8 Steps to Sell Clothing Online in 2021 (Complete Guide)
If you want to sell clothing online, congratulate yourself because it is one of the best business decisions. Because clothing is a primary need and it is easier to create a customer base around it.
Considering the prevailing competition, selling clothing online may take some planning, innovation, human-centric approach, investment, lots of time and your energy.
But fear not, the big brands were not made in one day. They also started as a small step and there is a piece of market for every deserving person.
I shared an article sometimes back about my sewing and working experiences here and I got overwhelming responses, Which inspired me to share some more useful tips with you.
In the comment section, most readers wished to have clothing orders or wanted to sell clothing online but they were looking for avenues to explore. And that's why I decided to create this post.
This post is for you if you want to -
- 1Sew and sell your own designs and clothes online.
- 2Get clothes manufactured, label and sell them as your own brand
- 3Buy from wholesalers and sell to individual customers
- 4Start a clothing business, which has potential to grow
- 5Willing to invest money
- 6Set up your own website to sell clothes
- 7or, want to start selling immediately on 3rd party websites like Amazon
Starting your own clothing business and to sell clothing online is an interesting way to make money, and you can start the business on your own by using one of the growing number of available sales platforms.
However, the competition is growing so you should be ready to learn and work hard.
you have money to invest
- you need to register your company.
- Set up your own manufacturing unit.
- sell your clothes through online platforms like amazon,snap deal,eBay etc by creating seller account.
- Or you can create your own e commerce website by using shopify.
you want to start with low investment
- you have to register your brand.
- find the clothes manufacturer who can manufacture your product as per your requirement by adding your brand name.
- sell Online on platform like Amazon,snapdeal,ebay etc by creating seller account.
How Can a Housewife Earn from Home
Let's explore these steps in detail, to sell clothing online -
This question of "How to Create and Sell Your Own Clothing Brand Online" has three major questions asked together as one.
if you figure out this question in detail, you need understanding of -
1. How to Create your own clothing brand
2. How to Sell Clothes, and
3. How to Sell Clothes Online
Step 2 : What do you want
You have many options to create your own clothing brand. You can take different routes to the market depending on your vision for your business.
- Online / E-Commerce marketplace
- exclusive channel partners / wholesale)
To make the right choice you first have to decide what kind of clothing brand you want to create.
Your clothing brand will be comprised of a number of different elements, including your logo, your marketing assets, your personality, and your value proposition.
You shouldn’t expect to create a brand overnight, so give yourself time to figure out what you want your brand to communicate.
Before even starting to design your logo consider the following:
- Why are you starting this brand?
- What makes your brand different from the competition?
- What are your brand’s values and mission?
- Who is your target audience?
- What personality do you want your brand to have?
With these questions answered, it will be much easier to develop your brand.
Then move on to create your logo, design a business card, design your garments, and market them through multiple channels like social media.
Step 3 : How do you want to do it
Manufacture your Own clothing Brand
You can focus upon manufacturing your own clothing line and sell clothing online to the wholesalers.
The clothes will be sold as your own brand and you will have full control over it.
This way, you can maintain good quality clothes and focus on lowering the cost. There is enough competition in retail sector, so you can see good demands and profits in the market.
How to Avoid Boutique Disasters
Create Realistic Fashion Ideas, Which Can Make Money
Your customers are real people like you. They also think, feel, work and do hundred other things. They have their own problems and your clothing can be a solution for one of their problems.
Imagine what you would like to wear,
how you look in it, and then
sketch it out.
However, not everyone is the same body type so what looks good on one person may not be good for another.
So, be specific who is going to be the end user of your clothing brand.
Once you figure out your target market, it will be easier for you to plan the pricing, create brand strategy and sell clothing online.
Create Your Clothing Brand With Emotions
Feel the joy in the heart of a person who finally finds your brand of clothing that makes her look good.
Imagine how much she would pay for that kind of joy.
Developing ideas for clothing is more than clothes that look good on you or on your best friend.
It is crafting a piece of clothing that will make a certain body type look beautiful.
Get A Professional Team Or Create Technical Strategy
if you have experience, it would be good to sell clothing online. But even then, you may need a few people who understand your business and your orders well.
This may be challenging first but once your system in place, your work would be on autopilot mode.
Initially, you will need some research and system creation of -
- Sourcing For Fabric And Trimmings,
- Muslin And Fittings
- Sample Pieces
The decision of being a manufacturer yourself or being a contract manufacturer will impact the cost of production immensely.
It will also influence pricing of your clothing brand.
How you source your inventory depends on your skills and your focus for your new business.
You have several options, some of which require larger financial investments than others.
- If you like designing clothing, you can make it yourself or pay someone else to make it according to your specifications.
- Find clothing you like, buy it at wholesale prices, mark it up and sell it. There are essentially two ways to do this.
Buy clothing at wholesale prices and in bulk from Manufacturers, Suppliers, Exporters, Importers, Buyers, Wholesalers, Products and Trade Leads from our award-winning International Trade Site.
Store them. Resell them to your customers and ship them directly.
Where to Buy Wholesale Clothes for Your Boutique
Many fashion brands buy clothes in bulk, get their Brand tags printed, put those tags on that clothing and it becomes their own Creation. It is not the best practice, but if you want to create a clothing Brand without much investment of designing and artwork, than this is probably the fastest way of doing it.
The second option is to use a website like Amazon from which customers purchase directly and you don't have to handles the fulfillment.
You receive a commission as your revenue.
Buy used vintage clothing from local thrift shops and sell these clothing online to your customers at a markup.
Buy the latest in-demand clothing at retail stores and then resell it for a profit when it is in short supply.
Step 4 : How to start Selling Clothes
Define the products that you'll be starting with and focus on that.
To start small or launch big depends on your risk and investment appetite. If you want to play it safe, you can take a softer route of starting small.
Besides, if you are a first time seller or not willing to invest big; it is advisable to start selling clothes of a particular category only.
You can start with a simple clothing like T-shirts to get an idea of how the business works.
The key is to create clothing that sells. There’s nothing worse than putting in a year’s worth of effort with no sales.
If you’re looking for a great beginner’s route, try Amazon. They take care of the printing, shipping, inventory, and sourcing. All you have to do is upload t-shirt designs.
Start with one type of garment
one mistake most people make is trying to start with an entire line of clothing and a big room full of stock.
It may work fine but starting small is critical, especially when you're dealing with physical merchandise to sell clothing online. Which may go out of fashion, get spoiled and costs money.
Invest in a few garments that everyone buys like shirts, dresses, swim suits and athletic or Yoga wear where there is stretch in the fabric and less complexity of inventory sizes.
In other words, avoid complex patterns with many sizes and shapes like Jackets and Jeans until you have a production flow.
Determine who your target market is and what particular garment would be the most interesting to them.
For instance if you're targeting lawyers, you know they wear dress shirts frequently so you stock more of dress shirts.
Use smart marketing tactics
You need clever marketing ideas to add value and target the more well to do fashionable crowd to buy your clothing as "designer clothing."
And you would need to sell direct to your niche customers if you have highly priced clothes.
Test or prototype
Make samples and test on more than just friends and family - you might feel the need to launch your website as quickly as possible.
Skipping the "testing" phase is a huge mistake as there will most likely be issues to sort-out with the first garments that you make.
Start with friends and family and then reach-out a bit further and try to get clothes into the hands of people who might not know you very well and are thus more likely to give you their honest opinion.
This is where you'll find out if people will generally be happy with what you're making or if there are some tweaks you'll have to make on your site to really get your garments ready for prime time.
Redefine your business
Spend some time creating your plan before you create your online site.
Most first time sellers end up quitting after a few months because they don’t see the online sales coming after they build their online site.
Use human-centric approach of business
In the fashion markets, trends change quite frequently. And based on your testing , do some more market Research on -
Keep an eye on Demand
Ask your friends what they like to wear or what they would want. Make that.
Sell it to them. And then repeat the process.
Make something that people will pay money for in exchange for your product. It's as simple as that.
List down all the categories and products that are repetitively ordered by customers, liked or shared with others.
Have good product images with models. Clothing sells best when customers are able to see it being worn in real life models.
Determine who would be your target customers. Wholesalers? End users? Both?
supply fast moving items
hold a certain amount of clothing stock to test the market as compared to having a lot of stuff manufactured.
Offer limited quantity first and if response is good, you can further notify the buyers about new stock.
Go with 80:20 rule. Your 20 percent clothing items will bring you 80 percent sale and profits.
And you must identify that 20 percent.
Check Competitors in the market
find out your competitors. This will give you an idea on the amount of work and effort you’ll need to put in to sell your own brand of clothing.
Depending on the country you operate, level of competition could be different.
However, one thing is for sure that competition is severe not only from marketplaces such as Amazon but also from established Brands.
Be trustworthy to your Vendors and team
Keep good relations and clear rules set with your vendors. Keep your credit worthiness intact.
Be a person who can be trusted. A business is done on trust. Your vendors and your team members are as important as your customers.
Keep record of all your costs, profits and transactions.
Keep all your transactions recorded.
Document all the agreements, paper work, bills, costs, revenue etc. These will benefit at the time of filing tax returns.
If you enter into any partnership, first get a partnership deed done. Most people enter into partnership with friends and later burn their savings, relationship and business with many misunderstandings.
Step 5 : How to Sell Clothing Online
you need to understand the various ways to sell clothing online. Some of these are -
You can buy clothes in bulk from the manufacturer. But it requires more money and research to identify the right suppliers and order your first batch.
Once you have identified your target customers well, this is a really good clothing business. Because you’ve tested your product and the market wants it.
Where to Buy Wholesale Clothes for Your Business
In this clothing business, you work with a drop-shipping company to list clothes in your online store.
When your customers buy the clothe(s) on your online store, you receive the money and place the order for items with the supplier.
This way, you won’t get to handle the shipping etc. You can set your own margins, provided you charge your customers a reasonable amount of money and fulfill your dream to sell your choice of clothing online.
Drop shipping websites, which are good for profit making
This is where you sell clothing online from other stores and get a percentage of the item each time a person buys the item through your referenced link online.
It’s very cost effective and ideal for students and professionals who aren’t looking for working full time as an entrepreneur and want to sell clothing online.
Selling your clothing brand on 3rd Party websites like Amazon
Why to start selling your clothing brand this way.
To start with, it is a good idea to start selling your clothing brand on 3rd party websites like Amazon.
As you get hold on your customers and start making profits, you can create your own website.
Tips to sell online through your website
once you feel confident that you will make garments that people will buy, keep, and be genuinely happy with, it's time to start on the website.
There are a few eCommerce platforms out there that make it easy for anyone to get started selling online, the top three are:
Get a domain name that is short and easy to remember. Bear in mind a lot of shoppers these days prefer to browse, shop and and buy online.
one of the too often overlooked parts of an apparel eCommerce store is the quality of the photography.
Remember, this is where you're really going to get the shopper's attention and since they can't touch or feel the clothing, a good picture is worth everything.
Make sure your online purchasing process is easy and straight forward.
Get a content writer, to write compelling description of your products.
Pick a good payment gateway and check their transaction fees.
Offer free shipping for customers who purchase above a certain amount and pick a sensible courier service.
Ask for feedback from family and friends to test out your site before you launch it.
Reward customers for giving you positive reviews and feedback.
Selling online is a learning journey. Give yourself a year to work on it as there’s plenty to learn and tweak along the way.
Set Up an Online Selling and Payment Platform
The easiest and best solution is to register on social networks. Create a page and receive your orders online. After that, people will see your clothes and you will have many orders..
Then you can sell on an international platform, such as the Export Portal. Simple and comfortable platform for buyers and sellers.
Most common is to create your own website or use any of the growing number of sales platforms like amazon, ebay, flipcart etc.
If a service offers a free trial, make a note of how much it will cost later so you can ensure your sales justify the cost.
If you do decide to make your own website, you need to register for a payment system like PayPal so you can accept credit card information securely.
You can set up your own website using wix or shopify. There is an investment of time, rather than money.
You can make your website in the style you want rather than having to conform to something made by someone else (a website designer).
Most of the times, even a professionally made website doesn’t fit quite right, and that you’ll have to pay even more to correct.
Ideally, you need a Digital Marketing Team (must have) and an Order Fulfillment team (optional).
Setting Up your website
Why and why not to Set Up your own website
If you choose to start your own website, then ask yourself why would anyone choose a new brand.
You have to know about the innovation going on in the industry, how can you stand out from the rest and what you can adopt in your website to gain a share of the existing market.
Besides, you may also consider creating a niche within the existing market.
May be you can hit a pain point which the customer is facing but no competitor is hitting it yet.
Step 6 : Focus on Sales and marketing
Spend a lot of time on social media promoting your clothing lines.
Get your brand out there via organic search and social media without spending on any ads until you’re making profits.
Take photos and post them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, and encourage your happy customers to do the same.
When people visit your website, give them reasons to give you their email addresses so you can follow up with new products and sales.
Visit your competitors' websites for ideas and to learn about their clothing lines and how they sell them.
Always REMEMBER people will go where there is attraction.
You are not worried about the quality, because You know that you can give the best quality to your customers.
But, you are afraid and scared of the SALES.
You can try these steps to brand your clothes online
Selling clothes online is more than just selling clothes. It also means building a brand.
That means you'll want to get in as many publications as you can.
Reach-out to writers, tell them what you are doing, see if you can peak their interest and get a story out of it.
Keep hustling, if you have the budget for it, hire an independent PR person to help with the push.
For most brands this process takes years so don't expect it to happen overnight.
1: Attract customers with different strategies
2: Highlight the benefits
Never say that you have this or you have that, rather explain them how it will suit to their body (an apple shaped body or a circular body etc.).
3: Give something FREE
Drive them to your FREE webinar and show them the tons and tons of value with 3 times guarantee.
4: Give irresistible offer to CLOSE the sale
Don’t believe on a single platform.
5: Go for multiple social media advertising and marketing
One of the best ways to super-charge your marketing efforts is to get influential people try your clothes.
All it takes is one influencer to post a photo with a mention of your brand on Instagram and you could get a flood of traffic.
While you'll want to follow all the traditional website marketing techniques, influencer marketing will give you the biggest head-start.
Step 7 : Get your clothing business registered
A business is a long term entity and it can claim many income tax deductions / exemptions if you get it registered.
In fact, you'll be surprised that you have to pay very low tax as a business owner rather than as a salaried person.
Therefore, get your clothing business registered, enjoy the benefits that it can draw upon and work with lower liability as a business owner.
In order to get your clothing business registered in India as a sole proprietorship, you need to fulfill the following criterion :
Decide name of your firm and brand
Before setting up your online shop, choose a business structure, such as a sole proprietorship or limited liability company.
To get your brand name and website name to be the same, search for available names using a service like Whois Lookup & IP.
Apply for PAN card,
Get your firm registered (optional),
Open a current account.
You can operate as a firm or as an individual.
You don't need to register your logo, however you may get a trademark by contacting a Chartered Accountant (CA).
Then, your CA will also help you with Tax Information Network (TIN), that is an initiative by Income Tax Department of India (ITD) for the modernization of the current system for collection, processing, monitoring and accounting of direct taxes using information technology.
Step 8 : Face Your Challenges of Selling Clothes Online and learn
1) Defining your limitations is tough in the beginning
Initially, some of you may be unsure about your capabilities hence it could be difficult to set limitations.
You may find it hard to focus on the kind of brand that you want to create. You have to choose between being a creator or a re-seller.
To be a creator means you need to develop your creative side and it could be hard at times.
A re-seller means that you need to curate products from other creators (brands). This path is easier to operate but it is hard to create a brand upon it and sustain that image.
Initially, you can choose this as you learn about the industry and then begin to create your own clothes.
2) To negotiate and leverage well is important
To sell clothes requires smooth flow of cash. You need to take care of labors, suppliers and other high fixed costs even if you have a bad cash flow from customers.
Selling is important but a bad buying strategy is more likely to kill your business.
Master how to buy your products.
You will also need to learn how to build your brand. Most of the time, people buy the brand, not the cloth.
3) Developing distribution and marketing network is important
This is the hard part after the early beginning. You must develop your selling channels.
Wholesale is VERY hard as a new brand, so expect to do mainly low volume direct-to-consumer sales at first.
It could be through e-commerce, re-seller partners (works only if you are a creator), physical stores (need money) etc.
4) Managing Growth has many roadblocks
If you choose to sell online, you will need to use many tools to make your site visible to your targeted customers.
5) Sourcing the Clothes is not that easy
Not all manufacturers work with startups. Most of them have a minimum order quantity, which will be a tough sell when you're getting started.
So, find a manufacturer that can do smaller quantities and is used to working with startups. You can source clothes from India, China, Turkey, or Thailand to get started.
If you know how to design patterns and sew a prototype then it will help you.
You will find it easier to hire a master tailor to create the patterns and prototype you want to sell.
Keep everything documented
You now know who will make your clothes, picked an eCommerce platform, and have some great photos.
Putting all this together means you can now have a website where people can buy your clothes.
Just remember, after getting to this step you haven't done all the work you have to, instead you've just paid the price to be in the game.
Your selling clothes online starts now!
Mistakes you should avoid : selling clothes online
1. Target customer is not identified
Tendency is to target everyone. But it is an expensive affair in apparel industry as there is a big issue of MOQ (minimum order quantity).
It is better to choose one in the beginning and keep adding other lines later.
2. Product offering is confusing
Don’t offer everything under the sun. Identify one of two product categories and launch.
Choose something where you can identify an opportunity.
Go for core colour styles. Say for example every men has several white shirts or black pants in their wardrobe.
Focus on your products' features and benefits.
3. Wrong pricing your brand
Be careful, do not over-price your product, otherwise you will not be able to sell at all.
Some entrepreneur set too low a price to gain market share too quickly.
Do not under-price but to deploy more investment in marketing and promotion of the products you are selling.
4. Not sure about selling platforms
This is another question you must consider. Do you want to be an independent business online and want to start your own eCommerce store or you want to sell on marketplaces like amazon.
If you decide to sell on your own eCommerce store, you need a good understanding of digital marketing to launch your business online.
Or if you decide to sell on Amazon or any other marketplace, you need to create an account with them and follow their practices.
Whatever you choose, don't get overwhelmed. You learn while you work.
5. You are Hidden from your customers
It is easier to go online but difficult to be visible to your prospective customers. I have seen businesses with good websites with absolutely zero traffic or sales online.
If you have a business online you have to promote it in a big way. Most people spend a ton of time and money and then expect that the sales will just start coming in after that.
Most of the time your beautiful website will just sit there with very little traffic and no orders. In the beginning usually you pay money to get people to your site.
6. Expecting results too soon
When you’re trying to build a new brand and create a business from nothing, you’ll have limited time, money and people.
But you’ll be impatient to get big results and fast.
In this hurry you fall pray to buying followers or trying to get fast but superficial results.
Rather you should focus on getting the fundamentals of your business in place.
With the basic structure set up, you can build on this and see some great results in both the short and long term.
7. Giving up too soon
Many people give up too soon because they do not set realistic expectations.
This isn't an easy business to but if you can stick with it and focus on small wins, over time your business will grow.
If you want to make it money, you'll need to be prepared to either invest your own money, get investors, or get a bank loan.
Surely, you'll need to commit your full time attention to nurture your business because online does not mean automated.
To set the systems automated, you have to work initially so that you can relax a bit later on.
Your dream of opening a boutique is about to become a reality!
And if it's already your reality, it's about to become better!
No matter what stage of your career that you're at, whether current boutique owner or future boutique owner, there is something in this book for you!
A Practical and Useful eBook to Help You Start Your Sewing Work From Home.