How do you sell fashion?

Student Rinze seduces people to buy

How do you get visitors from your website to make a purchase? Student Rinze Kooistra knows all about that. Namely because he has a successful website for exclusive clothing.

Hundreds of thousands of clothing brands from three thousand exclusive fashion brands are on display on Rinze’s website, student Business Management Studies, which he began a year ago. The site itself does not sell clothing, but gathers existing offers. When you as a costumer find a clothing article you want to buy, you will be redirected to the website as, for example, Zalando or the Bijenkorf. “Many stores only have a limited selection. Naturally: the more expensive the brand, the less it will be sold, that is the reason web shops cannot have too much in stock. But for buyer this is troublesome. You have to skim a lot of websites in order to find what you are looking for and then you still would not know if you have seen everything. That is how I came with the idea to collect the widest array of offers at one location.”

That big of project is of course difficult to do on your own. That is why he asked fellow student Frans Welmers if he wanted to participate. He followed the Marketing study programme and they both did the Entrepreneurship minor. Now Frans has graduated. “He knows a lot about graphic design and thanks to him the site has become a lot prettier.” Later a third associate joined them: a programmer. “He has improved the site on a technical level.”

One of the first websites that Rinze founded was very small and simple and only described how the computer programme iTunes works. “By putting advertisements on the website, I started making a little bit of money. Fun to do, so I continued.”

Meanwhile Rinze has a lot of websites to his name: with shoes, football shirts and other sportswear. Many things are self-taught: “Just a matter of trail-and-error. Trying new things time and again and always keep measuring what subsequently happens to your visitor numbers. I read a lot of blogs and watch YouTube videos to learn new techniques, because you need to keep up. Our study is five years behind on this area.” For his final internship research, Rinze focuses specifically on ‘conversion’: how do you get your visitors to buy something on your website? “Social probative force gets increasingly important: if you put reviews and ratings next to your product, or a notification as ‘only five left in stock’, people are more eager to click the ‘buy now’ button. But colours can make a differents too: blue radiates calmness, red stimulates purchases.”

Because Rinze is graduating at his own company, he can immediately put his findings to the test. “With an external client, your advice will sometimes end up in a drawer. I instantaneously go to my pc to try it out. The conversion at CoutureFashion has already doubled. That is because, among other things, we first only had a button per brand to go to the promotions of that brand, but now you instantly see the whole products on screen.”

Of the amount the visitors of CoutureFashion spend at the partner shops, Rinze gets five to ten percent. On a whole, it is not that bad. But we invest all our income into new content. We want a lot more brands to commit to us! Currently we are active in the Netherlands and Belgium, but we want to expand to countries in Scandinavia and Southern-Europe.”

Rinze loves to have his own company: “Working for a boss is slavery with a pay slip. You are working for someone else’s money! At least I work for myself. If I want to stay in bed a little bit long, nobody is going to tell me I can’t. But I never wake up with the idea ‘shit, I have to work for eight hours today’. I just put a lot of my free time into my site, because I enjoy doing it. Then I will just go less to the movies or on vacation.”

Jitse Schipper



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