In this age and times of Instagram and daily OOTD (Outfit Of The Day) updates, clothes not just maketh you, but define you too. Add to that a list of must-have accessories as well, because fashion is now not just about what you wear but how you style it too.
Fashion and how you dress up has never seen a greater demand and enthusiasm from people belonging to all walks of life and age groups, irrespective of their gender. In fact, if someone wishes to judge the popularity of clothing and dressing up,they just need to open Instagram for a day and they will be inundated with several online vendors, each specialising in some form of clothing or accessories related to it or the user will be accosted by several lifestyle accounts that feature outfits and style tips exclusively.
If clothing interests you too and if you wish to turn this passion into a business, the time is perfect now, especially for opening an online store. The digital age calls for adopting digital technologies, including online stores, because research has revealed that e-retail is witnessing its biggest growth and around 67.2% Indians prefer to shop online rather than offline.
In order to explore the online domain, an entrepreneur needs to know why e-commerce sites and shopping online is popular. The reasons for the popularity of online shopping include-
- Convenience – Shopping online is extremely convenient as it can be done any time of the day and from any place, whether it is from the comforts of your home or while you are at work, and you do not need to tackle the traffic or even dress up to shop online.
- Filtering The Search – Online shopping allows you to filter your search to look at and shop for just those things that you are looking for. For instance, if you want to shop for black, wide-legged jeans, you can search for just that by filtering the search. This type of specific filtering is not possible while shopping physically in a store.
- Comparing Prices – Shopping online allows you compare styles as well as the prices of several products at the same time, thus allowing you to buy the best priced and suitable product. While shopping in person, you cannot view the prices of all the items at once and thus end up spending more time and effort.
- Searching Several Stores At A Time – While shopping online you can search several stores or websites at the same time, thus comparing styles and offers simultaneously but while shopping in person, you will have to visit several stores individually in order to compare the prices and the different styles available.
- Freedom From Crowds – Online shopping means you do not have to tackle queues and crowds which you have to otherwise face while shopping in person, physically.
- Shopping From Anywhere – while shopping online you can make purchases from anywhere in the world, whether shopping the latest toys from the US while you are in India. Several sites allow shopping and shipping worldwide, thus providing customers with the convenience of shopping from anywhere in the world.
- Greater Variety And Choice – most online stores have a wide variety of products which might not be possible to display in a shop owing to space constraints or market preferences. Thus, online stores provide a wide variety of items and thus a greater choice while looking for products.
These factors make online shopping a boon and thus a good choice to tap into its popularity by starting an online store, an online clothing store specifically, since clothes are one of the leading items that people shop for online.
How To Start An Online Clothing Store?
After getting to know of the popularity of opening a store online, the next step would be to know in detail about starting a fashion business online and running it successfully.
Just like creating an actual garment, there are certain steps you should follow to ensure a beautiful, functional, and long-lasting online clothing business. The steps are as follows-
Brainstorm On Ideas About Product
The first step involves brainstorming on ideas to decide on the products you would like to start the clothing business with. While brainstorming the things to consider would be to identify the targeted fashion audience,which means that, would the clothing store be for men or women or children, what would the products be, would it be casual wear or formal wear for occasions, would it be for a specific age group or for a larger audience, would it have all dress sizes or just cater to plus sizes or petite frames, would it sell clothing of specific materials such as exclusively silk wear or cotton clothes, etc. . Thus, the first step involves chalking down a clear plan as to what should the vision of the business be and what niche product should it focus on, what would be the investment needed for starting the business, where would the finances be arranged from and all these decisions must be made after thorough research and weighing all the positives and negatives. The idea and the business plan must however be in sync and true to your clothing interests and ideologies.
Decide To Create Or Source
Once the niche product or the kind of clothing store you wish to start has been decided upon, the next step is to decide whether the clothes will be manufactured by you or whether you would source the products from a manufacturer or from local artisans. If you wish to create your own clothing line then you must ensure that you have all the creative skills needed to produce clothes such as stitching, sewing, basic knowledge of textiles, crocheting, knitting, etc. If you wish to source the clothes than ensure that they are unique and are carefully curated.
Create The Website
The next logical step is to start the actual website by registering under a suitable platform that fits your bill in terms of how you want your website to appear, how you want the clothes to appear, the layout, etc. The website design must be given serious thought and created painstakingly as it is the window that will introduce your business and create a lasting impression while also speaking about the type of clothing business. Customers must be able to browse through the website easily, the photographs of the clothes must be high quality and the site must be free of technical glitches for customers to have a pleasant shopping experience.
Creating a website and choosing a platform require funds which must be arranged for while brainstorming the business idea and deciding on the details of how and what kind of clothing to store to start. Additionally the funds will also be required to manufacture or procure the clothes. The sources of obtaining funds could either be via a bank loan or a non-banking financial institution or through self financing or via financial support from friends and family.
Promote And Market The Business
A digital clothing store will require a digital marketing plan and thus require a digital marketing checklist to know about the various ways of promoting the business and creating a brand. A Digital Marketing process chiefly involves the following steps:
- Plan and Strategize
- Measure and Audit
The marketing plan and strategy must be chalked down in detail before implementing it. The ways to market your online clothing store could include-
- Social Media – Platforms of social media such as Facebook, Instagram, etc have become excellent mediums to advertise and promote your online clothing store. These platforms are popular amongst a large and diverse population, thus helping spread the word about your business across a larger audience. Apart from advertising you can use these platforms to showcase your personal fashion choices and style which can be influencing then just a website or an advertisement.
- Influencers – Apart from advertising on these platforms, you can always let influencers talk about your business and products and even get their feedback about your clothes, because as the name suggests, they have a greater influence on their followers.
- Blogging – Blogging in the form of a video post is known as vlogging. A clothing store is all about visual elements and thus vlogs are a perfect way of displaying options of how to style your products, ways to wear it, how to accessorise it, etc.
- Deals And Offers – Online sales, deals and offers have the same effect as sales in actual shops, infact are even more enticing. Additionally, you can also have giveaways and promotional deals.
- Manage Inventory Wisely – A clothing business is subject to change as the trends and seasons change and for that you need to maintain your inventory wisely. Study the market trends and the shopping patterns of your customers keenly and thus decide how much inventory to maintain since you do not want to fall short of products but at the same time you do not want surplus stock of items that will soon be out of fashion.
- Delivery Of Goods – An online business depends on a reliable delivery system since all the orders need to be delivered at the customer’s doorstep. You thus need to consider a permanent delivery solution, by either investing in your own means of delivery ( which can turn out to be quite expensive) or tie-up with a delivery service to have your orders shipped anywhere. The delivery is a vital service for the smooth functioning and growth of your online clothing store and must be prompt and reliable.
These are the crucial steps involved in starting an online clothing store, which a profitable business idea in today’s digital age and rage of e-commerce. However, to know more about the benefits of online stores and the process, you can contact deAsra for elaboration and assistance.