Whether having your own clothing company is your lifelong dream or seeking a side hustle to earn an easy income, starting an online clothing store is an exhilarating endeavor.
However, there are many factors to consider, from branding to determining which site hosting platform to use where you’ll secure the clothing items you sell. So we’ve developed this checklist to start your own online business.
By following these top tips, you’ll advance to having your own successful online clothing store.
9 Steps to Start an Online Clothing Store
Here are nine essential steps to start your online clothing store.
Brainstorm and Establish Your Brand
Before getting into the physical building of your site, envision your ideal brand, including your logo, the products, and your target customer.
Some things to consider include:
- What is your site/brand name?
- What kinds of clothing items will you sell?
- Is there a particular niche you can fill?
- What makes your products unique?
- Who is your ideal/target customer?
- What colors, fonts, and logos can you use to appeal to your ideal customers?
There are many considerations but remember: You can always make adjustments while learning the best approach. Then, after establishing your brand and selling products, begin building it.
Purchase a Web Domain
Your website domain is vital in driving traffic to your site. Therefore, you want something short, easy to remember, and relevant to your brand and products.
Avoid long domain names, slang or misspellings, numbers, and hyphens, confusing consumers trying to find your online store or the products you sell. Also, consider integrating keywords into your site name to assist customers in finding your site quickly. Ideally, you also want an easy extension, like .com, .co, or .biz.
You can purchase a domain from many websites. In addition, some website hosting services may build your sites, such as WordPress, Shopify, or Squarespace, and offer to bundle a domain purchase and hosting package.
Design a Website
Once you have a domain, create your website, including designing the fonts, colors, and branding.
You could create your site from the ground up, but this can quickly become cumbersome and confusing without development experience or a knowledgeable team member to produce the website.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of eCommerce platforms and integrations, providing straightforward building of your site with your branding, listing your products, and processing sales. Then, design the site elements in your chosen branding.
Popular hosting sites and platforms include Shopify, Square Online, Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress. Remember, many sites have a subscription fee or require purchasing plugins to add all the needed integrations for your eCommerce site. However, this is typically minimal.
Once you’ve selected a platform, combine all the pieces to prepare to launch your online store.
Design Your Clothes
One of the most critical elements of starting an online clothing store is designing the items themselves. Therefore, create products that align with your ideal customer that fulfill an unmet need.
- What can you offer customers that the market doesn’t already provide?
- How can you meet a need for new and unmet clothing styles or designs?
- What designs, colors, and styles make your clothing brand unique?
You can sell handmade items, but many eCommerce site owners find managing their materials, production time, inventory, and shipping cumbersome. Plus, learning to sew or knit clothing items is a craft requiring hours to learn.
Instead, many online clothing store owners prefer selling premium clothing they purchase wholesale and collaborate with print or embroidery experts to vitalize their designs.
- Individually sketch out designs
- Use sites like Canva to create graphics and designs
- Convey your vision directly with a print or embroidery service
Many online clothing store owners select a garment and its unique embroidered or print design, allowing the full-service printer to handle the final product.
Take Advantage of Wholesale Clothing To Buy in Bulk
As you’re creating your clothing designs, you may find it’s easiest (and cheapest) to work directly with a wholesale company, distributor, or printer who can sell the product and execute your designs on raw clothing items. In addition, purchasing products from a wholesaler will reduce costs when buying in bulk.
For example, companies like Bella + Canvas offer premium blank material clothing at unbeatable wholesale prices if you want to buy fleece pullover hoodies to embroider artistically. Plus, some wholesalers like Bella + Canvas have no minimum value or quantity requirement on domestic orders, making it painless to order the exact amount of colors, styles, and sizes needed.
Small business startups may find working with a wholesale distributor most manageable. For example, qualified wholesalers like Alphabroder and SS can fill the essentials of small businesses for premium quality blank clothing.
Furthermore, contract and full-service printers can embroider or screenprint clothing items with custom branded designs. Printers and embroiderers like Shirt Agency and Deluxe Screen Printing can apply your business’ designs directly on clothing items, allowing you to focus on sales and site management as your partner handles the rest.
Take Product Photos
Once you’ve designed and secured your products, snap clear pictures for your site that match your brand. For example, ensure your clothing associates with your customers’ positive feelings.
- If your branding is minimalist, relaxed, and cozy, consider using neutral backgrounds, casual lifestyle scenarios with lounging models, and similar-colored props.
- Consider a more animated background with models in settings reflecting scenes and situations wearing your clothes if your branding is bold, eccentric, and exciting.
Product photos don’t have to be expensive — a solid color background, natural lighting, and quality smartphone camera are sufficient to take shots for your site. In addition, ensure the picture gives your shoppers a clear, accurate view of how the product looks in person.
List Your Clothes
After obtaining quality photos, list your items on your online store. Use SEO in the product names, descriptions, tags, and more while listing your clothing items. In addition, index products at a price that covers your expenses while earning a profit.
Ensure to answer any questions your customers may have about your products.
Give detailed descriptions of the:
- Fabric composition
- Garment care
- Anything the consumer would want to know
Some wholesale brands like Bella + Canvas offer a product size chart that you can use on your site, minimizing exchanges and returns and ensuring customers receive the correct fit.
Promote Your eCommerce Store
Promoting your online clothing store and building brand awareness can be an investment — but not required. SEO and social media are two great ways to build site awareness and entice consumers to purchase your products.
Optimize your site for SEO with keywords. Your social media profiles sharpen your target audience as you scale your brand. However, paid marketing is a possible upfront investment. But proper SEO optimization and strong branding are economical alternatives.
Some social media sites like Facebook and Instagram allow product listing and accepting sales directly on the platform. In addition, use social media to draw organic traffic and boost your bottom line.
Consider paid social media posts to sharpen your target audience as you scale your brand. However, this can be an upfront investment, and with proper SEO optimization and strong branding, it isn’t necessary if you don’t have the budget upfront.
Ship Products and Ensure Customer Happiness
As your online site receives its first sales, sending products to consumers promptly and in brand-matching packaging is crucial.
Surveil outgoing orders when remotely managing inventory. However, many new businesses may find drop shipping beneficial — the partner fills the order and sends it to the customer.
Ensure prompt communication of any delays or changes in order status with customers. In addition, quickly resolve any issues. For example, customers may want a different size than ordered despite having a size chart available on your site. Finally, determine how to manage exchanges and returns to provide quality customer satisfaction.
Ensuring customer happiness is one of the best ways to build brand loyalty and get repeat sales.
Get Started with Your Online Clothing Store Today
It doesn’t take a lot to build your business and earn. In addition, working with wholesale distributors can be a pretty hands-off, enjoyable journey. Follow this step-by-step guide to launch your clothing site. You’ll establish your clothing brand quickly!