Starting a clothing business online can be a great way to get your small business off the ground. It's essential to understand the basics of how to start an online clothing store, from setting up your ecommerce platform to choosing your inventory. There are a few steps to take before starting your online clothing store and a lot of choices along the way. While you may face stiff competition from leading names in the fashion industry, there are plenty of ways to stand out. Without a storefront or brick-and-mortar store for people to visit, your new business will need an excellent business plan and marketing strategy. Just look at the number one retailer for online fashion, Amazon. They lead the way for other new ecommerce businesses.
We'll walk you through everything you need to know about starting a clothing business online, including tips on marketing and making money with your store. So whether you're just getting started or you're looking for ways to improve your existing online clothing store, read on for our expert advice!
Business Plans for Online Clothing Businesses
The first step in starting any business, especially a fashion business, is creating a business plan. This document outlines your business goals, strategies, and how you plan to make money. Your online clothing store business plan should address the following topics:
Your target market: Who are you selling to?
Your unique selling proposition: What differentiates your online store from the competition?
Your ecommerce platform: How will customers purchase your clothing online?
Your product mix: What type of clothing will you sell?
Your business model: How will you make money with your online store?
Your marketing plan: How will you attract customers to your store?
Once you have a good handle on these topics, you can start developing your business plan. Whether you plan on creating your own clothing brand, print-on-demand, private label, or simply dropshipping, a solid business starts with a solid business plan. If you need help getting started, plenty of online resources and templates are available.
Best eCommerce Platforms
As you're getting started with your online clothing store, one of the first things you'll need to do is choose an eCommerce platform. This can be a daunting task, as there are hundreds of options on the market, and it's hard to know which one is right for your ecommerce store. Will you need to integrate PayPal, or will your platform accept credit cards at checkout? Do they offer domain hosting, or do you need a domain name? When you sell online, it can be hard to know what functionality you'll need in an ecommerce platform.
To narrow down your choices, consider what features are most important to you. For example, if you plan to sell a lot of products, you'll need an ecommerce website that can accommodate a large inventory. Alternatively, you'll need a platform with built-in customization tools if you want to offer your own clothing line or require customers to submit measurements. Once you know what features you need, take a look at our top picks for the best eCommerce platforms for online clothing stores:
Shopify: This is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms on the market, and for good reason. It's easy to use, has a wide range of features, and can be customized to fit your unique needs. Plus, there are plenty of Shopify themes specifically designed for online clothing stores.
WooCommerce: WooCommerce is an excellent option for online clothing stores that are looking for a more affordable platform and already use WordPress. It's an open-source platform, which means it's free to download and use and offers a lot of integrations. However, you will need to pay for hosting, domain name, and other add-ons, such as themes and plugins.
BigCommerce: BigCommerce is another popular eCommerce platform that offers a wide range of features for online stores. It's a bit more expensive than WooCommerce, but it includes everything you need to get started, such as hosting, security, and support. They offer step-by-step guides on how to use their platform, which is helpful.
Squarespace: Squarespace is a great option for online clothing stores that want an easy-to-use platform with beautiful designs. While it doesn't have as many features as some of the other platforms on this list, it's perfect for stores that want to focus on aesthetics. This can definitely help your brand identity and brand name if you use consistent branding through Squarespace.
These are all great options for online clothing stores, but Shopify is our top pick. It's a leading eCommerce platform that's easy to use, has built-in customization tools, and offers a wide range of features to accommodate small and large businesses. Plus, it integrates with several clothing-specific apps (like Fit Analytics) to make running your store even easier. If you're looking for an all-in-one solution for your online clothing store, Shopify is a great option.
How to Choose Clothing Inventory for Your Store
Now that you've chosen an eCommerce platform, it's time to start stocking your online store with high-quality inventory like t-shirts, yoga pants, or hoodies. This can be challenging, as you'll need to find clothing that strikes the right balance between style, quality, and price. You don't want to overspend on inventory, but you also don't want to end up with a bunch of cheap, low-quality items that no one wants to buy. Look at your own clothes, too. Do you own a lot of clothing from a specific clothing line or fashion brand? Think about emulating their style and making it your own.
To find clothing for your store, start by browsing online wholesale directories. These websites list clothing manufacturers and distributors selling bulk products at discounted prices. You can also find clothing wholesalers by searching online directories like Alibaba and Global Sources. When contacting a clothing manufacturer or distributor, ask about minimum order quantities (MOQs) and shipping costs. These factors can impact how much you'll need to spend on inventory, so it's important to get this information upfront. Make sure the price point works for your business model.
Once you've found a few clothing wholesaler providers you're interested in working with, it's time to start placing orders. Start small by ordering a few clothing items from each supplier to see how their products and services meet your needs. Once you've found a few suppliers you're happy with, you can start placing larger orders to build up your inventory.
Marketing Your Clothing Store Online
Now that your online store is up and running, it's time to start marketing your business. This is essential if you want to attract customers and make sales. Luckily, there are a number of ways to market your online clothing store.
One of the best ways to reach potential customers is through online advertising. This is the most critical way to reach your target audience. Through thorough market research, you should already know who your target audience is. Your marketing strategy should include SEO (or Search Engine Optimization), email marketing, and social media marketing.
With online clothing stores, it's imperative to use SEO in product descriptions. SEO uses keywords ranked by Google to dictate how you present your products. Consider starting a blog to increase your content marketing. Using keywords and phrases in your blogs can drive more traffic to your website and, in turn, increase potential customers.
Social media is another powerful marketing tool. Create profiles on popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Then, start sharing your product photos and links to your store. Be sure to use hashtags and other keywords that potential customers are likely to search for. Make sure your business name is catchy and easy to remember.
You can also reach out to fashion bloggers and influencers in your niche. Ask them if they're interested in featuring any of your products on their blog or social media accounts. Influencers often get paid in free merchandise, which can work well for new clothing companies. This can be a great way to get your products in front of a larger audience.
Finally, don't forget about offline marketing techniques. You can promote your online store through print ads, TV commercials, and radio ads. You can also hand out flyers and business cards in local stores and events.
Making Sales and Growing Your Business
Now that your online store is up and running, it's time to start making sales. The best way to do this is by offering a great selection of high-quality products at competitive prices. You should also offer excellent customer service and make sure your store is easy to navigate. Once you make your first few sales, you'll be able to evaluate your profit margins and see if your current marketing strategy is paying off.
Once you start making sales, it's crucial to reinvest that money back into your business. This will help you grow your online clothing store and make even more sales in the future. Use some of your profits to buy new inventory, invest in marketing, and hire additional staff if needed. Every startup reinvests in itself to grow.
With a little hard work and dedication, you can turn your own online clothing store into a successful ecommerce business. Just remember to start small, focus on marketing strategy, and always offer excellent customer service. If you do these things, you'll be well on your way to success.