We thought we would save you the time of telling us.
The EliteSuits.com website breaks every rule of internet marketing. It’s cheap, difficult to navigate, cluttered and way way too wordy. Yet every month, not only do we sell more suits, but more expensive ones as customers who started on the less expensive lines and were pleasantly surprised by the quality come back and confidently buy a dearer suit.
I know what the marketers say it should look like. Lots of white space, plenty of pictures, don’t use too many words make it look uncluttered etc etc. The rules are no mystery. However let me tell you why they exist.
THE MARKETERS THINK THE AVERAGE PERSON IS AN IDIOT.
I don’t. At least I don’t think my customers are. There are plenty of websites that follow the rules and have lots of nice pictures. Here’s a little secret, your new suit is unlikely to look as good on you as it does in the pictures. The people in the pictures are professional models who are perfectly proportioned to look good in a suit. To see what I mean READ THIS. Very few of us have bodies like this.
The pictures were taken by professional photographers under ideal artificial lighting conditions. They took hundreds of photographs and picked the one that looked perfect then photoshopped it so it looked better than perfect.
Yes there are some delusional customers out there and I’m happy to let them go to the pretty websites. We’re not looking to take over the suiting world. Sure we would like to sell more suits but we’re happy to build a customer base of those who want a better suit at a better price.
The typical Elite Suits customer doesn’t simply want a cheap suit. What they want is value for their suiting dollar. They want to know exactly what they are getting for their money. They want to know about the fabric and how their suit is to be made. They want to know what type of tailoring company is going to make their suit and what type of canvas will be used. Rather than a cheap Asian factory made fused suit, they want their suit to be made by tailors and have it built around a full canvas.
The Elite Suit customer realises that the cheapest suit is rarely the best value.
However perhaps if I explain a little about how Elite Suits came to be it may help. I used to oversee the Asian territory for a previous employer. In that time I made a lot of business and personal contacts within the Asian fashion industry and had all my suits custom made. When I returned back to Australia I continued to have them custom made. Now this was long before the internet and even email became commonly available (yes I am that old) and in those days people didn’t travel as much as they do now. In fact a trip to anywhere in Asia was unusual. People asked where I had my suits made and found it fascinating that I had them made overseas and even more fascinated at the price I got them for. Naturally a few asked if I could get them one so I started getting them for colleagues then relatives of colleague then friends of colleagues etc etc. In order to stop people continually ringing me I decided to put something on the web.
I expected to sell about three a month. Great! Do it all by email, they can do a lot of the work and a few hours a month might make me a little drinking money for Saturday night. I certainly wasn’t going to spend a lot of money on what was designed to be a hobby business. So we built the cheapest website we could find and threw a couple of cheapie suits on it as well and one or two higher quality ones. Then I decided to put the bargain ones on Ebay as well. We sold five suits in our first full month and I was over the moon at my success.
So perhaps you can imagine my surprise that in our 4th month we sold over 50 suits and it didn’t take too much after that to hit the hundred mark and we still grow every month. Suddenly my drinking money hobby started to look as though it could turn into a viable business. We tweaked the website a bit, added a blog where we could go into even more detail and I have more plans to improve a few things on the current website while I build a more presentable new one.
However, I’m so busy processing orders that I find it difficult to find time to even get the next steps done. Despite cutting back my main and more lucrative (still need to pay the mortgage) job back to three days a week and taking on two staff we are still extremely busy. More than half of my sales go to North America and Europe and much to my surprise we even get orders from Asia.
We have built a base of a more discerning customer who wants a better suit at a value for money price. Now, a large and growing base of my orders is from returning customers coming back for their second or third purchase (the record so far is six suits). We have a thriving wedding business where we supply suits to grooms and their wedding parties all over the world every week.
OK, we’re not exactly setting massive sales records for the industry but we’re doing quite well in a very crowded market.
Happy customers post their stories on various forums which drives even more business to the site. There are four in particular that if they post any more I might have to give them a job.
A New Website Is Coming But,
So yes we agree the website is crap however we are working on a new one we believe will appear before the end of 2012. We’re not going to rush and we are still adding to the range of suits we offer. while we are doing that we will find and build a better website.
However, it’s never going to be a simple point and click process. Our online competitors mostly offer a single suit in a single fabric range. While they might have a number of suits on their sites it’s really the same suit slightly altered or just in a different colour fabric. They take your order and send it to one of the Asian suit factories who supply the fabric and make the suit on a production line.
We source our own fabrics and have literally thousands available in a number of different grades. Furthermore, we also offer five different levels of tailoring from factory made to a bespoke quality tailoring equal to the best in the world. The choices can be overwhelming and for those who just want a basic cheap suit sometimes find it just too confusing and just end up going elsewhere where it’s more of a point and click system.
Those more discerning and who want a quality suit at a value for money price see the value of taking the time to read the site and this blog to understand the quality we offer and the options available to them before making an informed decision on what suit they want to purchase.
We are not going to change our business plan just to go mass market and grab a larger share of the bargain suit buyers. It’s not really where we want to operate. Our target market is the customer who wants a better suit, equal to what he can buy at his local tailors but at a much better price.
So the new website is still going to be confusing to many especially those just wanting a cheap suit. One of the reasons it’s taking so long is that we are trying our best to find a way to still be able to supply all the information we think you should know in the simplest form possible. So it’s not going to be a one click site. There is still going to be the multiple choices to make and a lot of information about the suits to study. What will improve greatly is the ordering system which will be more automated.
In the meantime, the current website does work. Our growing sales are proof of that. We have systems that work and the process is now fairly streamlined. Once a customer buys a suit we send everything they need in a single email or they can download everything from HERE.
They complete their measurements, style their suit and simply email the completed order form back to me. It really is that easy. I’ve had customers do it in under an hour while others take the measurement form down to their local tailor or alteration place, have their measurements taken and email the order form back in an day or two.
There are plenty of really flashy websites that sell really bad suits. If that’s what you really prefer, send me a message and I’ll be happy to refer you to a couple.
We went the other way. Bad website but really good suits at value for money prices. Which one do you really want? If it’s our way then CLICK HERE to find great value in better made suits