Starting an online clothing store: 10 things to consider

When starting an online clothing company, it’s easy to get bogged down in procuring or manufacturing great products to sell. Without a well-thought-out online store, however, you won’t have the ability to sell your products effectively to your target audience. Below, we’ve outlined ten key considerations for anyone about to start an online store.
Bucketfeet Website

Planning and Strategy

  • 1. Customers– Where will your traffic come from? One of the biggest mistakes made by new entrepreneurs is failing to identify a target audience. Once identified, your target market will influence every movement you make with your online store going forward. In this post, Entrepreneur shares some key questions for entrepreneurs to ask themselves before identifying a target audience.
  • 2. Differentiation– After identifying a target audience, think: why will this audience order from me? The online clothing and fashion industries are especially competitive, and behemoths like Zappos and control large swaths of the online space. That’s not to say there isn’t room for another entrant, but all new online fashion stores must architect a comparative advantage.
  • 3. Shipping– As we mentioned in our last post, customers have come to expect free shipping; brands that don’t offer free or low-cost options risk shopping cart abandonment. You’ll also want to determine what your store return policy will be; many top fashion stores online offer free returns. Ideally, you should calculate shipping and return costs, then factor that price into your margins.
  • 4. Backend functionality— Before you think about the specific platforms and development assistance you’ll need for your fashion store, you ought to consider the processes you might need to use on a daily basis. Hours of planning now can save you days of menial processes in the future. For example, how will you fulfill your orders? If you’re holding inventory, what will be the flow from when a customer places an order to his/her receipt of that order?
  • 5. Specials and Promotions– How do you plan to create demand at low points in your sales cycle? Will you do buy one get offers? Have a subscription plan to stabilize revenue? The types of discounts and specials you plan to offer will affect the complexity of the eCommerce platform and subsequent development you need.

Launching your Website

  • 6. eCommerce Platform— A few weeks back, I wrote about four potential online store platforms for new business owners. For fashion stores, I would typically recommend a Magento buildout. Most of FarShore’s fashion clients, including Bucketfeet, Boga, and Stock Manufacturing Co., are built on Magento. Shopify is an option for small upstarts, but will not enable customization as your eCommerce brand grows.
  • 7. Mobile design– By the end of this year, more than a quarter of the world’s population will use a smartphone (eMarketer).  Nearly half of all online retail traffic now comes from mobile devices (IBM). Clearly, optimization of your online fashion store for mobile is incredibly important. At the very least, you should plan to create a website that is responsive. As you grow, you may want to consider developing a native mobile app.
bucketfeet responsive site

Responsive design optimizes content based on screen size.

  • 8. Product Photography— One of the most frequently forgotten aspects of building an online fashion brand is product photography. Most customers won’t have anything to go off of other than how your products are portrayed in images online. Services like POW Product Photography will handle this process for you. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, several online DIY resources will help you take beautiful photos yourself. If you decide to go this route – be sure to check our detailed guide about product photography!
professionally photographed coffee

Companies like POW Product Photography take professional photos for small businesses.

  • 9. Copywriting– Many entrepreneurs go through the planning and website development phases of their websites, and then streamline the content creation process. Website content is one of the most important parts of your website. Before launching your website, plan to set aside a period of time for development of this content. If you’d like professional help, groups like Lightspan Digital can assist companies with this process. And if you decide to write the website copy by yourself – you can find some valuable info in our eCommerce copywriting guide.
  • 10. A/B Testing— The best eCommerce stores never stop iterating on their websites. One quick and easy way to ensure that no one who comes to your new website leaves because of website layout is by using an A/B testing tool like Optimizely. With Optimizely, you can show different configurations of your website to different users and measure which one has the higher conversion rate.

To be fair, these ten considerations only address a fraction of the questions you may have as a new fashion entrepreneur. At FarShore, we’d love to help out with your technology. Some of FarShore’s most successful partners sell in the fashion and clothing spaces, from Bucketfeet to Boga and from Stock Manufacturing Co. to Luxury Garage Sale. Do you have more questions about how to start an online store? Contact us for details.

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Sam serves as an Associate Business Analyst at FarShore, where he executes on internal and partner projects. He previously ran Yumvelope, a monthly subscription box connecting regional snack producers with interested consumers. Sam is a student at Stanford University, where he studies Symbolic Systems. In his free time, he enjoys running and traveling.
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  • Giardino Mix

    This is really a helpful blog post indeed. I have just started my online clothing store and I want to take it even broader. With this post, I believe that I could get more ideas to increase my exposure and sales. You can check out my site here at http://www.giardinomix.com/

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  • CohibaSigloVI

    Man, this is excellent information. About to start an online clothing store with my wife and this will help us tremendously. Thanks!!

  • Maggie Magrodnyc

    good info. thanks

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  • It’s great how you’ve covered all the points and made it simple and easy for users to understand. Your article provides ample amount of information for startups to launch an online clothing store. There’s no doubt that Shopify or Magento are the best ecommerce platforms and they have their own unique features. But sometimes it becomes difficult to manage them due to the number of options they come with. So, I would personally recommend YoKart for starting an ecommerce marketplace and Stitch for custom clothing store due to their useful features and economical price. Both of these platforms are built while keeping the needs of a startup in mind.

  • Those who are still confused on how to start your online clothing store, for them its really a helpful post. First it is needed to make a plan keeping in mind all the points mentioned above. According to me for setting up the store it is needed to concentrate on getting perfect product shots and in that case both a photographer and a photo editor can help.

  • Nikita Koval

    Great piece of advise. I believe that having chosen your target audience, you can create very specific and cost-effective online marketing campaigns with banners and text ads. Use affiliate services and find sites in your niche with large traffic to publicize your fashion website. You can agree on barter u2013 they show your ads in exchange for a percentage of sales made from people that come from them.nRead more at https://www.orbitlift.com/1845-2/

  • Now-A-Days Online clothing store is very popular for all marketers and local clients. But carefully we should handle all issue. like: website marketing, user friendly website making and make all cloth images looking perfect. Sometimes you can edit your clothing photos for color change, for pattern change, cloth retouching, cloth image sun-flash out or more things. Here I also learn more about clothing store.

  • Very informative content.

  • genius andy

    Hey there !
    I just read your blog and it has got some proper insight on the topic .
    I am also having something to share . Have a look : http://www.whitedust.net/how-to-start-an-online-business-in-10-ultimate-steps/

  • neeraj iimaima

    Best basic tips by which we can understand the process for for start an online clothing store. Ecommerce platforms are one of the best ways for purchase the favorite clothes in the budget. I think IMAIMA is one of the finest fashion brand for women. It is providing the collection of modern fashion silhouettes and middle eastern hand craft embroideries.

  • Kunal Gajjar

    hello, how do i get plain tshirt dummy’s where i can insert my designs to upload on ecommerce platform?

  • Thank you for this excellent information. I have my online clothing store too and this information is very helpful for me 🙂

  • Those tips are also help to start any online shop or store as a startup business will make then in great way, thanks for wonderful article.

  • creative post an your Photo Manipulation fantastic, thank you so much
    Reply-http://tossedsaladlife.com/

  • It is true that online shopping is the latest trend among the peoples. There are so many websites available for buying online clothes in India. BrandOMart can be a good option for online clothes shopping in India. It offers some of the best available deals in the market and the products are of good quality and very affordable.

  • Ed Wills

    Online shopping store is very great place for shopping. Brand O Mart product are good quality and very cool.

  • Trisha

    Thi is a perfect guide for the one who has a thought of doing such business. Nowadays fashion is the leading part to make business in the market. There are plenty of sites coming into the market and making their profits. In fact, it is a long lasting business so there will not be a fear of success here. I mostly follow Ajio online store. It is making very well and took its place in the market like the old sites. This is also providing great offers for the online shoppers on the purchase. You can even try it by making use of offers @ https://www.klaimy.com/ajio-coupons