If you are passionate about fashion and want to start your own business, then an online clothing store might be for you. It is a relatively easy business to start up, and with a few simple steps, you can be on your way to success.
In this article, we will walk you through 10 easy steps to help you get started.
But before that, let’s look at some numbers.
In 2022, the retail e-commerce sales from apparel and accessories sales in the U.S. alone touched $180.5 billion. That’s not all, according to Statista, this could increase to $295.7 billion by 2025.
So yes, this is the right time to start an online clothing store.
But why online?
We are used to showing up at a front desk of a clothing store, trying out, and walking away with our shopping bags. But that is changing.
In fact, online apparel retail accounts for at least 46% of all apparel sales in the US.
If you are wondering why, here are some of the reasons why online clothing stores are winning:
Selling clothes online is more convenient than selling them offline. With an online store, you can reach a larger audience and sell your clothes to people all over the world.
You also don’t have to worry about renting space for a physical store or hiring staff to work in it.
b). Reach a wider audience
Another one of the main advantages of selling clothes online is that you have the potential to reach a much wider audience than you would if you were selling offline.
This is because there are no geographical boundaries when selling online, whereas selling in physical stores is confined to a certain location.
Additionally, online marketplaces usually have a larger selection of items than physical stores, so buyers are more likely to find what they’re looking for.
c). Less overhead costs
Overhead costs for online stores are lower because they don’t have to pay for physical storefronts and inventory.
This means that online shoppers can often find better deals on clothing and other items.
d). Multiple marketing channels
Another big advantage is that online clothing stores have access to multiple marketing channels. This gives them a big leg up on brick-and-mortar stores who are limited to just one or two marketing channels.
Some of the most popular channels include search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing.
By using a combination of these channels, online stores can reach a large number of potential customers.
Another big advantage of marketing online is that it is very easy to track results. With traditional marketing methods, it can be difficult to tell if a campaign is actually working.
But with online campaigns, businesses can use analytics tools to track how many people are seeing their ads, clicking on them, and making purchases.
How to start an online clothing store
Now that you know what’s in store for you moving online, here are some steps you can take now to establish a solid foundation for your eCommerce business.
Define your clothing niche
When starting an online clothing store, the first step is to pick a niche.
A niche is a specific style or category of clothing that you specialize in selling.
For example, you could sell vintage clothes, preppy clothes, or sporty clothes.
But how did you arrive at this?
How do you choose which niche to go with?
First, think about what kind of clothes you like to wear. Do you have a specific style that you always gravitate towards? If so, that might be a good place to start.
Secondly, consider what kinds of clothes are popular right now. What are people looking for?
Once you have an idea of what kind of clothes you want to sell and what people are looking for, you can narrow down your options and decide on a niche.
Decide on the best business model
Now that you know what niche to engage in, the next step is to start thinking about the eCommerce model to go with. That said, here are some of the most popular right now:
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to get started, then it is advisable to choose the dropshipping model. This is where you sell products that are shipped directly from the supplier.
Dropshipping has low startup costs as you do not need to invest in inventory upfront.
b). Manufacturing your own products
Another eCommerce business model option is manufacturing your own products.
This will require more investment as you will need to set up a factory and hire staff.
However, manufacturing your own products gives you more control over quality and branding.
c). Private label
The private label model is where you sell products that are manufactured by another company but branded with your own brand.
This can be a good option if you want to get started quickly and do not have the time or resources to manufacture your own products.
d). Affiliate marketing
And then there is affiliate marketing.
I know it is hard to believe it can be a business model for your online store.
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is where you promote other people’s products and earn a commission on each sale. This can be a good option if you are looking to start an eCommerce business with low startup costs.
All you have to do is find an established clothing store and join their partners’ program.
This one works almost the same as dropshipping, but you won’t be handling any money from your end.
e). White label
White label products are those that are manufactured by one company and then sold under another company’s brand.
You can take this route for your online clothing store if you want to get started quickly and do not have the time or resources to manufacture your own products.
Print-on-demand is a type of eCommerce business where you sell custom-printed products.
Here, you only print and ship apparel whenever there’s an order.
This can be a good option if you are looking to start an eCommerce apparel business with low startup costs as you do not need to invest in inventory upfront.
g). Subscription boxes
Subscription boxes is another type of eCommerce model gaining popularity right now.
Here, the customers receive a box of products on a monthly or weekly basis.
And it is a perfect business model if you have a product that people would want to receive on a regular basis.
Once you have settled on your most preferred model, move to the next step on how to start an online clothing store.
Choose your eCommerce platform
You will need a platform to build and manage your clothing store online, and that is where the eCommerce platform comes in.
Luckily, there are many platforms available to choose from when you want to build an online store.
But before you settle on one, you need to consider what your business’s needs are and what features are most important to you. Some platforms are better for certain businesses than others. Do your research to find the best platform for your business.
To get you started, here are some of the best tools you can use to build your next online clothing store comfortably.
Shopify is a popular eCommerce platform that has everything you need to get started with online selling. It offers a wide range of features and tools, and it’s easy to use. Shopify also has great 24/7 customer support.
Another popular option is WooCommerce. It is a WordPress plugin that turns your WordPress website into an online store.
This one is very customizable and has a lot of features.
But unlike Shopify, you need to have your own hosting space and a domain name to use this online store platform.
However, it can be difficult to use if you’re not a developer or have limited coding knowledge.
If you are looking to set up an online store quickly and easily, OLITT is the platform for you. In just a few minutes, you can create a professional-looking store that’s ready to start taking orders.
There is no need to worry about design or coding – OLITT takes care of all of that for you.
And if you need any help along the way, our friendly support team is always happy to assist.
I will show you exactly how to use it in the next step on how to start an online clothing store.
Build your online store brand
Now that you have picked the right platform that will be the home to your online clothing store, it is time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
a). Register a domain name
Before you begin anything, your clothing store needs a website name! Here are some tips to pick the best name:
- Keep it short and sweet! A shorter domain name is easier for customers to remember.
- Make it relevant to your brand. If your store specializes in selling vintage clothes, try to incorporate that into your domain name.
- Avoid using hyphens or numbers. These can be confusing for customers and make your domain name harder to remember.
- Brainstorm with friends or family members. Sometimes it helps to get some input from others when you’re stuck on finding the perfect name.
Once you’ve settled on a few possible names, do a quick search online to see if they’re available as domains.
Luckily, OLITT allows you to register a domain name! And it is even cheaper than any other domain registrars out there.
b). Pick a store template and customize the design
Once you have a name for your store, you need to pick a store template. You see, OLITT comes with 100s of professionally-designed templates.
All you have to do is browse, pick one, and start customizing.
First, head over to https://olitt.com/ and click on create a free website. You will be required to create an account, so go ahead and do that.
Once in, the next step is to pick a template.
This should be easy because OLITT has grouped all its templates under categories. As such, you will find best eCommerce templates under the online store category.
Once you find the right template, click on create.
But there’s something here, the gold badge at the bottom right. This means that the template is only available under the premium account.
This brings us to this:
OLITT has two plans, free and paid. The paid plan starts at $29.99 per year. With it, you get access to:
- Free hosting
- Unlimited Storage
- 1 Free domain (when paid yearly)
- 1 Shop Template
- Connect Multiple Custom Domains
- Ticket & Live Chat support
- SEO & Marketing tools, among other perks
Anyhow, moving on, now it’s time to create your online clothing store.
In your home dashboard, click on create shop.
From here, you can choose any template from the list.
The template you picked earlier only works for websites, but not online stores. This means that you need to select a premium template exclusively for your store.
Once done, proceed to customize it with texts, images, and colors related to your brand.
c). Upload products and create descriptions
Assuming you have already installed the template for your online store, there are still a few more important steps to take before you can start selling.
OLITT makes it easy to add products to your online store. You can either add them one at a time or in bulk. To add a product:
- Go to Products > Add product.
- Enter a title and description for your product.
- Choose whether the product is physical or digital, then select Save product.
Product descriptions are important because they give potential customers more information about what they are buying.
A good description should be concise and include relevant keywords so that customers can easily find your products when they are searching online.
d). Set up payment methods
You need a way to receive payments whenever there’s an order. OLITT supports a variety of payment systems including PayPal, Stripe, and Flutterwave.
e). Test the store shopping experience
Before launching your online store, it is important to test the shopping experience. This means creating a test account and going through the process of adding items to your cart, checking out, and returning items.
By doing this, you can identify any areas where customers may have difficulty and make changes accordingly.
At the same time, it is a good idea to ask friends or family members to go through the same process so that you can get feedback from multiple perspectives.
By taking these steps, you can ensure that your online store is ready for launch and that customers will have a positive experience shopping with you.
And now your online clothing store is ready to receive its first order!
Market your store
There are a few ways to do this:
a). Use social media ads
Social media is the most powerful marketing tool you have at your disposal. Facebook ads can help you target a very specific audience and get your message across to them. You can also use Twitter ads and Instagram ads to reach out to potential customers.
b). Use email marketing
Email marketing is another great way to reach out to potential customers. You can use it to promote new products, special offers, and events. You can also use it to keep in touch with your existing customers and build relationships with them.
c). SEO your store
Make sure your store is optimized for search engines so that people can find it easily when they search for products or services that you offer. Use relevant keywords in your titles and descriptions, and make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
d). Use traditional advertising
You can also use traditional methods such as print ads, TV commercials, and radio ads to reach out to potential customers.
e). Reach out to influencers
There are many influencers on social media who have a large following. You can reach out to them and ask them to promote some products on your online clothing store.
In conclusion, starting an online clothing store can be a great way to earn extra income or even start a new career.
By following the steps outlined in this article, you can get started on your way to success.
Just remember to research the competition, create a unique brand, and offer quality products and excellent customer service.
With a little hard work and dedication, you can be running a successful online clothing store in no time.