Choosing to open an online clothing store is a smart decision. Online clothing stores are one of the most popular options for e-commerce. Online clothing sales are expected to dramatically increase in the next year, so there are a lot of opportunities to cash in on this growing market. So how do you start selling clothes online? Starting a clothing store online may seem simple at first, but it’s much more than just purchasing a domain and placing ads. Being successful in this market depends a lot on the niche you select, the quality of your products, proper branding, fulfillment strategies, and the level of care you are willing to dedicate with customer service. Choosing a popular niche isn’t a guaranteed way to instantly gain the business of potential customers. You must stand out from the crowd by offering something that people are truly looking for. Something that no one else is providing. Here we will show you step-by-step how to start selling clothes online, and how to ensure your business is successful.
Choose Your NicheWhen starting to sell your clothes online, choosing a niche is the first step in the process. This ensures you are creating your brand around the type of shoppers you want to attract, and will allow you to position your brand in a way that is unique to your customers. Being specific is key. It will allow you to identify and advertise to your target audience in an easy and direct manner. It will also make it easier to develop your products to appeal to your target audience, which will help eliminate your competition and potentially increase customer loyalty in the long-term. One example of this is CharlieBoy. They are an Australian based clothing company that specializes in making gender-neutral shirts. Their fabrics are locally sourced to promote eco-friendly practices, and their shirts can be designed specifically for the customers purchasing them. When choosing your niche it is important to keep these things in mind:
- Choose something that not only interests you, but something you are passionate about.
- Be as unique as possible
- Consider what you can do to add more value to your brand
- Make sure your products are worth the time and money spent creating them by ensuring your niche has earning potential
Choose The Products You Wish to Sell OnlineWhen you’re starting an online clothing store, it’s important to keep in mind that there are virtually no limits when it comes to the apparel market, and there will undoubtedly be many other brands within your niche. This is why it is vital for your business that you take your time. When starting an online store, it’s best not to with a wide variety of products. Start small, picking just a few items that you think represent your brand the best. As you continue to grow, you can add more products to keep the excitement going and encourage long-term customers. One example of this is the brand Elizabeth Suzann. This brand focuses on “slow” fashion. From the very start of the company, they strived to provide high-quality, and long lasting products that were simple and minimalistic. At the beginning there was a small list of items available, and as the company grew, they added additional products such as shoes, and even bridal gowns. So how do you choose your products? Here are 3 things to consider:
Slow and steady
Consider the Future
Focus on Your End Goal
Choosing Your Business Model and Online Clothing StoreAfter knowing what niche your clothing store falls into, and you have a list of products you’d like to start off with, you want to pick a business model. There are four types of models to choose from for online clothing stores:
- Custom cut-and-sew
- Private label
1. Custom Cut-and-SewThis is a great option for people who want to launch a clothing brand with products made from their own design. This means you will be doing everything from designing, manufacturing, and fulfilling yourself. Obviously the biggest advantage here is that you are selling clothing items that are truly unique. The sky’s the limit! Of course, this business model also comes with meticulous management. You will be in charge of sourcing your own fabric, coordinating with manufacturers and pattern-makers, etc. You will need a lot of time, and a strong budget in order to get this off the ground. This is generally the most challenging model for a small business.
2. Print-on-DemandThis is the most straightforward business model for online clothing stores, as well as the most budget friendly. Custom t-shirt printing is already popular, but it is expected to boom in the next few years. These clothing stores allow you to print your design or logo onto blank apparel. When dealing with a small number of orders, this is by far the most cost-effective option. With this business model, the important thing to keep in mind is that for the most part, the profit margins are lower, and will offer fewer options in the way of customization than other business models.
3. Private LabelPrivate label business models are somewhere between cut-and-sew and print-on-demand models. The budget needed is smaller than a cut-and-sew models, but there are more customization options than a print-on-demand model. With this business model you would be purchasing pre-made clothing to which you personally add your own design, tag, or label, then sell them in your store. You can usually shop around and negotiate rates when buying in bulk, thus making this a great option for those who do not have a large budget. Keep in mind with this business model, that you will need to manage the inventory and fulfillment yourself. If this task seems daunting to you, keep in mind that there are platforms that will help you manage this.
4. DropshippingDropshipping models are similar to print-on-demand, as you will sell clothing that is fulfilled by wholesalers. The bottom line is that, because you don’t have to worry about managing inventory, shipping, and storing, this is a budget-friendly option. Of course the downside of this, is that your products will not be very unique, and there could be quite a few established online clothing retailers that are selling the same products you are.
Outline Your Business PlanAfter figuring out your niche, initial products, and the business model you want to go with, you’ll want to work on outlining your business plan. The following should be included in your outline:
- Target Audience
- Biggest competitors
- Company/brand description
- Fulfilment strategy
- Design and development
- Production cost per product
- Equipment, web design, hosting, partnering with business services, etc.
- Labor and transportation