Starting an online clothing business can be a fun side-hustle, especially for fashion-lovers. E-commerce offers anyone the opportunity to start and grow their own company without the technicalities that come with the more traditional, in-person route. It offers convenient accessibility for owners, as well as an affordable alternative to brick-and-mortar stores.
Plus, online shopping has only grown in popularity with how easy and convenient it is for buyers. Moreover, there is no geographic limitations, so an online clothing store in Chicago can sell its products anywhere in the world. In fact, there is no reason for your Chicago online clothing store to be located in Chicago.
As simple as the idea may sound, thinking about starting your own online boutique is very different from actually starting it up. You could imagine hundreds of different scenarios where your brand blows up overnight and you become the next Nordstrom, but getting from point A to point B may not be as easy to do.
Actually starting up the business is a lot more than thinking of a name and making a site. When starting a online clothing store, one must give thought to the aesthetic or brand they want their business to convey. They also have to take into consideration the audience they want to market their clothing brand to and adjust their products accordingly.
Below are some advice and tips on how exactly you could go about starting your online clothing business, but these suggestions can also be applied to any industry that can benefit from using an ecommerce platform.
How to Start an Online Clothing Business From Home
1 – Determine Your Clothing Store’s Niche
To start, you want to determine your niche. Who are your potential customers? Who are you intending to sell to? What aesthetics do you aim to sell in your fashion brand? Taking all of these factors into consideration is vital to the success of your online clothing business, as with that knowledge you can start to create targeted advertisements.
Instead of selling clothes to all different demographics, narrow down your brand so that you can create a line that is unique and stick to one style and group to be seen by that target audience easier.
When deciding this, it is important to pick a niche that you personally are passionate about. If you are most engaged in women’s brunch fashion, then your best bet is to make your clothing line inspired by that aesthetic. You will want to pick a niche that you are familiar with and genuinely love so that you are able to dedicate yourself to your online clothing business.
Picking something you value is the key to success, but so is thoughtfulness towards the direction you want to go in. Make sure the niche you choose for your online clothing business is one that is constantly growing and needing more additions so that you can actually earn from it.
2 – Create a Business Plan
Now that you have a niche decided, the next step in how to start an online clothing business from home is figuring out a business plan for your online clothing store.
A business plan illustrates and maps out how your online clothing business will function. It describes what you hope to accomplish, your company itself, audience demographics, and your plan to compete with other brands in the ecommerce clothing business. Business plans should also have a market analysis that looks at the data and statistics of the marketplace. In this case, that would be online clothing stores specifically for the audience you intend to sell to.
It also looks closely at your competition, particularly what similar brands are doing that you can learn from. It will have a breakdown of all the products and services your online clothing business will have, profit margins, as well as a close look at sales strategies you can explore.
Most importantly, it looks at how funding will be received and how much will be necessary to run your company. It also evaluates financial projects for both the current time period and the future, so you can plan ahead with where you would like to see your online clothing business go.
3 – Decide How to Sell Your Clothes
There are many options for how to start selling the actual clothes on your website. What is important is that you pick the option that works best for your budget. The four most common choices are print on demand, private label clothing, custom cut and sew, and dropshipping.
Print on demand means your online clothing business would print or alter pre-existing clothing based on a customer’s order. This can be completely custom, like them asking you to put their company logo on a shirt. It can also be based on a predetermined selection of designs you may have. Then, after a customer places their order, you or a third-party printer would create the products that they ordered.
Private label businesses partner with an established manufacturer to order unique products that are marketed under their brand. They typically are not designed in-house but instead designed, produced, and then marketed for individual sale by another third-party brand.
The custom cut and sew choice applies to companies that design and sell their own products. This option for your online clothing business is likely more expensive. It will require a significant investment in terms of getting the necessary materials you would need. However, if your main goal is to launch a unique brand that is exclusively your own work, this option may be the best.
Dropshipping for your online clothing business is typically the easiest route. Think of dropshippers as the middlemen. When a specific item is purchased, you as the dropshipper order that item from a third-party company to be delivered to the customer’s door. Many of them work with sites like Wish or Alibaba. Those are two websites that have access to a wide variety of cheap products that can be resold at a markup.
4 – Design Your Website
Now for when the fun can actually start: creating the clothing business site. An e-commerce platform like Shopify or WordPress allows you to directly buy your domain. Shopify may be the quicker and easier option if you want to get it done faster and do not have the time to learn the ins and outs of WordPress. If Shopify is what you decide to use, making sure that SEO is correctly incorporated into it is essential for the clothing business to found.
Next, you can begin designing your website and making it unique to your brand! Create a product page that lists the products and prices, as well as a size chart for shoppers’ ease. There are many easy-to-use templates that can make designing the store happen in just a matter of minutes.
Create an online design is unique to your brand, but also simple enough for people to navigate. Be sure to also include common payment methods – this is the most important part! After all, you want to be paid for your hard work. Offer both credit card and debit card options as well as choices like PayPal and Apple Pay, as online shoppers’ payment methods have only grown to be more diverse in the past years.
How to Start Selling Clothes Online through Advertising
Advertising is essential to establishing your online clothing business. Social media has become a platform that any business can gain and grow on. With the right hashtags and consistency, you will begin to grow the audience you want for your brand.
You should begin by revisiting who your target demographic is. If your clothing business will be geared towards teenage girls, then staying on top of trends and what styles that specific generation wants to see is important. Perhaps Facebook Ads would be the way to go.
The same applies if you want your brand to be aimed towards middle-aged men, for example. Take into consideration their lifestyle, trends, and what features they prioritize when choosing clothes. Whoever you choose to market towards will determine what factors will be the biggest priority, and with that in mind, those points can be advertised to make the brand be seen.
Now with this in mind, you can start to drive traffic to your business. Social ads and Google ads for e-commerce are two ways of advertising that should be your focus to help get you started. Some tips include being mindful of primary keywords, the site’s description, and checking for broken backlinks.
You’ll also want to increase your local search visibility so that you can be found by local buyers. Local search optimization will help your online clothing business appear on result pages for local consumers. With a wide range of strategies and tactics, improving your brand’s local visibility on search engines can be made simple.
Make Your Online Clothing Business Successful
Now after reading how to go about starting your online clothing business, you can decide if starting up your own online clothing business is a commitment you want to follow through with.
When just thinking about it, it is an easy fantasy to imagine having your own personal boutique blow up. However, in reality, it takes dedication, thought, and consistency to truly be successful. Starting an online business can be easy while at the same time being a time-consuming challenge all with its rewards. However, if thought out properly, having this personal business can be an awarding step towards entrepreneurship.
- How do I decide my online clothing store’s niche?
- What is included in a business plan?
- What platforms can I use to design my website?
- How can I advertise my business?
- What is local search optimization?