If you love fashion and want to start your own online clothing store, you’re in luck! The rise of e-commerce platforms - like Shopify - has made it increasingly easy for people to start and run their own online business from anywhere in the world.
However, there’s a big difference between thinking about starting an online clothing store and actually doing it. This guide will help you through the process - you’ll have your online clothing store up and running in no time!
Starting an online clothing store
Starting a business is a daunting task - there are so many decisions to make and things to get done. However, this guide will help you get your store off the ground.
Choose your clothing niche
Our clothing is an extension of our personalities and allows us to express who we are to the world. Thus, as an online clothing retailer, you need to understand that you won’t be able to target every single person. Like any good business, you need to decide who your target customers will be and ensure that you offer them a product that appeals to them.
When it comes to choosing your clothing niche, there are four general considerations you should take into account:
- Create something incredibly unique - There are thousands of e-commerce clothing stores out there. So, if you want to have any hope of becoming a successful online clothing store, you need to produce goods that stand out from the crowd.
- Choose a niche that you’re passionate about - As with most things in life, it’s much easier to get behind a cause that you’re passionate about, and the same should be said for your clothing business. If you love comfortable, hippie-style clothing, then creating and selling high-fashion items is unlikely to keep you excited about your business in the long run. So, before deciding what you’re going to sell, think about what types of clothing you love wearing or trying on when you’re out shopping.
- Choose a niche where you can position yourself and your brand as an authority - For this, you’ll either need to position your brand based on your personal background or analyse the market and determine where the gaps exist and how you can fill them.
- Ensure that your chosen niche has good earning potential - If you’re thinking of selling the same old thing as numerous other clothing retailers, you’re unlikely to realise high-profit margins any time soon. Rather choose a clothing niche where you can establish a unique value proposition as this will help you grow quickly and realise a good profit.
Create a business plan
A business plan serves as a throughout framework for a successful business. This will lay out how you aim to operate your business and includes elements such as an executive summary, company description, market and competitor analysis, the marketing strategies you will employ and much more.
However, one of the most important things you’ll consider at this stage is what business model you will follow. Within the e-commerce clothing sector, there are generally four options:
- Print on demand - This type of clothing retailer generally adds prints or alters pre-existing clothing.
- Custom cut and sew - These online retailers sell products that they’ve designed. Some businesses make the clothing themselves, which tends to be costlier, whilst others outsource their manufacturing.
- Private label clothing - A private label clothing brand will partner with a manufacturer, order customer products from them, and then sell the items under their own private label.
- Dropshipping - A dropshipper acts as a type of coordinator. When a customer orders an item, the dropshipper with then order the product from a third party who delivers the products directly to the customer.
Which E-commerce platform will you use?
E-commerce platforms are essential as they allow you to easily showcase your product offering to customers. There are many platforms out there, but you’ll want to weigh up the pros and cons of each to ensure you select the right platform for your business.
When contemplating which platform is right for your business, you’ll need to consider things like how much support you think you’ll need, do you have the technical know-how needed to create and run a site, as well as affordability.
Find a domain name
Your domain name will serve as identification for your hostname, which appears as an element of your URL. This should ultimately be something that’s easy to remember and access.
Don’t choose lengthy names that are difficult to spell, as this will make it difficult for customers to find your store or share it with others. You also want to choose a name that can be scaled as your business grows - consider your business goals when thinking about this. And, of course, the name should be unique so that it stands out in the marketplace.
What template will you use for your online clothing store?
Now it’s time to design your clothing store. Luckily, most e-commerce platforms have numerous templates for you to customise and use. Ultimately, you should create an e-commerce site that is user friendly, easy for customers to navigate and stays true to your brand.
Navigation is a very important factor to get right. If you have too much going on with multiple menus and drop-downs, you’ll leave your customers confused and overwhelmed. This will likely result in customers having a poor user experience and abandoning your shop.
Lastly, the checkout process cannot be ignored. This is the final phase of the customers purchasing journey, and you don’t want your customers to abandon their shopping cart simply being your checkout process is difficult to use. To make this simpler, you should accept various payment options, keep everything on one screen and accept auto-fill details where possible.
Add products to your online store
Now, this is one of the trickier parts of this process. When adding product listings, you’ll have to consider elements such as your product description and images.
- Product description - This is the primary space for improving your business SEO practices and ensuring you drive traffic to your e-commerce store. Furthermore, the product description is where you tell your customers about your product and the benefits it can offer them. Therefore, your product description should include targeted keywords as well as descriptive language.
- Product display - The images you upload are a visual aid for customers to look at when deciding whether to purchase your product. Thus, you should be uploading several high-quality pictures that highlight your product from different angles. In addition, it’s best to take pictures of models wearing your clothing as this will give customers a good idea of how it may look on them.
Publish your online store and start marketing
Now that you’ve got your e-commerce clothing store going, it’s time to market and get customers on your site. To do this, you must employ clever marketing strategies. Some of the best marketing tools to get you started are email marketing, social media marketing and content marketing.