If you are an entrepreneur with a passion for fashion, you are going to encounter a great opportunity! Online clothing stores are in high demand nowadays. People prefer online shopping than directly visiting stores. Of course, it is because the internet makes shopping even easier and less time-consuming.
Online transactions come with various options to purchase. For instance, payments are accepted through debit cards, credit cards, smart pay apps on the smartphone and even by redeeming coupons and gift cards. Therefore, online payments have become more secure and trusted over time.
However, in the e-commerce market, it is important to stand out amongst thousands of online clothing stores. Don’t worry! We have brought you a step-by-step guide on how to start and run a profitable online clothing store.
1. Decide your niche
The very first step towards starting an online shopping store is to narrow your segment and decide your niche. This means you will define your target audience.
Consider these following questions when you are deciding your niche.
Who am I targeting?
Are you targeting only women, only men, or only children? Or all three segment groups? Start by establishing limited product lines. A general cluster of clothes, footwear, homeware, etc will just increase your competition as well as reduce your visibility.
What does the demographic of my target audience look like?
Are your potential customers in the age range of 14-21 years? Or are they middle-aged customers? What you are offering to sell will depend on who will potentially purchase your products.
What is in trend nowadays?
You must keep up with the ongoing and ever-changing trends in fashion. For this purpose, keep researching and updating yourself on what is in fashion and what people are appealing to wear.
How can I make my niche creative?
Of course, creativity is key when we are in high competition. You will have to come up with trendy ideas to stand out. For example, cool graphic tees, popular movies/series merchandise, interesting colour palettes, a new kind of fabric, comfortable formal attires etc.
Is it going to be profitable? Can I expand my niche?
A very important aspect of eCommerce is profitability. You may have a passion for elegant gowns for women but if you see a lot of well-established brands selling those, you are entering deeper into a very tough competition. A unique segment and an extraordinary niche will help you bring in returns. Once you are established, you can expand your segment and offer multiple product lines.
2. Prepare a business plan
A well-detailed plan will help you run your business in a more organised as well as operational manner. There are 7 elements that must be considered while preparing a business plan.
1. Executive summary
A well explained executive summary in which you will brief about why you are starting this business, the mission statement, vision and goals of your company. Basically, a well-detailed overview.
2. The company description
This is where you will be briefly highlighting the significant information about your brand. You will have to mention your niche, your target audience, USP and segmentation.
3. Market analysis
Market analysis is where you will research the market in which you will be competing in. This includes statistics and data representation. You will have to know everything about the industry.
4. Competitive analysis
Here, your competitions come into the light. You will be comparing your plan with those of your competitors and prepare the analysis.
Management and operations include your day to day tasks and how you will intend to achieve them i.e. planning, staffing, organising, directing and controlling.
Money is a significant factor that will keep your business running. Prepare a strong financial strategy which includes the source of money as well as your budget. Next, financial statements must be prepared to indicate your expenses and returns. Later on, your financial strategy will be looked up by interested investors as well.
7. Marketing strategy
Finally, how will you market your product? Which platforms are you going to opt and why? You will need to have a strong marketing and sales strategy to stand out.
3. Select the right platform
Once you are ready with your business plan, it is time to choose your front face. An attractive platform will increase customers visits and increase conversions. There are various eCommerce platforms where you can run your business at, for example, WordPress or Shopify.
However, if you want to come up with your own website, you can purchase a domain on your company’s name. Web designing is an interesting task if you are backed up with the necessary skills.
Even if you’re not tech-savvy, you can create your website. There are website development apps and software like Wix or Weebly which offer creative designs and templates.
Make sure you opt for the best option considering your requirements and budget.
Finally, it is time to launch your clothing brand! Make sure your website is functional and organised. List out your products in a systematic manner. Offer proper product descriptions and details about them. Navigate your website well by providing dropdown options, menus and categories so that your customers are smoothly going through your website.
Set up payment options and easy checkout process. Customers do not like complications while they are ready to purchase and place an order. Set up auto-fill details, easy location selection etc to ease out and quicken the checkout process.
Market your online store well! Set up creative social media accounts, conduct email marketing and focus on SEO factors to increase your SERP. This is possible by executing proper content marketing. Once you set up your eCommerce clothing business, you can expand your demographic from local to national and finally internationally.
We hope these 5 steps have given you a brief insight into setting up your online clothing store. All the best!
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