How to Start An Online Clothing Store

October 20, 2022
Reading time9 minutes
Jaqueline Corradi
Jaqueline Corradi
Content Manager

If you are an entrepreneur focused on the fashion industry, you may wonder how to start an online clothing store. Opting for selling on the internet, instead of having a physical store can save you money since you don't have to rent a place and you have different business models that make it easier to start. 

However, building an online clothing store presents challenges, and requires planning and developing strategies considering the particularities of the internet.  The good news is that you will enter a growing market.

According to a Statista report, the apparel and accessories retail ecommerce revenue in the US is expected to reach  295.7 billion dollars in 2025. Check out the article to know more about it. 

6 Steps How to Start An Online Clothing Store

1. Define Who Your Target Audience Is

One of the first steps when it comes to how to start an online clothing store is defining who is going to be your target audience and the niche you will focus on. There are plenty of options, and it will depend on the type and variety of products you will sell.

For example, you can create an online clothing store that sells only band t-shirts. In this case, you are targeting a more specific niche, which means your public isn't going to be as big as an ecommerce that sells from socks to suits, but you will deal with less competition. 

Some brands sell only party dresses, wedding gowns, jeans, and so on. It will depend on the path you wish to follow, and the type of business you aim to create. The process of defining your niche is completely connected with deciding what products are going to be available in your store. 

For instance, if you will only sell suits, your niche can't be people who are looking for casual clothes. Also, how you source your products affects the niche you will be focusing on.

If you are going to develop a line of clothes totally created by your brand, from the design to the piece production, you can target people who are looking for exclusivity and want to know the origin of the products they buy.  

Once you have your niche well-defined, it's easier to determine the characteristics of your target audience. Research their preferences and main traits to understand their online shopping behavior, and build strategies that meet their needs. 

2. Select the Products You Will Sell

The image shows several clothes on a rack and a woman looking to a smartphone and holding a turtle neck shirt in fron of it.

After you have decided what your niche and who your target audience is, the next step in how to start an online clothing store is to determine which products you will commercialize. Are you going to sell dresses, skirts, pants, shirts, and t-shirts, or sell just one type of product? Is your ecommerce going to have women's and men's departments? 

You also have to take into consideration if you will sell accessories and footwear. The niche you have chosen to aim at will help you to evaluate the best choices of products to put in your store. Remember to ponder the capital you have to invest, the product sources, and the business model. 

You can sell a variety of clothes and accessories but at the beginning of the business, it's advised to put fewer types of products available. As your online store grows, and you become more experienced in the fashion industry, you can amplify the range of items. When selecting the products, remember that fashion trends change fast, as the clothing demands, according to the seasons.  

3. Develop a Business Plan

Having a well-developed business plan is essential to diminish risks and avoid problems when starting an online clothing store. It should contain:

  • Executive summary: present your company and what it is about;
  • The mission and values of the company;
  • Short and long-term goals;
  • Market analysis;
  • Target audience analysis;
  • Business model;
  • How your company is going to be structured;
  • Financial projections;
  • Sales channels.

4. Define How You Are Going to Source the Products

You have several options to source your products, manufacture them your own, buy from one or more suppliers, or implement the dropshipping model. 

Manufacture The Products

This business model is called custom cut and sew in the fashion industry. It's recommended for entrepreneurs who want to create their own line of clothes, design the pieces and produce them. Your company is going to be responsible for the whole process, from manufacturing to delivering the products.

To set the delivery time on your online clothing store take into account the time you will take to manufacture the items. Also, you need to analyze the prices of the raw materials, research the market to find the best suppliers, and know the cost of having your own team of seamstresses and other employees. 

Buy From Suppliers

In this business model, you will buy the piece of clothes ready from the suppliers and add your label to it. So, you won't be in charge of the manufacturing process, you will need to partner with one or more suppliers, and take care of the deliveries as well.

Dropshipping 

When it comes to how to start an online clothing store with a small capital, the dropshipping business model can be the most indicated for you. In this business model, you will only be responsible for managing the sales and promoting your store, the dropship partners will be the ones in charge to take care of the products, packaging, and delivering them. 

5. Build a Website

The image show website pages scratches

To have an online clothing store, you can sell on marketplaces like Amazon, and  eBay, which already have a well established website, and its own customers. You can also use social media platforms to sell, like Instagram, and WhatsApp. And, you can have your own website too.

It's possible to sell on multiple platforms and controlling every channel through CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software). It's interesting to put your products available in more than one place because you have a higher chance to reach a bigger audience.

Building a website is very important, besides being a sales channel that you have complete control over,  it gives credibility to your brand. It's like the home for your brand on the internet, and it needs to convey a good impression, be aligned with your brand's identity, and offer great user and customer experience. 

But, how to do that? You can build a website from scratch or use a website builder, which will make your life much simpler since it doesn't require you to be an expert in coding or design. You may follow these steps:

Choose a Website Builder

There are several website builders available that are easy to use and offer you multiple features. For example, many of them include pre-built templates with responsive design, automatic inventory management, and SEO tools. Take a look at them and choose the website builder that suits your needs best.

Buy a Domain Name

The domain name is how people are going to find your website, it's your address. You can have it for free, but usually, the domain comes with the provider's name, and the best is to have a simple and easy-to-remember website address. For example, www.youronlinestorename.com, avoid inserting numbers or special characters. 

Develop the Pages of Your Website

After choosing the best website builders and with your domain name guaranteed, it's time to create the website pages. You should have a home page, an about us section, and a page for each product and its categories. 

This way the customer can browse through different sections, like "dresses", and "t-shirts", and get to know more about your brand as well. When creating the website, keep in mind that it must be user-friendly. People should be able to easily and quickly navigate through the pages, and find what they are looking for. 

Include the Products on The Website

Once the design of the pages is developed, and you have inserted the content on each one, you have to upload the products to the online store. When the subject is clothes, pictures really play a decisive role in whether a customer will buy the product or not.

Make sure to post high-quality photos of every product. Pay attention to the description as well, write the measures and highlight the main characteristics of the items, and show the customer why they should buy it. 

Test All the Features

Before launching the website, make sure that it's running smoothly. Test all the pages, the load speed, and the buttons. Providing a good user experience will help you turn leads into customers. When someone accesses your website, they should find it simple and fast to complete a purchase, otherwise, they may give up on it. 

6. Develop Marketing Strategies

How are you going to promote your online clothing store? What are the actions your company will take to reach your target audience and conquer visibility? That's where the marketing strategies come in. 

Analyze where your target audience is. Which social media channels do they use? Create a social profile on them and post high-quality content that speaks to your potential customers' demands. You can create ads too, and post them on other websites, on Google, Facebook, Twitter, and much more. 

But, keep in mind that each one of these channels requires a different ad format, and develop specific strategies for every campaign. Besides, your marketing strategies should also include SEO best practices. This means optimizing your pages so they can be on the first search result pages of search engines like Google, which gives you visibility and helps increase page traffic. 

Keep Improving Your Online Clothing Store

After you have learned how to start an online clothing store, and launched your business, remember it doesn't mean the planning work is over. On the contrary, keep your eye on the metrics, and set key performance indicators that will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses inside your store, to continuously improve and increase your revenue.

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