More and more people are buying clothes, shoes and accessories online, besides other things. Statistics state that retail e-commerce is one of the most profitable ones. So, if you’ve always dreamed of owning a fashion store – now is the ideal time to make your dream come true. Perhaps you’ve never thought of owning an online retail store, but a typical brick-and-mortar one, however, times and needs change.
Whether it’s brick-and-mortar or online, it is still a fashion store. Nevertheless, starting an online clothing business differs slightly from starting a traditional one. We’ve compiled these steps to help you start your online fashion store.
When thinking about starting a fashion store, you should start with choosing a niche. Then, you should find products to sell and set the prices. After you have finished with that, you should consider and opt for a suitable business model. Outlining a business plan should follow. Only when you have completed all the previously mentioned steps you can create and launch your store. The last step is about advertising and bringing traffic to your store.
1. Choose a niche
Starting an online clothing store implies much more than merely buying a domain and placing an ad. The first step toward a successful online retail store is choosing a niche. The factors such as branding, the quality of your products as well as the site and customer service all impact your overall business success. However, merely choosing a popular niche doesn’t guarantee revenue. On the contrary, by choosing a niche there is a high demand for, there is even more pressure. You need to make yourself stand out from all the competitors.
You should think about what kind of products you’d like to sell. Choosing a niche will help you create your business plan around certain products, aimed at a specific target group. For example, you can go for street fashion, trending fashion, and vintage fashion. Whatever you decide to go for, it would be best to find fashion wholesale items. Purchasing them in bulk is more profitable.
2. Find products to sell
When you have decided on the niche, you should start searching for products to sell. As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, try to find reputable wholesale vendors. Search for them online, read reviews and ask fellow online retail business owners. When searching, think about what kinds of products you’d like to sell in your online store. The fashion industry contains a vast number of different types of clothing items.
For starters, it would be best if you included a few types only. Consider whether you’d like to sell male or female cloth, short sleeves, long sleeves, winter, summer clothes, and so on. The options are countless. Start small and then expand your online fashion store with more items. The three best pieces of advice within this step include starting small, thinking ahead and setting your focus.
3. Opt for a suitable business model
The next step in starting your online retail store is about choosing a suitable business model for you. If you know little about your options regarding this step, you should find out about them online. Some options include using a clothing manufacturer, dropshipping, white labeling or building your own clothing company. When it comes to the retail business models, there are four categories and they include:
- Private label
- Custom cut-and-sew
Each of these business models has its pros and cons. You should find out about each of them to see which one is best for you. Consider your ultimate business goals, budget, as well as your skills.
4. Outline a business plan
With the three steps of choosing a niche, finding products to sell and opting for a suitable business model, you can move to outlining a business plan. A typical business plan consists of a few key aspects. These include the market and the potential shoppers, the products and what makes them unique. Also, you should consider your biggest competitors and list them as well.
The retail business plan should also include various fulfilment strategies for the model and information about the brand identity. We should put focus on brand identity as it is key to growing your business in a highly competitive world. It implies much more than a logo and a name. It also means creating a specific and unique, distinguishable voice, feel and look for your fashion brand.
E-commerce strategy is all about figuring out where your customers will be coming from and what makes your products appealing to them. During this phase, you should also consider your pricing, with costs in mind.
5. Create and launch your online store
And now we can move to the fun part – creating and launching your online store. Up to this moment, you perhaps didn’t even have the feeling that you were starting a business. The first sub-step in this big step is buying a domain. You can do that even sooner, as soon as you have figured out your niche. In that way, you can ensure that the domain you need is available. There are different ways you can buy the domain.
When you finish doing that, you need to choose a suitable platform and a theme for your store. Don’t take this lightly – it is surely one of the most important steps to take. The website, its design and user-friendliness are all factors equally important as the products themselves. Some of the most popular platforms include Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce and Wix. Read about some launching tips before you actually launch it – they will helo you do it in the right way.
6. Advertise and bring traffic to your store
Now that you have everything sorted out, it’s time to consider the best ways to adverse and bring traffic to your website. If you have a great website with quality products, but no people buying them, what’s the point? That’s why it’s best to hire professionals to do the advertising for you. It is an investment well worth the money. There are some great local SEO methods to drive traffic to your website.
Starting an online retail store is fun, creative and challenging at the same time. In order to do everything right and succeed ultimately, you need to prepare well.