good choice, you are selling them cheaper than the big name sites. This is possible if you are able to buy in bulk which will often give you discounts that enable you to sell your products at prices that still give you a reasonable return.

It is also important to design your site to be attractive to new visitors. Do not over-elaborate. As you are specialising in a lingerie product, your site is likely to be fairly simple and uncluttered. Also, make sure it is simple to navigate and self-intuitive to use for newcomers. Look at implementing features that you think improve on existing sites. Achieve this by visiting mainstream sites and deciding what you don't like about the site, or what would put you off buying from it. Having identified these areas, plan on how you would improve on them, and then implement those ideas on your site. Obvious things to look for, are how the menu/navigation system works, what search facilities are available, and how the images are displayed. With regard the latter issue, do not overburden your front page with lots of large images. You need your front page to load quickly!

A couple of final points to keep in mind. As you are specialising in an item of lingerie, provide as much information as you can about the items on the product detail pages. Many sites only provide minimal information such as a general description and a cost. If you have the time, do some editing on the images that the suppliers send you. It can be beneficial in giving your site a unique look. Visiting the mainstream sites, you will notice that they all tend to use the same images, those supplied to them by the suppliers. This is only a minor point, but it can help ‘brand’ your site if done properly.

Amber Lake
Bodystocking Avenue


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