Online sales reached $8.9 billion on Black Friday this year. Some might see that as disappointing because of the massive increase in 2020.
It actually showed that eCommerce sales are still strong despite people returning to shop in person. It should give you a tremendous amount of confidence if you’re starting an online clothing store.
People are always going to buy online. Your challenge is to create a brand and market an online boutique so people want to purchase from your store.
It’s an increasingly competitive market, but it’s possible with the right plan in place. Read on to learn how to start an online clothing store that people rave about.
1. Visualize Your Online Clothing Business
You might be so excited about starting an online clothing business, you want to jump ahead and get a website up and running as soon as possible.
Hang on for just a bit. You’ll get to the website soon enough. In the meantime, there are things that you need to decide for your business.
What will you sell? Who will buy from you? Why? Where will you get the products from? How will you price the products? How will you fulfill orders?
Part of the business plan is to understand your audience. What kind of clothes are they looking for? Do they want casual clothes or athletic clothes?
Decide your business model. You can do custom clothes that you make yourself and ship to customers. Print on demand lets you create a design and choose the clothing products to sell them on.
These are likely to be t-shirts and hoodies. It depends on what the print-on-demand company has available. The order gets sent to the print-on-demand company, they print the product and ship it to the customer.
Dropshipping is like print-on-demand. Your online clothing store consists of clothes on offer from wholesalers. The order goes directly to the wholesaler, and they take care of the rest.
What’s great about this model is that there are low startup costs and you don’t have to worry about storing inventory. You can also choose a dropshipper that offers products aligned with your brand.
2. Set Up the Business
Setting up the business is as simple as registering it with your secretary of state’s office. You need to create a business name and buy the domain name.
Pick the vendors that fit with your business model. For instance, if you decide that dropshipping is for you, then you need to find a dropship clothing USA company.
If you’re producing the clothing products yourself, you’ll need fabric vendors.
3. Understand Your Obligations
New business owners face a massive surprise every April. They don’t realize that they’re taxed much differently than when they worked for someone else.
You’re responsible for paying estimated taxes during the year if you expect to pay more than $1,000. Employers normally withhold your taxes for you, but since you work for yourself now, it’s up to you to handle your own taxes.
You do get to deduct your business expenses, but you have to maintain records of each expense.
There’s also the issue of sales taxes. Most states require the collection of sales taxes, even if sales take place out of state.
Work with an accountant that understands eCommerce businesses to make sure you take care of your tax obligations.
4. Create the Clothing eCommerce Store
The most exciting part is building your website. This is easy to do through eCommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce.
You pay a monthly fee and a percentage of sales. They have the infrastructure to host your website, the design templates, and payment processing.
If you want more control, take a look at building a WordPress site. This is a better option if you have the tech skills and knowledge. You’ll have to find your own hosting company, but there are plenty of reputable companies out there to work with.
5. Design and Produce Clothing Products
Dropshippers can skip this step. However, fashion designers and print-on-demand business owners need to get to work.
Create your designs by sketching them out first, then create them in graphic design software. This is important for print-on-demand businesses because companies need a high-resolution image to work from.
This is also a great time to test the print-on-demand service. Order a couple of items and see how the overall experience is.
See how fast they deliver the product and how it’s packaged. This is what your customers will experience. If there are any issues, it’s best to discover and resolve them now.
6. Market the Online Boutique
The key to fashion eCommerce success is your digital marketing plan. The most successful brands use a combination of search traffic and social media to grow.
Start a blog on your website that addresses the latest in fashion. You can write about different styles, trends, and must-have accessories.
Social media is a great place to promote your products, but your content has to emphasize the lifestyle aspect. Companies that do nothing but sell their products in each post don’t get people to follow them.
7. Get Reviews and Grow
As you get your first orders, do everything you can to ensure a positive experience. You want to encourage people to write reviews about your business.
People look for reviews when they shop. If your site has that kind of social proof, you’ll be able to grow faster.
Smart Tips for Starting an Online Clothing Store
Starting an online clothing store isn’t always easy. Hopefully, the tips in this article shed some light on what it’s really like to run a business.
If you’re passionate about clothing, have the right business model, and know your audience, you’ll be able to get traffic and grow your business.
Are you ready for more tips to help you market and grow your online boutique? Head over to the Business section of this site for more helpful insights.