The key to success in the very competitive apparel market lies in factors such as selecting the right clothing niche, providing high-quality customer service, and choosing the most suitable e-commerce solution. Below you will find some of the answers you need if you want to start an online clothing business.
Select a clothing niche
Select a clothing niche is a critical step because it will influence your business plan, potential buyers and how you position your store. It helps to do research on sites like Amazon, AliExpress and Oberlo to get some insights into trending clothing categories. Trend Hunter is another website that collects top trend ideas.
Clothing is an extremely competitive niche and you want your niche to be as specific as possible to achieve success.
Get your products and descriptions ready
When opening an online clothing store, it’s best to start off small and simple. Adding too many products to your catalog may mean you receive too many orders for you to handle when you launch. Delays in delivery result in poor customer service and put your business in a bad light from the start.
Another reason to begin small is that fashion trends change so quickly. Rather choose some basic products to start off with and as your store grows, you can add more variety.
Different clothing store business models
You can choose from four main types of business models for your online clothing store – drop shipping, print-on-demand, custom cut-and-sew and private label. Each has pros and cons and you need to decide what will work best for you.
Drop shipping: This allows you to sell clothing from wholesalers. You don’t have to worry about buying stock upfront or storing, packing or shipping it.
One disadvantage of this model is that it’s difficult to be unique because many others are selling the same products as you. There are also problems of customers being disappointed by not receiving orders in time or at all which is why many online store owners use fulfillment services they can trust.
Print-on-demand: This is another business model that allows you to start quickly with a limited budget. Printify is a well-known print on demand e-commerce website with a wide range of products. Customers can choose from a range of categories and customize products with prints or logos. The main disadvantage of this model is a low profit margin.
Cut-and-sew: If you develop your own brand of clothing, you can create a store that is quite unique and outstanding but it can be very demanding on your time and stretch your management skills to the max.
Private label: You can find a private label manufacturer to make your clothes. It is less work for you than cut-and-saw but allows you a level of uniqueness you don’t have with print-on-demand.
Choose an e-commerce platform
The e-commerce platform you choose will depend on various factors such as traffic volume, stock size and payment gateways.
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin. It comes with a shopping cart and free payment gateway, offering a good way to start if you don’t have many products.
If you expect to have a significant amount of traffic you need to choose a more advanced platform, like Shopify which has several different payment plans. It has a user-friendly admin panel, attractive storefronts and useful add-ons. Another benefit that comes with using Shopify is that you can refer to other shopify stores for inspiration, as it is the leading ecommerce website builder of 2019
Once you have chosen your e-commerce platform, you can start driving traffic to your store. Use free traffic to begin with by sharing on social media and joining groups. You can progress to using paid traffic when you’ve ironed out any bumps and start driving more traffic to your store.