How to start online store clothing: A successful store depends on the niche you choose, the branding you create, the quality of your clothing products, your site, the customer service you provide, and fulfilment strategies.
Just because a niche is popular doesn’t mean you have instant access to potential customers. In fact, the opposite is true. With increasing popularity comes increasing pressure to differentiate your store from the millions of others already online.
Steps: How to start online store clothing
Step 1: Choose Your Online Clothing Niche
Before you can choose your products, you need to decide which apparel or clothing niche you want to sell in. Choosing your niche ensures you choose products and create your whole clothing line business plan around the type of potential shoppers you want to appeal to and ultimately ensures you are able to position your store in a unique way.
The trick is to be very specific and really drill down your niche, as this will enable you to identify and market to your potential shoppers more easily. This will also help you develop your product list to appeal to your specific target market, allowing you to limit your competition and increase your chances of customer loyalty long-term.
An awesome example of this is the online apparel store HUMAN. Their niche? Pop culture. How do they cater to it? By using bold humor: a unique expression that appeals to what they call ‘pop culture nerds.’ And what appeals to potential shoppers in this niche? Not fancy chiffon skirts or name-brand shoes, but tees, hoodies, and socks.
Choose Your Online Clothing Store Products
Once you have a clothing niche, it’s time to choose your products. Will you be selling short-sleeve shirts or dresses? The clothing and apparel market is almost infinite, and you can be sure there are a bunch of options within the niche you’re selling in.
However, if you’re tempted to jump in and sell everything, this could be your undoing before you’ve even started. When you’re starting an online store, it’s always advised to start off small and slow and then branch out your lines as you grow.
1. Start Small
As Mrs Bow Tie did, start small and simple as you get your product list off the ground. Adding too many products upfront will not only add extra admin costs every step of the way – from product photo shoots to web setup – but it can add complications when you first launch. Complications can affect the service you give, and as a new store in a very competitive market, customer service, or the lack thereof, can make or break your clothing line business.
2. Think Ahead
As we know, fashion and clothing fads are ever-changing. Choose stable products at first that can be easily changed to suit the changing styles, such as bow ties or t-shirts as shown above. If you do decide to go more mainstream fashion, plan for the changing styles by creating a store that adapts, such as dropshipping orders, which will ensure you’re not stuck with unsellable stock. Ultimately, in the clothing game, there will always be shifts, so success will depend on your ability to think ahead and be innovative and creative in dealing with the changes.
3. Set Your Focus
Yes, be as specific and narrow as you can at the beginning, but have an eye on the end goal. Think about where you see your online clothing brand extending in the future, and make sure that you’re focusing on the end goal. This will ensure that, as you add products to your range or line and grow your store in your niche, you will be able to implement new or trending products onto your store more seamlessly.
Step 3: Choose Your Online Clothing Store Business Model
Now that you know your niche and have an idea of the types of products you want to sell, it’s time to pick an online clothing business model for your online clothing store business. This is where you decide if you using a clothing manufacturer, white labeling, or opting for dropshipping to build your clothing company.
Step 4: Outline Your Online Clothing Store Business Plan
You have your niche, products, and business model; it’s time to outline your business plan. You should be outlining your:
- Market (drilling down your potential shoppers into segmented markets or fashion audiences)
- Products (deciding what makes them unique)
- Biggest competitors (listing your top competitors)
- Online business model/fulfilment strategies
- Brand identity/clothing company description (how you want your target market to view your fashion store brand)
Step 5: Creating Your Online Clothing Store
Now comes the fun part: creating your online store.
The first thing you will need is your domain. We suggest buying this separately upfront as soon as you have your main idea. You want to make sure that the domain is still available after designing your range and building your site. For this, we would recommend Namecheap
Step 6: Launching Your Online Clothing Store
Once your products are in place, online business plan is set up, fulfillment is organized and site is done, it’s time to launch your online clothing store. Here are some launch tips to help you get started.
1. Define Your Launch Strategy
Are you going to run a promotion? Do a Facebook Live video? Use an existing email database to push teaser mailers? Whatever strategy you decide on, have it in place to roll out step by step as you launch. This should include tasks such as proofreading and testing your whole store’s functionality before launching.
2. Prepare Your Social Accounts
Before you launch your site, make sure your social media account pages are set and ready. In fact, have these active – with content – before your big launch. This will enable you to run your social media ads with the launch and market your new store to an already-growing following. And don’t forget your content marketing plan to encourage engagement and brand loyalty from your fashion audiences.
3. Have Your Email Marketing Strategy and Automation in Place
Make sure all your automation emails are set up and tested and that you have an email marketing strategy planned out for your first three months.
4. Make Sure Your Google Analytics and Google Ads Accounts are Set-Up
Next, you will want to ensure that you have set up your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts before launching. This will enable you to track traffic to your store during your launch in real-time and drive traffic through SERP ads.
5. Build Your Clothing Store Marketing Strategy(How to start online store clothing)
You will want your marketing strategy in place before, during, and after the launch of your online clothing business. A good eCommerce marketing strategy should include a variety of channels and approaches. This includes your:
- Content marketing strategy (which includes social media account posts, UGC, a fashion blog for your eCommerce website, influencer marketing; etc.)
- PPC marketing strategy (which includes all your Google, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube pay-per-click ads)
- Email marketing strategy (cart abandonment emails, promotional emails, weekly newsletters, subscriber growth strategies, etc.)
- SEO marketing strategy (blog and website content and optimization)
Step 7: Bringing Traffic to Your Online Clothing Store(How to start online store clothing)
The last step? Bringing traffic to your newly-launched online clothing store. The biggest traffic drivers are email marketing, PPC, content marketing, social media, guest posts on popular blogs, and influencers.
For a new store without a fashion brand name, established SEO, or email database list, you will want to concentrate on Google Ads for eCommerce and social media ads – particularly Facebook and Instagram – to get potential shoppers to your new store. but not any potential shoppers, your key target market audience. Here are the 5 Best Ways to Increase eCommerce Traffic to get you started.
You will also want to look to leading fashion examples for inspiration such as:
- Beyond Retro (vintage clothing label)
- Beautiful Disaster
- Envy Stylz
- BlackMilk Clothing
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For that very reason, I came up with a shortlist of online clothing shops – fifteen to be exact – that I believe are the best places to spend your hard-earned cash (or your parents’ *wink wink*). So whether you’re a fashionista searching for the latest trends or just need a good place to buy some tried and true basics, scroll down for some of the best teen clothing stores to shop right now.