How to Start an Online Clothing Store

If you want to learn how to start an online clothing store, you’ll want to do the necessary research before getting things underway.

An online clothing store can serve both domestic and international markets, thereby increasing profitability greatly beyond what can be expected in any brick-and-mortar clothing store.

Since the Internet provides convenience to online shoppers (e.g., Amazon), many people shop online today simply for the added convenience and quick delivery turnaround time.

Advantages vs. Disadvantages

  • Advantage: the reduced overhead since you’re operating online
  • Advantage: you don’t need to worry about leasing space
  • Advantage: you can increase your business skills across a wide range of industries by operating solely online
  • Disadvantage: challenges in obtaining suppliers as well a distribution issues.

Steps for Starting an Online Clothing Store

Step 1. Know the Industry. You’ll want to know the process from beginning to end. This includes having a list of suppliers and distributors and where they are located. You’ll want to know how the clothing is made; where the fabric comes from; how will your products be shipped to you?

Step 2. Conduct Research. Look at various online clothing stores to truly understand how they operate. Take a look at all areas of these websites so that you know how you would need to set yours up. You could even reach out to the operations teams to find out how they run the sites.

Step 3. Purchase products. Visit your favorite online retailers and purchase a variety of clothing.

Step 4. Product Shipping. Think about how you will wrap your products, what will come in the packaging of each product, promotional materials, shipping process and prices, etc.

Step 5. Return Process. What kind of return process will you offer? Where will the item be returned? You operate out of your home and online, so you will need to determine if the product will be returned to the fulfillment center, manufacturing site, or another address.

Step 6. Brainstorm and Plan. While you need to conduct the above-mentioned research, one of the most important aspects is the actual brainstorming and planning process. So when thinking about how you will operate your online clothing store, keep in mind the following:

  • Will I make my own clothing?
  • If not, what certain brands will I sell?
  • How and where will I find my customers?
  • Who will be my client base? Men, women, youth, baby clothing?
  • How much will I charge for each item?
  • When will I run sales and specials?
  • What are my profit margins?
  • Will I need to hire employees?
  • How much inventory will I need?
  • Do I need to purchase promotional materials? If so, how will I get that out to the public?
  • How do I utilize social media to promote my store?

Social Media for Advertising

Social Media can play a large part in advertising your online clothing store. You’ll want to test the different social media platforms to determine which site is best for your specific audience. Include photos of your products while also providing potential customers with sales to keep them as loyal clients. Coupons and sales are especially important as happy customers will spread the word regarding your online store.

Facebook is a popular choice due to the amount of foot traffic that can be seen online; therefore, this is an easy platform to utilize when kick-starting your online clothing store. It’s also a great forum for setting up local events to spread the word about your new online clothing store. This can help get customers since people can visit you at an event and see your items up close and personal.

Instagram is another great platform to use if you want to provide strong visuals of your products. Since the site is so photography-focused, you can provide countless pictures of your products so that customers who are purchasing online from you can truly see what the product looks like.

Other popular options include Pinterest, Twitter, or even sites like Tradesy, where you can post your products and include links to your website and Facebook page to increase your customer base.

Keep in mind that you can use paid advertising methods via Google and Facebook, both of which are incredibly helpful in order to get your message out and help people find your store.

If you need help with how to start an online clothing store, you can post your legal need (or post your job) on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.