In 2018, the online fashion industry generated almost 500 billion US dollars worldwide. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that more and more people want to get their slice of the pie. However, to compete within such a large and prosperous market, you need to stand out from the crowd. That’s where this article will come in handy.
In it, I’m going to give you a step-by-step guide on how to start an online clothing store. I used Shopify to create my online store because I believe it’s the best solution for those who are just starting out. It’s also a great option if you need an intuitive and user-friendly solution.
However, the process of creating a store is almost the same with other website builders, so choose the one that suits you. Here are the steps you should take to build an online clothing business:
- Develop your ideas and study different clothing brands for inspiration
- Create or find your products
- Choose the right eCommerce platform
- Assign a domain to your store
- Personalize your online store
- Add your items and their details to your store
- Give customers all the information they need
1. Develop Your Ideas and Study Different Clothing Brands for Inspiration
Before starting an online clothing business, you need to gather and develop your ideas. In other words, you need to brainstorm. While your final ideas are what will drive your business venture, it’s important you get feedback from creative and business-savvy friends and family.
During this brainstorming session, start by identifying your ideal customer. This will set the basis for your target audience.
Next, ask yourself why you’re starting your clothing business. Do you have a specific goal in mind and if so, what is it? The answer to these questions will allow you to hone in on your unique selling point.
The key to starting an online clothing boutique is to sell the right products. To do this, you can look at other brands online as well as walk around your local stores to see what they’re selling. It’s important you find out what is trending at the moment. This includes both the styles of fashion on sale as well as the materials that pieces are made of and the most popular colors being used.
This area of research will also allow you to create an analysis of your competition. During this stage, identify your competition’s strengths and weakness. Also, don’t forget that attracting customers isn’t just about being better than your competition. You also want to create a brand that is unique and that you enjoy calling your own.
2. Create or Find Your Products
Now that you know which products you want to stock, you need to make or buy them. If you have the skillset, creating your own will ensure that each and every one of your products is one of a kind. However, it’s worth noting that making your own designs is extremely time-consuming. As a result, you may not be able to meet your audience’s demands as your store grows.
If you like the idea of creating your own unique designs you could also recycle old clothing and alter them. These alterations don’t have to cost you a fortune or take up much time. In fact, it could be as simple as adding an embroidery, for example.
Alternatively, you could create your own products when you have time while also working with a dropshipping company to keep your clothing store stocked up. One of the biggest benefits of going down this route is that you don’t have to make any upfront payments. Instead, you place orders with the dropshipping company once your customers have already paid for them.
3. Choose the Right eCommerce Platform
As mentioned above, I used Shopify to create my online clothing store. This is because I believe it is the easiest platform to get started with and grow your business on. It also comes with a 14-day free trial so you can really get to grips with the user interface and features before making any commitments.
While I went with Shopify, there are various other platforms to choose from. Some of the most popular ones include BigCommerce, Volusion, and Wix to name a few. Whichever one you choose, make sure it offers enough space for you to add all of your products. Also, check that it integrates with your preferred payout method.
Now that you know which products you want to sell in your clothing store and you’ve chosen an eCommerce platform to host it, you need to create an account. Creating an account with any of the eCommerce platforms mentioned in this post is easy. That said, you need to establish your needs beforehand to ensure you choose a plan that meets all of them.
The majority of eCommerce solutions offer at least three plans to choose from. Some even differentiate between individuals and business clients. Business plans normally offer more storage space as well as a variety of features that will allow you to streamline your selling process.
4. Assign a Domain to Your Store
Once you’ve signed up, it’s time to personalize your clothing store by assigning it a domain name. Whichever eCommerce solution you go for, this should be quite straightforward. Furthermore, many of these platforms offer a free domain once you sign up for a plan.
With Shopify, you can do this by clicking on the “Domains” tab followed by the “Domains” button. Here, you can buy a new domain, connect an existing one, or transfer one from another website. Whichever option you choose, make sure the name you go for is memorable and aligns with your branding.
5. Personalize Your Online Store
The next step is to choose a theme for your store. Online store builders like Shopify, Wix, and BigCommerce, for example, categorize their themes based on the type of store you're building.
For a clothing store, you'll want to look for categories like 'Fashion' or in the case of Shopify 'Clothing & Fashion'.
Once you've found this category, you can filter your search based on the number of products you plan on uploading as well as the layout you want your store to have. You can also choose between free and paid ones.
6. Add Your Items and Their Details to Your Store
The final step of developing and personalizing your online store is to add your products. Every online store builder will have an individual section in the dashboard dedicated to this process. During this stage, it's essential that you add as many details about your products as possible. how to start an online clothing store.
Note the item description below: it includes all the necessary information for the potential customers.
This will include everything from the titles you want to give your items to a description of their style and the materials they're made of. You also want to include images, pricing, inventory and shipping details, as well as variants for each individual product.
7. Give Customers All the Information They Need
As an online shopper, sometimes it can be difficult to know which is the right size for you. This is especially true if clothes are marked as small, medium, or large. These are the type of details you could add to your store to offer visitors extra value.
Many eCommerce platforms allow you to add different product sizes as well as any additional details from each individual product page.
Dimensions for a specific size, pictures of how the clothes fit on a model, all are very appreciated.
Additional Steps on How to Start an Online Clothing Store
The key to running a successful online clothing store is to reach your audience. Once, you’ve completed all the steps above, make sure to put a marketing plan in place so that you attract the right customers.
Today, online store builders take marketing and SEO very seriously which is why they've integrated tools into their systems to aid you in taking your clothing store to the next level. With Shopify, you can do this by creating marketing campaigns. All you have to do is:
- Click on “Marketing” on your dashboard
- Click on “Create campaign”
- Choose a campaign objective
- Choose between the “Google Shopping” and “Facebook marketing” activities
- Click on “Set up Google Shopping” or “Set up Facebook Marketing” depending on the activity you’ve chosen
- Connect your individual accounts
- Finish by answering questions about your account and target audience
When learning how to start an online clothing store, it’s also important you undertake on-page SEO. Each individual product and website page allows you to add a meta description, target URL, and SEO title. You can also add this information to your blog posts.
Do you have other tips that would be helpful when creating an online clothing shop? If so, I’d love it if you could share them in the comments below!
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