So, you are worried how to start a clothing business online. It is no wonder why: it is by far one of the most successful eCommerce niches, with online clothing stores being a multi-billion-a-year industry. The emerging middle classes with disposable income worldwide, there is a lot of potential business to cash in on.
But starting a popular clothing business online is more than just purchasing a domain and putting an ad. A good online store depends on the niche you select, the identity you make, the quality not only of your clothing products but also of your website, the customer service you offer and strategies for the customers’ fulfillment.
Just because a niche is common, it doesn't mean you have immediate access to potential clients. Actually the opposite is true. When the popularity of a niche will increase, it will be tough for your customers to find out your business in the industry.
If you're new to the eCommerce game or are looking to add clothing products to your growing business portfolio by 2023, then this post is for you! We'll take you through the steps you need to consider to start a profitable online clothing business in the following guide. So let’s get started…
Firstly, you need to determine which clothing and apparel niche you want to sell in. Then you can choose your products. Choosing your niche means that you pick items and build your whole marketing strategy around the type of potential shoppers that you want to cater to, which eventually means that you can start your clothing business online in a unique way.
The key is to be really precise and really drill into your niche, because that will make it easier to find your future shoppers and sell to them. It will also allow you to build your product portfolio to cater to your specific target audience, allowing you to reduce your competition and increasing your long-term consumer loyalty chances.
Here are the four main considerations when selecting a niche:
1. Be as identical as possible to stand out from the crowd.
2. Be as special as possible. Choose a niche you are interested in and about.
3. Ask yourself about adding value and/or consider yourself as authority.
4. Assure that the niche has potential to gain.
Once you've got a niche, it's time to choose your products. Are you going to sell short sleeve shirts or dresses? The clothing and apparel market is almost endless, and you can be sure that there are a bunch of choices in the niche you sell in.
If you're tempted to jump in and sell it all, however, this may be your undoing before you even start. When you start a clothing business online, it is always advisable to start slow and tiny, and then branch out your lines as you expand.
What you should consider at the time of choosing products are mentioned below:
Sure, at the start be as precise and narrow as you can, but keep an eye on the end goal. Think about where you'll see your brand of online apparel expanding in the future, and make sure you're focused on the end target. It will mean that you can more easily bring new or trendy goods into your store since you add items to your collection or line and expand your store following your niche.
As you get your product list off the ground, start small and basic. Not only does the introduction of too many items up front bring extra admin costs every step of the way – from product photo shoots to site creation – but it can also create problems when you launch first. Complications can impact the service you offer and can make or break your company as a new store in the very competitive market because of lower customer service.
As we know, there are ever-changing fads in fashion and clothes. At first pick secure items that can easily be changed to match changing styles. If you want to go for more traditional fashion, prepare to change styles by developing a store that can adapt, such as dropshipping orders, to ensure that you are not left with unsellable stock. Ultimately, there will always be shifts in the clothing market so success depends on the ability to think ahead and be imaginative and inventive in coping with the changes.
There are 5 types of business models for starting a clothing business online:
Let's take a closer look at each…
Print-on-demand is both the easiest and the cheapest form of business model for online clothing business. In reality, custom t-shirt printing is expected to hit $10bn in revenue by 2025 alone.
These are the types of stores where you print your logo and concept onto blank clothing, and it's automated completely.
Within this form of company, there is enough variety of types and colors and it is your most cost-effective choice when handling small numbers of orders to start your clothing business online.
Best for all of you who want to start a brand and concept of their very own clothes.
This type of business model for an online clothing store is for those of you who want to create their own line of clothing from scratch. In other words, you do everything from clothing design to manufacturing and fulfillment-yourself.
The biggest advantage here is that you sell something really special and that you can customize as you see fit. Custom cut-and-sew businesses come with a lot of management, however, as you will be responsible for finding and coordinating your own pattern-makers and manufacturers, sourcing your own fabric, etc. That means a lot of upfront budget and time required to get your first line started.
The market models for private labels are basically the midpoint between print-on-demand and cut-and-sew. They offer more flexibility than the former but less 'work' and budget are required than the latter.
This type of model is when you buy clothing products that are blank or labelless, and then add your custom design, logo or tag before you sell them in your store. Private label clothing can be much more cost-effective than print-on-demand since you can negotiate better rates for wholesale purchasing. Unfortunately, some drawbacks exist, such as dealing with own fulfillment and the management of inventories by yourself.
Similar to print-on-demand, the dropshipping clothing stores allow you to sell wholesalers-fulfilled clothing. This is a cost-effective path, because you don't have to deal with purchasing, storing, packaging or shipping. The downside is that your goods aren't as exclusive and a lot of stores might sell the same goods as you.
Related topic: Wholesale Clothing Suppliers
There are many wholesale marketplaces online. If your online clothing business is based on women’s clothing, we’ll recommend trying our wholesale marketplace Stylepick in California, USA. Stylepick is an online wholesale fashion marketplace dedicated to inspire manufacturers and the best wholesale women's clothing vendors through the combination of trendy styles and user friendly web interface. It is a virtual fashion district for all vendors and retailers globally. Established in Los Angeles, Stylepick offers experiential wholesale environments and a mix of the latest and top wholesale women's clothing from different vendors like J.nna, Blue B, Day & Night, Hers & Mine, Davi & Dani, Spotlite and many more.
Related topic: Wholesale Marketplaces
It's time to launch your online clothing business once your items are in place, business plan is set up, shipping is arranged and the website is completed. Below are some tips on the launch to help you get started…
Make sure your social media accounts are configured and ready before you launch your online clothing store. In reality, before your big launch, plan for all of your contents. With the launch, this will allow you to run your social ads and market your new store to build awareness of your target audience.
Make sure that all your automation emails are set up and tested, and thus you are planning an email marketing strategy for your first three months. If you don’t have any previous database, you have to build your own custom database of email following your existing customers.
Next, you'll want to make sure that you set up your Google Advertising and Web Analytics accounts before startup. This will allow you to monitor traffic to your store in real-time and to drive traffic via SERP advertising.
Driving traffic to your brand new online clothing shop is really challenging. Email marketing, PPC, content marketing, social media, guest posts on popular blogs and influencers are the main drivers for the traffic of your online clothing business.
You have to focus on Google and social media advertising – particularly Facebook and Instagram – to get potential shoppers to your new online store through search engine optimization(SEO) and email database list.
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